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17 minutes | Oct 22, 2021
Kathleen Flenniken — Married Love
In a poem of extraordinary poise, Kathleen Flenniken recounts her parents’ lively parties, their rich social life, their summer trips, and their friendships: friendships that were not always straightforward. The poem closes with an observation of a moment of sexual tension between her mother and another man. Kathleen’s right there, but feels like she’s barely noticed. Everyone goes to bed alone, and we are left with the poet and her awareness of what lay underneath the surface.Kathleen Flenniken is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Post Romantic, selected by Linda Bierds for the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series and published by University of Washington Press in Fall 2020. Kathleen’s awards include a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and Artist Trust. She served as Washington State Poet Laureate from 2012 – 2014.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
12 minutes | Oct 18, 2021
Imtiaz Dharker — Don’t Miss Out! Book Right Now for the Journey of a Lifetime!
A love poem with a playful title that sounds like an ad from a travel agent unfolds into a poem about choosing to stay at home. Imtiaz Dharker’s husband died in the years between this poem’s setting and its publishing. The poem, too, moves from long lines across the page into shorter and shorter lines. In sensuality, locality, intimacy, and simplicity, this poem is all about the man she loved, and moves from noise to focus: “You Are / Here” its final lines assert.Imtiaz Dharker is a poet, artist and video film-maker. She was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry in 2014. Her poems are on the British GCSE and A Level English syllabus, and she reads with other poets at Poetry Live! events all over the country to more than 25,000 students a year. She has been Poet in Residence at Cambridge University Library, worked on a series of poems based on the Archives of St Paul’s Cathedral as well as projects across art forms in Leeds, Newcastle and Hull. She has had eleven solo exhibitions of drawings in India, London, New York and Hong Kong. She scripts and directs films, many of them for non-government organizations in India, working in the area of shelter, education and health for women and children.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
34 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
BONUS: A Conversation with No’u Revilla
While preparing for this week’s episode of Poetry Unbound, host Pádraig Ó Tuama began an email correspondence with the poet, No‘u Revilla. The exchange was so rich that Pádraig asked No‘u to join him in conversation. Together they talk about poetry, queerness and how Hawaiian language, culture, and history show up in her poetry.No‘u Revilla (she/her) is an ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) queer poet and educator. Born and raised with the Līlīlehua rain of Waiʻehu on the island of Maui, she currently lives and loves with the Līlīlehua rain of Pālolo in the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī on Oʻahu. She has performed and facilitated workshops throughout the pae ʻāina of Hawaiʻi as well as in Papua New Guinea, Canada, and the United Nations. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa and is proud to have taught poetry at Puʻuhuluhulu University in the summer 2019 as she stood with her lāhui to protect Maunakea. A winner of the 2021 National Poetry Series, her debut poetry book will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2022.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
18 minutes | Oct 15, 2021
No’u Revilla — Smoke Screen
The life of a sugar worker is the center of this poem: a worker whose body and person bear the imprint of that industry, with its demands and smoke and exhaustion. The worker in question is the poet’s father, and No’u Revilla brings us into a consideration of how he takes pride in work that depleted him, how he needed to find ways to recover from work that exhausted him, how in his body he carries the story of Hawaii and its indigenous people.No‘u Revilla (she/her) is an ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) queer poet and educator. Born and raised with the Līlīlehua rain of Waiʻehu on the island of Maui, she currently lives and loves with the Līlīlehua rain of Pālolo in the ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī on Oʻahu. She has performed and facilitated workshops throughout the pae ʻāina of Hawaiʻi as well as in Papua New Guinea, Canada, and the United Nations. She is an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa and is proud to have taught poetry at Puʻuhuluhulu University in the summer 2019 as she stood with her lāhui to protect Maunakea. A winner of the 2021 National Poetry Series, her debut poetry book will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2022.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
