Ep 21. Adrienne Rich’s anger and tenderness

‘She got swept too far. She deliberately made herself ugly and wrote those extreme and ridiculous poems.’ Adrienne Rich lived enough for at least two lifetimes and not everyone was happy about it.

Today’s episode looks at the poem Integrity from A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far: Poems 1978-1981. I also pull some context from Boundary Conditions: Adrienne Rich’s collected poems by Dan Chiasson and Le Ann Schreiber’s review of A Wild Patience from 1981.

Towards the end I give a shout out to Jessica Valenti and Lindy West, and read part of Lindy’s piece Donald and Billy on the Bus.


Ep 20. Sophie Mayer on the interconnectedness of everything

A few weeks ago I went along to the Free Verse Poetry Book Fair and saw the panel ‘Poetry and Politics’ with Choman Hardi, WN Herbert, RA Villanueva and Sophie Mayer. Sophie and I then took the conversation off-road.

After we cover off interconnectedness, I have a quick whinge about Carol Ann Duffy’s poem Silver Lining. We then consider whether Wordsworth was the first mansplainer, why we never hear about Mary Robinson, the workings of the poetry bubble – and that’s just the first 15 minutes.

Definitely check out Catechism: Poems for Pussy Riot and I Don’t Call Myself a Poet. Towards the end Sophie reads from Blood Run by Allison Hedge Coke, looking at the last part of the poem When the Animals Leave this Place.

Film and TV-wise, we touch on She’s Beautiful When She’s AngryTransparent, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Ep 19. Hannah Gamble and the bear of secret desires

Today I dive into my favourite poem from the last five years: Hannah Gamble’s funny and haunting Growing a Bear. I also detour into a classic Cary Tennis column: I’m going crazy in my job.

Hannah is a poetry editor for Catch Up among many other good things. Hear her discussing her work on Make (No) Bones (out of Chicago, not Brooklyn!).

(I also realised after recording that ‘the speaker’ here isn’t the man growing a bear at all, it’s someone else speaking to him/about him. So many levels!)


Ep. 18 SB Wright on dedicating a year to poetry

This week South Australian poet SB Wright gets real about the fact that perfect poetry doesn’t happen the moment the pen hits the page. Sean’s spending a year focusing on poetry, which leads us to Ira Glass’s advice on the gap between taste and ability, William Stafford’s A Way of Writing, fixed vs. growth mindsets and Jo Bell’s poetry checklist.

After looking  at Kay Ryan’s A Certain Kind of Eden, we also dare to approach the A Word (…accessible), which leads me to rant on a favourite topic: Al Filreis’s distinction between (Walt) Whitmanian and (Emily) Dickinsonian poems.

To end Sean reads his poem Black Snake Driving, and we talk about how it came together and why Sean decided to open up about the process of getting to publication.

Ep 17. Approaching Olena: A minor poet?

A grab-bag of thoughts about the awe-inspiring (but not at all intimidating) Olena Kalytiak Davis and my ideas on how to approach a poet/poem for the first time. Check out: