Woodrat Podcast 11: Ai and the art of monologue

No guest this week, just a monologue in honor of the poet Ai, who died on Saturday. I chant Noh and read poems by Ai (obviously), Richard Shelton, and the O’odham of southern Arizona.



(Update #2, 3/27)

(Update #3, 3/28)

Japanese temple bell audio is from Daniele Salvati on freesound.org and is licenced under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 licence.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. thanks for introducing me to her work.


  2. Thank you for this, which I just caught up with. (just fine on my home computer if I download rather than listening on this page, by the way).

    I must admit that I kind of recalled hearing about Ai, remembered because of the strange name no doubt, but did not recall any of her work. I shall now, and will look for more. It’s sad that sometimes an artist comes to our notice for the first time because of the tributes published on their death.

    Her work, and what you had to say about it, is very relevant to what I’ve been trying uncertainly to articulate about the popular Swedish crime novelist, Stieg Larsson, and the just-released film based on one of them (not that I’m comparing them artistically – he was an unashamed populist) – how there are depictions of hateful violence that just perpetrate further violence, and then there are depictions of things just as bad that bear powerful, necessary witness in quite a different way.


    1. It’s sad that sometimes an artist comes to our notice for the first time because of the tributes published on their death.

      Yeah. I can’t tell you how many times that has happened for me.

      “Powerful, necessary witness” is Ai’s work in a nutshell, I think. I’m glad you enjoyed this episode. I was afraid some people would feel let down that I didn’t have a guest, but I don’t want to get locked into one pattern. (Next week I will be interviewing another writer, though.)


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