18 minutes | Oct 11, 2021
Jake Skeets — Daybreak
In a slight change to the normal format, host Pádraig Ó Tuama speaks with the poet Jake Skeets who reads his poem “Daybreak,” a poem combining Diné language with English, a poem rich with observation: of land, of growth, of memory, of place. Land is not just a tool to use for food, nor is it a blank space for human projection. In this poem, Jake Skeets reflects on an ethical engagement with land: an engagement that sees land as itself, not just for its uses.Jake Skeets is the author of Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, winner of the National Poetry Series. He is the recipient of a 92Y Discovery Prize, a Mellon Projecting All Voices Fellowship, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Award. He is from the Navajo Nation and teaches at Diné College.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
15 minutes | Oct 8, 2021
Tishani Doshi — Species
In a fantastical poem about the future, Tishani Doshi explores the present. She imagines a future where agriculture, forestry, and cultivation are things of the past, distant memories learned by humans existing on other planets, or on intergalactic spaceships. That distant future is reflecting on how it should have learned from the grass, abundant, generous, sustainable. This poem of dystopian magic-realism is more real than magic, offering advice on thriving, while noting the knife-edge of self-destruction so familiar to human behavior.Tishani Doshi was born in the city formerly known as Madras in 1975. She has published seven books of poetry and fiction. Her essays, poems and short stories have been widely anthologized. She is Visiting Associate Professor of Practice, Literature and Creative Writing at New York University, Abu Dhabi.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
16 minutes | Oct 4, 2021
Jason Allen-Paisant — Right now I’m Standing
In a poem considering trees, Jason Allen-Paisant opens up many associations with trees: in a woodland, there’s a dead tree, from which new forms of life are finding sustenance. He, a Black man in the woods, is aware of people looking suspiciously at him. The poem reflects on how trees were used for building the ships of enslavers, who considered countries and people their property. In light of this, he shares a nature poem about all the things that nature holds.Jason Allen-Paisant is a Jamaican poet whose first poetry collection, Thinking with Trees, was published by Carcanet Press in 2021. His work has also appeared in PN Review, the Poetry Review and Callaloo. He teaches in the School of English at the University of Leeds.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
16 minutes | Oct 1, 2021
Jacob Shores-Argüello — Make Believe
In a short poem recalling a childhood response to grief, Jacob Shores-Argüello brings us into the fantasy world of a child: leaving an ill adult in a hospital bed, he and his cousin take to the mountains, turn magically into bears, and begin tearing holes in the earth for rest while the world continues below. Are they escaping? Or playing with rage? This extraordinary poem is a thing of wonder and survival.Jacob Shores-Argüello is a Costa Rican American poet and prose writer. He is the author of poetry books In The Absence of Clocks and Paraíso, which was selected for the inaugural CantoMundo Poetry Prize judged by Aracelis Girmay. He is a 2018/019 Hodder Fellow at Princeton University and a Lannan Literary Fellow for Poetry. His poetry appears in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and The Academy of American Poets, among others. His fiction appears in The Oxford American, among others.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
15 minutes | Sep 27, 2021
Margaret Atwood — All Bread
In a poem of four stanzas, Margaret Atwood traces bread from its growth in bone-nurtured soil, to the warm ovens of baking, to the table, to the mouth of one person, then the hands of someone breaking bread for many. From the cow-dung in the earth to the salt of the hands of the person kneading the bread, this poem is like a meditation on the material reality of what nurtures the body and what nurtures the soul, and is a secular examination of what breaking bread might mean.Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. Her latest novel, The Testaments, is a co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize. It is the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series. She lives in Toronto.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
2 minutes | Sep 20, 2021
Poetry Unbound — Season 4 Trailer
Poetry Unbound with host Pádraig Ó Tuama is back on Monday, September 27. Featured poets in this season include Margaret Atwood, Kaveh Akbar, Danez Smith, Tishani Doshi, and many more. New episodes released every Monday and Friday through December 17.Follow us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, or wherever you listen.
