55 minutes | Sep 5, 2019
As Sean said, we did curse poems in the last episode, so we're doing love poems next to get the bitter taste out of our mouths." In this episode, we talk about how love poems are always starting with the threat of sentimentality, always have an implied narrativity, and are always in defiance of Rilke's directive to his young poet addressee, "Don't write love poetry." In this episode, with attention to the fact that we all hate-to-love and love-to-hate love poems, and extra attention to some canonical love poems that are talking about LGBT relationships before the poets could openly talk about them, we talk about Walt Whitman's lesser-known "From Pent-Up Aching Rivers"; Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous Sonnet 44 about married love; and Frank O'Hara's sweet "Having a Coke with You." (WW: https://whitmanarchive.org/published/LG/1891/poems/30) (EBB: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/50538/sonnets-from-the-portuguese-44-beloved-thou-has-brought-me-many-flowers) (FOH: https://poets.org/poem/having-coke-you)
54 minutes | Aug 1, 2019
HEXES! CURSES! ILL WISHES! What makes a curse a curse and not just rage? How much does the backstory needs to be present to make a hex effective? How quietly savage can language be? Sean, Isaac, and Anastasia answer these questions and more when they talk about how poems seek vengeance and spew forth ire. We talk about "I am Rowing" by Henri Michaux, (https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/7641926-i-am-rowing-a-hex-poem-i-have-cursed-your); “A Poem Some People Will Have to Understand” by Amiri Baraka (https://wikipoem.org/2018/02/19/a-poem-some-people-will-have-to-understand-by-amiri-baraka-1969/); and "Daddy" by Sylvia Plath (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48999/daddy-56d22aafa45b2)
52 minutes | Jun 7, 2019
Outer Reaches of Metaphor
This episode was recorded before we recorded episode 12, but we recommend listening to that episode on METAPHOR before listening to this episode on the OUTER REACHES OF METAPHOR. In this episode that might be our most off-the-rails one yet, we talk about how sunflowers can look like almost anything in Allen Ginsberg's "Sunflower Sutra"; how metaphors are era-specific and typewriter erasers live on past obsolescence because of Elizabeth Bishop's "12 O'Clock News"; and how the hyper-specific metaphorical way in which lips like copper wires is super sexy in Jean Toomer's "Her Lips are Copper Wire." LINKS TO POEMS: (Ginsberg: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49304/sunflower-sutra) (Bishop: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1973/03/24/12-oclock-news) (Toomer: https://poets.org/poem/her-lips-are-copper-wire)
63 minutes | May 3, 2019
In this track, Anastasia, Isaac, and Sean talk about metaphor! We talk about the academic jargon (a "tenor" is the thing being described, the "vehicle" is the thing the tenor is being compared to). We talk about how poets use metaphor, how good metaphor makes our brain feel, and what happens when the vehicle makes us forget what was being described in the first place (THOSE BARE RUINED CHOIRS!). We read "The Thought-Fox" by Ted Hughes; "The Sea is History" by Derek Walcott; and Sonnet 73 by Shakespeare. (HUGHES: https://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/thought-fox)(WALCOTT: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/sea-history) (SHAKES: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45099/sonnet-73-that-time-of-year-thou-mayst-in-me-behold)
69 minutes | Apr 2, 2019
Poetry in Translation
After a one year hiatus, Sean, Isaac, and Anastasia are BACK! In the episode, they discuss how reading translated poems isn't that different (but also, is different) from reading poems in your native language. Poems discussed include "Red Scissors Woman" by Kim Hyesoon, translated from the Korean by Don Mee Choi; "After the Flood," by Arthur Rimbaud, translated from the French by John Ashbery; and "What does the Train Carry?" by Aleksey Porvin, translated from the Russian by our very own Isaac Wheeler. (Kim poem: https://aaww.org/kim-hyesoon-two-poems/) (Rimbaud poem: http://sharingpoetry.tumblr.com/post/32497716166/arthur-rimbaud-after-the-flood)
71 minutes | Mar 2, 2018
Long Poem: "The Undressing" by Li-Young Lee
Rather than choosing three short poems that teach us something about a theme, Isaac, Sean, and Anastasia allow one long poem, "The Undressing" by Li-Young Lee, to teach them a few things... http://aprweb.org/poems/the-undressing
59 minutes | Feb 16, 2018
In this episode, Isaac, Sean, and Anastasia talk about sonnets! In talking about Shakespeare's sonnet 9, Percy Shelley's "Ozymandias." and Terrance Hayes's "American Sonnet for My Past and Future Assassin," the team chats about how tracing the development of the sonnet helps us to trace the history of lyric poetry. https://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/sonnets/sonnet_view.php?Sonnet=9 https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46565/ozymandias https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/143917/american-sonnet-for-my-past-and-future-assassin-598dc83c976f1
