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Ms. Lyric's Poetry Outlaws

Ms. Lyric's Poetry Outlaws

By catherine owen
Join poet Catherine Owen as she reads poems, talks about the poetry world and interviews poets.
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Episode 14: Chris Hutchinson interview and the poem Another Trip to the Undersea Kingdom

Ms. Lyric's Poetry Outlaws

Episode 25: David McFadden Homage
1940-2018. He reads a poem at the Griffin ceremony, I have memories and recount bio bits and then read a Gary Barwin piece for him at the end. Thanks Dave and connect with you word musicians again in Season Six!
June 10, 2022
Episode 24: Jean Van Loon, a conversation!
In which there are still tech difficulties and I say wonderful too often (with Chris Banks it was incredible! Always one dominant word). I also talk too much (and cough) but sometimes that’s the way it goes. We chat about grief, cadence, writing revenge ditties, working in offices, university workshops, poetic infrastructure, the importance of reviews, and her latest book Nuclear Family! And Jean reads her poem Peopling the Night.
June 09, 2022
Episode 23: Chris Banks, a chat!
We triumphed over a range of tech challenges to chat deeply about music, form, nostalgia’s dangers, small towns, the need to read widely, growing up, transforming style, and the sustenance of the poem. And he reads his poem Hit Parade. A terrific time!
June 08, 2022
Episode 22: Bronwyn Wallace homage
Gone at 44, she left us fierce poems about living as women in the world. Read her!
June 02, 2022
Episode 21: Kateri Lanthier interview
I’m a bit quieter in this one as we progress as I develop a cough! But boy did we have a deep chat about allusions and freedom, the Me Too movement, grandfathers, children, the importance of readings and dreams of a Poet’s Place other than on the bottom shelf. And she reads her piece Fiat Lux.
June 01, 2022
Episode 20: Michael Dennis homage
1956-2020. Poet, life adventurer, reviewer. Bio, memories and messages, chat about reviewing, a poem about the death of his mother. Thanks Michael.
May 27, 2022
Episode 19: Frances Boyle conversation
In which the Ottawa poet and I talk about breath, writing processes, mentors, the origins of poetry in grief, the importance of reviews and the unimportance of prizes and much else. And she reads a poem called The Whole Tall World. O and I believe the writing workshop we met at was called Writing Wild Mind. Ah well, it was long ago!
May 25, 2022
Episode 18: Priscila Uppal homage
Gone at 43 she filled a room with her bountiful accomplishments and colourful presence. I read her obit and then her poem of death that has no angels in it.
May 23, 2022
Episode 17: Kuldip Gill homage
Fraser Valley poet who wrote about India and Canada and died in 2009. And was an elegant effervescent life force!
May 20, 2022
Episode 16: Earle Birney homage
1904-1995. Bon vivant, mountaineer, experimentalist, life force of a poet. Thanks Earle!
May 17, 2022
Episode 15: Miranda Pearson, a conversation
In which I chat with a poet I’ve known a long time. From England! On the couplet, sound in poetry, being wild, sexuality, a parental death, publishing and audience, the arrogance of the young and the maverick world of art!
May 11, 2022
Episode 14: A grrrrrr against poetic careerism.
What does community mean to you as a poet? Why do you write? Are you only interested in what you get paid, awards, accolades? Why does one do interviews or reviews or host events? I am wondering. Today, I wonder.
May 10, 2022
Epsode 13: Miriam Waddington homage
1917-2004. Poet, translator, scholar and social worker. A fierce creator. Personal memories, a bio and her poem Mechanics for Women!
May 09, 2022
Episode 12: Robert Priest conversation
A two-parter with this People’s Poet from Toronto on form, mental health, reading, early poetic development, politics, publication, old school submission procedures and love for the art. And he recites a haunting ghazal. Thanks Robert!
May 04, 2022
Episode 11: David Haskins homage
In which he recites his poem “How to be a Canadian Poet” and then I read his bio, some review excerpts and a few messages. I um too much for once and get a bit emotional at the end but it’s all well meant. Thanks Dave.
May 02, 2022
Episode 10: Marya Fiamengo homage
1926-2013 Vancouver poet and bon vivant of being fully alive. Reminiscences and a reading of At the Pornographer’s.
April 29, 2022
Episode 9: Elizabeth Gourlay Homage
1917-2009. Eventual Vancouver poet who had more than a few words to say about not growing old, about painting, and most of all, about her prized roses. I read her poem The Lack. And I wish I still had that photo of her posing so regally in a red gown!
April 27, 2022
Episode 8: Robert Colman in conversation.
A ghazal-like chat with the Ontario poet about grief (and with an emotional reading of his pantoumn), forms, the importance of translation, reviews and reading series, poets like Steve Heighton and M Travis Lane and process. Complete with sniffling, barking dogs, and a few cars and planes ;) Enjoy!
April 25, 2022
Episode 7: Steven Heighton: a sonnet of fragments, in homage.
I still can’t believe he died two days ago. 1961-2022. Here are my memories, segments of him singing and reciting, fragments of my tour diaries and emails from him, of his texts and my review. Bits of a beautiful life devoted to art. Made with love. Thank you always Steve
April 21, 2022
Episode 6: Al Pittman homage
