Thoughts about poetry

Driver Three

I’ve been taking an online poetry class from the UK’s The Poetry School. The tutor is Leah Umansky (@lady_bronte on Twitter), author most recently of The Barbarous Century (Eyewear, 2018).

The class, called “Only Love Studio,” is ostensibly about love poetry, but love is interpreted broadly and includes romantic love, platonic love, and love of place so the subject matter for the poems has been quite far-ranging.

It’s been a joy to be in Leah’s class. Her assignments have pushed me to write in ways I typically might not, and her feedback has been generous, encouraging and insightful. Time will tell if I get any keepers out of this class, but most assignments have produced at least one poem worthy of sharing in one form or another.

Our class of 18 students is diverse, and it’s been inspirational to see the depth of expression possible by poets of different levels. Based on my first experience, I would definitely recommend The Poetry School.

I made an audio recording of last week’s workshop poem called “1982.” It was a bit of retrospective on the experience of American high school when you’re a bit of a nerd. You can hear an early version of that poem below:

This week, I wrote “Driver Three” in response to a prompt related to “love of place.” On the surface it’s a 15-line story about a car ride (well, technically 3) that I had during a work trip to China last week. But more importantly, it’s about the necessity of trusting even in a world with plenty of evidence you should do otherwise. I struggled with it for 4 days while traveling, but when I got home my wife immediately gave me the feedback I needed to figure out how to end it.

It’s a work in progress, but you can see what I’ve got in the video below.

9 Great Poetry Podcasts

Recently I shared a list of 6 Great Ways to Get Poetry in Your Inbox.

In this post, I share a list of podcasts (iTunes podcast links are provided below, but most of these podcasts are available on all platforms) where you can hear poetry read aloud and discussed by poets and poetry editors. There are other lists, but these are the ones to which I subscribe and to which I regularly listen.

  1. The Poetry Magazine Podcast – (iTunes) In this podcast, the editors of Poetry Magazine (Don Share, Christina Pugh, and Lindsay Garbutt) “listen to a poem or two in the current issue.” Often the poets themselves read the poem. Then the editors discuss the poem, often a line at a time, (with the corresponding audio clip re-introduced). It’s a great way to hear new poems and get insight into their workings. It’s also helpful to get in the habit of paying attention to the way the lines within a poem work and contribute to the whole. Don Share’s voice is always welcome in my headphones, and I enjoy his relaxed and unpretentious presentation.
  2. Poetry Off the Shelf (from the Poetry Foundation) – (iTunes) Hosted by Curtis Fox, this podcast “explores the diverse world of contemporary American poetry with readings by poets, interviews with critics, and short poetry documentaries.” This is casual, unpretentious conversation about poetry that’s easy and fun to listen to.
  3. The New Yorker Poetry podcast – (iTunes ** Stitcher) Hosted by poet Kevin Young, poetry editor of the New Yorker Magazine, in this podcast, they “ask poets to chose a poem from the magazine’s archive to read and discuss along with a piece of their own which we’ve published in the New Yorker.” Again, here’s the chance to hear new and archived poetry read aloud and to hear poets reveal their own inner processes. Kevin Young is a great poetry conversationalist (would love to chat with him myself!) which helps to make these conversations lively and interesting.
  4. Poem Talk – (iTunes) Podcast recorded at the Kelly Writers House at the University of Pennsylvania, where host Al Filreis leads a roundtable discussion about single poems with a rotating series of guests.  In its own description, the discussions are lively. They are correct in saying so!
  5. The Poetry Review Podcast from the Poetry Society(On iTunes ** on Soundcloud **) – Rotating selection of hosts interview poets who also read from their poems which have appeared in The Poetry Review.
  6. Poem of the Day (Poetry Foundation) – Daily (On iTunes ** -)  Poem of the day read by the poet or a reader other than the poet.
  7. The Kenyon Review Podcast – (iTunes) Literary podcast not limited to poetry.
  8. The Paris Review podcast– (iTunes) Features classic stories and poems, interviews from their archives, and new work and original readings by the contemporary writers of our time.
  9. The Writer’s Almanac – (iTunes ** Stitcher ** TuneIn) As reviewed in the daily email blast item, this is the old standby.  Garrison Keillor was returned in July 2018 with this daily 5-minute item which includes a  writer-related datebook and other histories, as well as a contemporary or classic poem, read in his trademark voice. Many poets have remarked that they love the way Garrison Keillor reads their poems.

6 great ways to get great poetry in your inbox

The Writer’s Almanac is back. But while it was on hiatus, my poetry habit necessitated I find other ways of getting poems to my inbox each day. It turned out to be a fruitful endeavor. My inbox now overflows daily with diverse and excellent verse. Below are 6 of my new mainstays:

1.

rattle

 

Rattle – Easily my favorite contemporary literary journal devoted exclusively to poetry. Rattle also publishes interviews with poets, and each quarterly print issue includes a bonus chapbook.  To sign up for their poem a day (and bonus poems!) go to https://www.rattle.com/purchase/, select Subscribe and enter your email in the “subscribe by email box.”

 

 

2.

poetry foundation.JPG

 

Poetry Foundation – Poetry Foundation publishes Poetry Magazine. Founded in Chicago in 1912, Poetry is the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. The best poets and poems of the 20th Century have graced its pages. Go to https://www.poetryfoundation.org/newsletter and sign up for the “Poem a day” newsletter.

 

 

 

3.

poets.org

Poets.org‘s Poem-a-day – daily email featuring over 200 new, previously unpublished poems a year. 2018 includes a different guest editor each month who curate the selections. Sign up from https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem-day

 

4.

pome

Matthew Ogle’s Pome – (that’s no typo, Matthew Ogle’s email list is called “pome”)  – it includes short daily poems or excerpts from poems. You will always find the time to read these. Sign up from https://tinyletter.com/pome

 

5.

writer's almanac

 

Garrison Keillor – Garrison Keillor has rebooted the Writer’s Almanac. No longer distributed via Public Radio airwaves, it’s now distributed exclusively from Garrison Keillor’s own website. The online-only audio version is the same as before, complete with that unforgettable theme music and inspiring biographical birthday notes. You can subscribe by email and iTunes

 

 

6.

knopf

Knopf Poetry (sent every year during National Poetry Month only) – Knopf has been publishing great poetry since 1915. For more than twenty years, they have sent out a free poem every day in April. Sign up here any time of year.

 

 

I’d love to hear of your favorite “poetry by email” newsletters.  Please leave them in the comments.