For the first of our Poetry Month conversations, Kristin Berkey-Abbott and I talked by phone with Diane Lockward, whose most recent book of poems, Temptation by Water, we had both recentlyread (or re-read, in Kristin’s case). For links to all three of Diane’s books, see her website. She blogs about poetry at Blogalicious.
Spring peeper, northern saw-whet owl, and American woodcock
It may feel and sometimes even still look like winter out there, but spring is on the march (so to speak). This is perhaps most evident after dark. Join me and some other folks for a night-time ramble through the March woods and wetlands of Central Pennsylvania. We’ll listen to a woodcock, a saw-whet owl, some creature whose identity I’m not certain of, spring peepers, and herpetologist Jim Julian from Penn State Altoona. Julian, an expert on seaonal wetlands ecology, leads the annual Vernal Pool Tour of the Scotia Barrens, sponsored by the Clearwater Conservancy. We all squish about looking for wood frogs and spotted salmanders on a cold and rainy night.
Note by the way that Woodrat podcast episodes can now be embedded on other websites and forums. Grab the code right below the player.
“The Starry Fool” by Marly Youmans originally appeared in Mezzo Cammin, “Epic” by Stephanie Goehring in 42opus, and “L’Hirondelle” by W.F. Lantry in Damazine. The music in “Veils to Clothe Venus” by Brenda Clews is by Buz Hendricks, used by permission. The podcast theme music is “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence).
UPDATE (11/12) — Deadline extended by one day, through Sunday, for all you slackers.
I’d like to produce another episode of the Woodrat Podcast with multiple contributors, like the one for Emily Dickinson’s 180th birthday back on December 10, except this time, I’m asking for original contributions on the theme of Platonic love for an episode to be published in one week — on Valentine’s Day. By Platonic love, I probably don’t mean whatever Plato meant by it, but the modern definition: a close friendship between two people which does not involve sex (but theoretically could, either because they are a heterosexual man and woman, two homosexual men, two lesbian women, or combinations in which one is a bisexual… you get the idea). I’m interested in what happens to love when sex is removed from the equation. Continue reading →
Rachel Barenblat (l., with new rabbi ears) and Beth Adams
A three-way conversation with the newly ordained Velveteen Rabbi, Rachel Barenblat, and Beth Adams, publisher of Rachel’s 70 Faces: Torah Poems. Rachel reads five poems from her new book plus a brand new Torah poem, and we talk about Biblical interpretation, Middle East politics, literary micropublishing, and more. (Although today is Tu BiShvat, the New Year of the Trees, I stupidly forget to bring that up. But you can read and listen to Rachel’s poem for the day on her blog.)
180: a half-circle of years since the birth of Emily Dickinson. I got the idea of doing this podcast around 2:00 p.m. yesterday and sent out a bunch of emails expecting that maybe a third of the recipients would be able to make recordings of themselves reading and talking about Dickinson. Instead, almost everyone did! I also advertised for participants on Twitter and Facebook, and got several more volunteers that way. So this episode is twice as long as usual, but that’s O.K., because hey — it’s a party! (Albeit a low-key one, as Dickinson probably would’ve preferred.) This is not a scholarly discussion of Dickinson; check out Open Source Radio’s podcast with Helen Vendler if you’d like something more analytical. We are just poets, artists, novelists, knitters, musicians… appreciators of poetry reading and musing about one of the giants of world literature.
I pestered family and friends this Thanksgiving and Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day with a simple question: what are you thankful for? Responders included my Mom and Dad, my brother Steve, his daughter Elanor and his wife Pamela, who checked in with us on (American) Thanksgiving Day via a Skype video connection from Newfoundland; and my friends Natalie d’Arbeloff, Chris O’Brien, Deb Scott, Phil Coleman, and Beth Adams.
Several people have asked me what I’m thankful for — a fair question. Too many things to count, really, but first and foremost: all of you. Thanks for reading (or listening), thanks for the gift of your presence and for the inspiration of your own example as writers, artists, or citizens of the planet.
'Burden' by Samantha Hahn, and Hannah Stephenson portrait by Marcos Armstrong
Hannah Stephenson has been blogging a new poem every weekday since July 2008, recently posting her 600th poem at The Storialist. She’s also active on Facebook and Twitter, records and uploads songs to SoundCloud, reads and comments widely on other blogs, and has just completed a full-length manuscript of poetry called Guided Tours, in addition to her work as a college writing instructor and freelance editorial consultant. Bascially, I wanted to know how the hell she does it. I also wanted to learn more about the connection between poetry and fashion photography, her original inspiration at The Storialist.
In the course of the conversation, I got her to read a few poems, too. Here are the links if you’d like to follow along:
Thanks to Samantha Hahn (see larger version of “Burden”) and Marcos Armstrong for the images. Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)
(Update 11/15) Nic has just launched a new companion site to Whale Sound, Voice Alpha, “a repository for thoughts, theories, suggestions, likes and dislikes and anything else related to the art and science of reading poetry aloud for an audience.” She is actively searching for guest bloggers.