A letter from Pádraig and a rich conversation with other readers every Sunday.
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September 1, 2023
BONUS: Truth-seeking and the Symphony of Language with Henri Cole
A central duality appears in the work of Henri Cole: the revelation of emotional truths in concert with a “symphony of language” — often accompanied by arresting similes. We are excited to offer this conversation between Pádraig and Henri, recorded during the 2022 Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Together, they discuss the role of animals in Henri’s work, the pleasure of aesthetics in poetry, and writing as a form of revenge against forgetting.
August 30, 2023
BONUS: Making Space for the Erotic with Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poems are filled with butchery and blood as she carves space for desire, motherhood, and an encyclopedic knowledge of plants to coexist in life and on the page. We are excited to offer this conversation between Pádraig and Aimee, recorded during the 2022 Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Together, they explore the beauty of solitude, eroticism in poetry, and a letter writing practice for taking inventory of a life.
August 28, 2023
BONUS: Poetry That Pays Attention with Patricia Smith
Through her poetry, Patricia Smith generously, skillfully puts language around what can be seen both in the present and deliberately looking back at oneself. We are excited to offer this conversation between Pádraig and Patricia, recorded during the 2022 Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Together, they explore how memory, persona, and a practice of curiosity inform Patricia’s work, and the ways writing a poem is like writing a piece of music.
July 28, 2023
Maya C. Popa
They Are Building a Hospital
So much of what was once deemed impossible was found — during Covid — to be possible. Here, a poet watches a tent, a huge temporary hospital, be raised up on the green of Central Park, a place she’d previously walked her dog.
July 24, 2023
A Man in Love with Plants
July 21, 2023
What self-consciousnesses do artists carry? It can be difficult to know how to hold onto confidence in your work, especially when small jibes from others remain long after apologies have been offered. Art compels and calls, and also complicates.
July 17, 2023
Dear New Blood
A poet reads to a room full of youths who seem to have some residual resentment to the poet. The poet doesn’t mind — he understands, and calls on the listeners to share in the power of focused anger, to make it a motivation for their creativity.
July 14, 2023
the smiley barista remembers my name
July 10, 2023
A note from the Poetry Unbound team:
We’ve updated the audio for our episode “Amanda Gunn — Ordinary Sugar.” This updated version includes an additional stanza initially omitted from the recording and additional reflection from Pádraig.
How can russet potatoes be made to taste of sugar and caramel? By dedication, love, and craft. Amanda Gunn places her poetry in conversation with the farming and culinary skills of her forebears: women who cultivated land, survival, strength, and family bonds.
Old stories — of mythology or religion — have sometimes been depicted as having one narrative and one interpretation. Here, J. Estanislao Lopez takes on the voice of a character whose story ended in violence, inviting listeners to claim their agency as this character claims hers.
July 3, 2023
BONUS: A Conversation with Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe
We are delighted to offer this extended conversation between host Pádraig Ó Tuama and the poet Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe. Together, they take a deep dive into the story and language of her poem “Blue,” featured in Season 7 of Poetry Unbound, as well as Sasha’s beginnings in poetry.
July 3, 2023
Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe
In a poem that explores a story of a name, a story of a color, a story of a sound, a story of an identity, a the story of a person — we hear of ancestors, childhood innocences, exclusions, memories, sensualities, and the way that the dead are not always dead.
We’re pleased to offer Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe’s poem, and invite you to connect with Poetry Unbound throughout this season. Accompany your listen with our bonus episode, “A Conversation with Sasha taqʷšəblu LaPointe.”
June 30, 2023
June 26, 2023
This Is Why
Why do we do the things we do when we’re young? Brenda Cárdenas recalls nights sneaking out of the house as a teenager, looking for highs, looking for company. “Why would you do that?” is the adult question throughout the poem. “Why wouldn’t I?” is a reply.
June 23, 2023
An item of clothing — the blouse of a grandmother — is praised for its artistry, is remembered for how it sits on the body. And then, having been lost, is remade, refined, and reimagined on a new body that recalls the bodies of women of previous generations.
June 16, 2023
John Lee Clark
If you had to make a self portrait of your daily morning routine through language and sensation, what would you include? John Lee Clark offers memories of a birthday through experiences the body holds.
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