57 minutes | Feb 2, 2018
Poems of Address
In this episode we discuss poems of address and we read "The Sun Rising" by John Donne; "To Sleep" by John Keats ; and "The Applicant" by Sylvia Plath. Donne: (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44129/the-sun-rising) Keats: (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44487/to-sleep-56d2239b832a2) Plath: (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57419/the-applicant)
49 minutes | Jan 19, 2018
In this episode, the team talks about persona poems and--spoiler alert!--finds that persona poems might not have as much to do with voicing as we expected! We talk about "Trillium" by Louise Glück, "Coal" by Audre Lorde, and "Dream Song 4" by John Berryman. https://poetrying.wordpress.com/2009/03/23/trillium-louise-gluck/ https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42577/coal https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/dream-song-4
77 minutes | Oct 31, 2017
In this episode, Isaac, Sean, and Anastasia work through the weirdness of short poems. First we go through three different translations of the same Basho haiku. Then we look at one of Emily Dickinson's signature short poems and a fragment poem by John Keats, "This Living Hand." Finally, we conclude with Ezra Pound's famous Imagist poem, "In a Station of the Metro," and one of his less successful Imagist poems.."The Bathtub."
64 minutes | Jul 13, 2017
Prose Poems (with special guest Noel Capozzalo)
In this episode we talk prose poems with our first special guest, Noel Capozzalo! We read "April" by Bernadette Mayer; "The Beggar Woman of Naples" by Max Jacob, trans. John Ashbery; "A Little Fable" by Franz Kafka, trans. Willa and Edwin Muir.
57 minutes | Jun 30, 2017
In this episode we discuss line breaks, enjambment, line endings--the typographical feature that alerts readers that they are encountering a poem. We discuss "To a Poor Old Woman" by William Carlos Williams; "What are the Years" by Marianne Moore; and "Dream Song 89" by John Berryman. Williams:(https://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/core-poems/detail/51653) Moore: (http://scienceplanets-rudi.blogspot.com/2011/08/poem-what-are-years-by-marianne-moore.html) Berryman: (https://allpoetry.com/Dream-Song-89:-Op.-posth.-no.-12) For those of you following along with the links... notice how WCW doesn't read the line breaks in the recording of "To a Poor Old Woman"!
75 minutes | Jun 1, 2017
Poem as Process
In this episode, the team explains how we approach poetry, our reading style, and lay some groundwork for our podcast project. We might even talk about how we all met in college a decade ago...yikes! We wax a bit nostalgic and showcase our respective and collective toolkits in our discussion about Emily Dickinson's "He fumbles at your Soul"; Elizabeth Bishop's "The Bight", and John Ashbery's "Yes, "Señor" Fluffy."
67 minutes | Jun 1, 2017
Sean Hughes made such a great point in our occasional poetry episode, that we did a spin off episode to address his ideas about anecdotal poetry: which isn't a thing, but we might convince you that it is by the end of the episode! If you missed that episode, Sean says that an occasional poem responds to an event in the public consciousness--like an inauguration or a war. But, occasional poems will often swerve into more personal commentary about an individual's experience of that event so they seem less about the occasion and more about individual experience. Furthermore, there are many poems that are more engaged with an individual's reflection or memory that describe an event and effect storytelling, but aren't about an event in the public consciousness. To interrogate this phenomenon we discuss "Adlestrop" by Edward Thomas; "Celestial Music" by Louise Glück; and "Anecdote of the Jar" by Wallace Stevens.
86 minutes | Jun 1, 2017
In which we told ourselves we were going to talk about inaugural poems and didn't. This inaugural episode of the Black Box Poetry Podcast was recorded in January 2017, just after the inauguration of President Trump. The original theme was "inauguration poems" which the team quickly reinterpreted as "occasional poetry" since we didn't feel that we had all that much to say about inauguration poetry itself. In this episode, we discuss "Curse" by Frank Bidart; "not an elegy for Mike Brown" by Danez Smith; and the classic, "Easter 1916" by W.B. Yeats. If you actually want to know something about inaugural poems, since we don't end up talking about them in this episode, you can read what Sean C. Hughes had to say about them in 2013 on Full Stop.