Ep 24. Rob Wilson on poetically killing the PM

Rob Wilson’s Free Will and the Clouds received plenty of love when it came out, for good reason. Today I chat with Rob about how he comes up with his bizarre titles, why he teaches The Red Wheelbarrow to prisoners, and what he does to support his writing.

We also listen to a poem by Rob’s friend Ben FraterTo kill the Prime Minister – and hear about the dark fairytale hidden inside Rob’s poem Superman goes crazy.

Ep 23. Jill Jones gets back to work

Jill Jones describes herself as a ‘poet person living quietly in Adelaide‘. Today I look into her poem Back at work after the flu (from her 1993 book ‘Flagging Down Time’). What does it say about the work poets do and the way this work happens alongside an ever-present day job?

Ep 22. R. A. Villanueva: chance, race and games

A thought-provoking chat with R.A. Villanueva, author of Reliquaria, after we’d seen some fantastic readings at National Poetry Day Live.

We cover plenty of ground, starting off with the influence of slam, intentional vs accidental ways of becoming a writer and the idea of priming yourself to take advantage of opportunities.

Then we get into a great discussion of race and poetry, contrasting the volume of conversations in the UK and the US and the reactions of the ‘old guard’. 

Along with Ron’s reading of Aftermaths and Fish Heads, I have a few more links to keep you busy this week:

If you’re not sure what we’re on about towards the end (when the conversation turns to video games and their relationship to poetry), check out Mario Level 1 compared to the very different worlds of Call of Duty and Journey.

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.