Woodrat Podcast

Luisa A. Igloria and her recent books

Luisa A. Igloria, currently a daily contributor to Via Negativa, joins me and Kristin Berkey-Abbott as our second guest in Via Negativa’s informal Poetry Month book club for a discussion of (among other things) her next-to-most recent volume, Trill & Mordent — see response posts by Kristin, Dale Favier, and Rachel Barenblat, as well as my own.

Luisa’s presence on the web is a little diffuse, but do check out her official website (especially the page, “Why Lizards?” — a topic which Kristin and I tragically forgot to ask about), her Blogspot blog, her photo blog, and her Twitter stream, as well as her Wikipedia page and the page for ODU’s MFA Creative Writing program, which she administers.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence).

Diane Lockward

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 recently read (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.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence).

spring peeper, northern saw-whet owl, and American woodcock
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.

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Photo credits, l-r: Norman Walsh (CC BY-NC), Dave Darney/USFWS, Tom Tetzner/USFWS. Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence).

A poetic celebration of non-romantic love and close friendship. Contributors include: Augustine, Brenda Clews, Jason Crane, Risa Denenberg, Ann Drysdale, Kate Fitzpatrick, Stephanie Goehring, Howie Good, Uma Gowrishankar, Joanne Hudson, Pat Jones, Sid Kemp, Maria Koliopoulou, W.F. Lantry, Ami Mattison, Carolee Sherwood, Paul Stevens, and Marly Youmans.

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“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. (more…)

Rachel Barenblat, Torah Poems cover, and Beth Adams
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.)

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)

New Year's self-portrait
New Year's self-portrait

A very brief show with no guest — just me holding forth. Best wishes for a creative and productive 2011. May the fleeting moments of joy and transcendence out-weigh the boredom and despair.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)

Emily Dickinson

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.

Participants: Kelli Russell Agodon, Ivy Alvarez, Patricia F. Anderson, Rachel Barenblat, Kristin Berkey-Abbott, Bob BrueckL, Sherry Chandler, Brenda Clews, Teju Cole, Jason Crane, Anna Dickie, Jessica Fox-Wilson, Dick Jones, Collin Kelley, Alison Kent, Clayton Michaels, Divya Rajan, Deb Scott, Nic S., Steven Sherrill, Carolee Sherwood, Hannah Stephenson, Christine Swint and Donna Vorreyer.

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Theme music: “Le grand sequoia,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)

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.

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Theme music: “This noise,” by Innvivo (Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike licence)

Burden, by Samantha Hahn, and Hannah Stephenson portrait by Marcos Armstrong
'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:

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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)