20 minutes | Jun 18, 2021
Katie Manning — What to Expect
This poem stretches the word ‘expect’ into dozens of formulations. Proceeding alphabetically through the index of the book, “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” Katie Manning creates an exhausting list of all the expectations created during pregnancy,about rejecting some pressures and embracing others; surviving some, being knocked over by others. The humor and pace of this poem places insight alongside insidiousness.Katie Manning is the founding editor-in-chief of Whale Road Review and a professor of writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. She is the author of Tasty Other, which won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award, and her fifth chapbook, 28,065 Nights, is available from River Glass Books. Her poems have appeared in American Journal of Nursing, december, The Lascaux Review, Kahini Quarterly, and many others. Find her online at www.katiemanningpoet.com.Listen to Poetry Unbound Plus here.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
17 minutes | Jun 14, 2021
Ilya Kaminsky — We Lived Happily during the War
The opening poem to Ilya Kaminsky’s masterpiece, “Deaf Republic,” is written in the voice of someone who is confessing their complacency during a time of trial. There’s a war going on, but it doesn’t affect the person speaking, so they don’t get involved. Instead they stayed outside and caught the sun. They lived happily during the war, and are now saying (forgive us). This poem leaves us wondering what it would mean to make such a confession, to ask for forgiveness, and whether it’d do any good.Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odessa, former Soviet Union in 1977, and arrived in the United States in 1993, when his family was granted asylum by the American government. He is the author of Deaf Republic and Dancing In Odessa, and has co-edited and co-translated many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva. He holds the Bourne Chair in Poetry at Georgia Institute of Technology and lives in Atlanta.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
24 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
BONUS: A Conversation with Margaret Noodin
After Margaret Noodin recited her poem, “Gimaazinibii'amoon” / “A Message to You,” for this week’s Poetry Unbound episode, she spoke with host, Pádraig Ó Tuama, about the story behind that poem as well as the Anishinaabemowin language, translation, and the importance of language preservation.Margaret Noodin is a poet and the author of Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature, Weweni: Poems in Anishinaabemowin and English, and What the Chickadee Knows. She teaches American Indian Literature, Celtic Literature, Indigenous Language Revitalization and Anishinaabemowin language at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Margaret is the editor of ojibwe.net and the Papers of the Algonquian Conference.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
16 minutes | Jun 11, 2021
Margaret Noodin — Gimaazinibii’amoon (A Message to You)
A special bilingual poem in Anishinaabemowin and English by Margaret Noodin, a linguist who writes primarily in Anishinaabemowin. This poem of eight lines is filled with location — the sweet sea, the curved shoreline — and gathers melancholy into its song. And it is a song — sung in both languages for us by Margaret Noodin herself.Margaret Noodin is a poet and the author of Bawaajimo: A Dialect of Dreams in Anishinaabe Language and Literature, Weweni: Poems in Anishinaabemowin and English, and What the Chickadee Knows. She teaches American Indian Literature, Celtic Literature, Indigenous Language Revitalization and Anishinaabemowin language at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Margaret is the editor of ojibwe.net and the Papers of the Algonquian Conference.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
16 minutes | Jun 7, 2021
Martín Espada — After the Goose that Rose Like the God of Geese
Bereavement brings all kinds of pressures. This poem by Martín Espada starts off with a grief-to-do-list: a phone call, a flight, a blizzard, cremations, shipments of ashes, memorial services. After all of this — in a first stanza that builds in intensity — he needs to be reconnected with something tangible. He goes to feed birds at the park, and among the birds is a goose, like a god of the geese, who shrieks with all the emotion stored in him. This goose is like a priest of grief for Martín Espada, voicing the sounds of all that he’s feeling.Martín Espada has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His new book of poems from Norton is called Floaters. Other books of poems include Vivas to Those Who Have Failed, The Trouble Ball, and Alabanza. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
17 minutes | Jun 4, 2021
Roshni Goyate — Coconut Oil
In many ways this poem can be analyzed by how it ends: by examining the contents of organic shops. Roshni Goyate looks at one such item — coconut oil for hair — and considers its long line of history in her British-Indian family. As a child, she was shamed by classmates for using coconut oil in her hair, but now it’s double the price in shops. In a cruel irony, her race and culture were both hypervisible to those who taunted her and rendered invisible by those same people who invalidated her presence and citizenship.Roshni Goyate is one quarter of the 4 BROWN GIRLS WHO WRITE poetry collective. Together they have published a book of poetry, a zine of essays, and most recently, a collection of solo works, published by Rough Trade Books, in which Roshni's pamphlet, Shadow Work, appears. Roshni is a Londoner, proud daughter of Indian immigrants and co-founder of The Other Box, an inclusion and equity company.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
14 minutes | May 31, 2021
b: william bearhart — When I Was in Las Vegas and Saw a Warhol Painting of Geronimo
When looking at Andy Warhol’s painting of Geronimo — a leader and medicine man of the Bedonkohe band of the Apache tribe — b: william bearheart wonders who the Geronimo of the painting is looking back at, and who is looking at it. In many ways, this poem reflects on how this piece of art depicting an Indigenous American was painted by a White person for White people. However, the poet finds connections — of pain, occupation and experience — between himself and Geronimo; and the poem challenges the centrality of the White european gaze.b: william bearhart is a direct descendent of the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin. A graduate of the Lo-Rez MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts, bearhart’s work appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including When the Light of the World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through (W. W. Norton, 2020). His work can be found in Bloom, North American Review, Plume, Prairie Schooner, and Tupelo Quarterly, among others. bearhart worked as a poker dealer in a small Wisconsin casino. He died in August, 2020.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
16 minutes | May 28, 2021
Esteban Rodríguez — 22 La Bota
A poet considers his father, and, particularly, his father’s boots. These boots could be a hammer, a prop, a weapon. But Esteban Rodríguez also remembers how his father — a sleepwalker — would walk outside at night in his underwear, wielding his boots, slapping them against each other in a kind of protective ritual. What spirits was his father protecting them from? What was he asserting about land and place, by standing guard, even in his dreams?Esteban Rodríguez is the author of five poetry collections, most recently, The Valley. His debut essay collection Before the Earth Devours Us will be published by Split/Lip Press in late 2021. He is the Interviews Editor for the EcoTheo Review, an Assistant Poetry Editor for AGNI, and a regular reviews contributor for Heavy Feather Review. He lives in Austin, Texas.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
17 minutes | May 24, 2021
Reginald Dwayne Betts — Essay on Reentry
This ‘Essay on Reentry’ charts life after prison: and the way that others keep your sentence alive even when you’re wishing to just get on with your own life. It’s about secrets and choice and disclosure. And in the midst of all this, there is also love between a son and his dad, a son like a “straggling angel, / lost from his pack finding a way to fulfill his / duty.”Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of a memoir and three books of poetry. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was awarded the 2010 NAACP Image Award for non-fiction. His books of poetry are Shahid Reads His Own Palm, Bastards of the Reagan Era, and Felon. He is a graduate of Prince George’s Community College, the University of Maryland, the MFA Program at Warren Wilson College, and is currently a PhD student at Yale Law School.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
15 minutes | May 21, 2021
Li-Young Lee — From Blossoms
A poem about blossoms that is not only about blossoms. Li-Young Lee remembers a glorious day when he and a companion bought peaches; peaches that had come from blossoms. And in the taste of peaches, the brown paper bag they came in, sold by a boy at a bend in a road, the poem tells us — again and again — that sweetness, yearning and generosity is possible, on all kinds of days.Li-Young Lee is the author of five critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently The Undressing. His earlier books of poetry include Book of My Nights; Behind My Eyes; Rose, winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; and The City in Which I Love You, the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection.Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
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