(1940-2001) poet and creator from Newfoundland. I recollect a difficult reading from him near the end of his life, tell you a bit about his bio and recite a poem The Dance of the Mayflies. Thanks Al.
April 14, 2022
Episode 5: Catherine Graham in conversation
Truly an energetic Zoom chat, the longest yet, with this Toronto poet. About grief, publishing different genres, the importance of a good editor, tentacles and fountains, the organic core, Stafford and Dickinson and Gluck and age and auralities. Chock a block full of this and more and so much laughter!
April 12, 2022
Episode 4: Homage to Mavis Jones (1930-2018)
Find this poet’s books!! She is worth it. Thanks environmentalist, writer and warm as a seal human :)
April 09, 2022
Episode 3: John Newlove homage
1938-2003 peripatetic poet supremo. I talk a bit about his life, when I heard him read, share a few critical reflections and recite his famous piece Ride off any Horizon. Happy Birthday Dad.
April 08, 2022
Episode 2: M Travis Lane, a conversation!
In my first Zoom interview, I converse with Travis Lane from Fredericton NB about everything from Elizabeth Bishop to the war, from the importance of being able to learn to howl like wolves to how Canada radically lacks saints. And first, she recites the poem Rich Autumn (along with a few childhood ditties!) I laugh and gush too much but there you have it. She’s 87 and an amazing force :)
April 05, 2022
Season 5: Episode 1. Ellen S Jaffe. An homage.
For Ellen. Who died on March 16 at 77 and who was a fabulous human and committed poet and lovely presence in the world. Thank you.
March 30, 2022
Episode 40: Ruth Stone’s Train Ride
In homage to Joe Rosenblatt’s third passing away day, the final elegy in The Art of Losing. Passage yes. And Beauty. Gone and yet forever. See you in Season Five outlaws.
March 11, 2022
Episode 39: James Merrill’s Last Words
Ok I’m sick but I’m still recording this second to last piece in The Art of Losing and one of my fave poets, Mr Merrill. Whose Last Words are beautiful.
March 10, 2022
Episode 38: A grrrr against cliché
I went to a show. It was amazing. Except the writing. Why? Cliche. Why do we accept this in our art making. I say nay. A writer’s job is to refresh the language so one can feel again. And do. I bring in definitions and a bit of a draft and Pound and Frost. It could go in many directions. Here’s a start.
March 09, 2022
Episode 37: Jane Kenyon’s Otherwise
Happy international Women’s day! Herewith a poem on gratitude and the senses and reality from The Art Of Losing and a poet we lost too soon.
March 08, 2022
Episode 36: e e cummings and i thank you god for most this amazing.
This atheist-earthiest still loves this god poem by the nutty Cummings and his typographical jolliness. And it was a day like that for me today. Giving thanks by a fire pit under a blue sky. Includes a 1953 recording of the poet reading the piece himself. Yes.
March 08, 2022
Episode 35: Philip Larkin’s The Trees
Enjoy this curmudgeon librarian and his too true poem about the lies of nature’s renewal as I bumble about trying to explicate rhymes ;) From the Redemption section of The Art of Losing.
March 04, 2022
Episode 34: Theodore Roethke’s The Waking
Boy it’s a challenge to talk about form and rhythm schemes! At any rate, here’s a reading by the poet himself, me nattering and then reciting it too. One of the most mysterious villanelles. Last elegy in the section on Recovery (loathe that word!) in The Art of Losing.
March 03, 2022
Episode 33: Ted Kooser’s Father
I blather a bit here as sometimes happens when I’m trying to trace deeply embedded rhythms but yes, the shifting tones, the deeply human beauty of dying at just the right time and not malingering.
March 02, 2022
Episode 32: John Ashbery’s Light Turnouts
I forgot to talk about the title! It means where a train goes off on its own track. But only lightly. O Ashbery. This one’s for Frank.
March 01, 2022
Episode 31: WS Merwin’s For the Anniversary of my Death
A curious, compelling thought. We don’t know the date we will die but we pass the day each year. For Chris. Whose birthday it was yesterday when he was alive.
February 28, 2022
Episode 30: Jane Mayhall’s The Gilded Shadow
Hey if one could only still write poems like this at 85! An elegy for her husband in the Recovery section of The Art of Losing.
February 26, 2022
Episode 29: Frank O’Hara’s My Heart
It’s Part Five or Recovery (a misnomer) in The Art of Losing and Frank O’Hara gives us My Heart which I stumblingly discuss and then try to leave it to its own messy resonances!
February 25, 2022
Episode 28: Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art
A gorgeous villanelle that both makes and breaks the form to evidence the art of losing and how it’s done :)
February 23, 2022
Episode 27: Jean Valentine’s My Mother’s Body, My Professor, My Bower
From the Ritual section of The Art of Losing. Valentine’s paean to the somatic, the origins, the real. Happy Family Day. Hug your mother.
February 21, 2022
Episode 26: Deborah Digges’ Seersucker Suit
A gorgeous elegy from the Ritual section of the grief anthology on the tangibilities of loss, the wardrobe of mourning.
February 18, 2022
Episode 25: Yusef Komunyakaa’s Facing it
To face the Vietnam memorial; to face losses, the war’s past and now. Reflections. Real? Imagined? All is one in this elegy from the Ritual section of The Art of Losing.
February 16, 2022
Episode 24: Gwendolyn McEwen’s Dark Pines Under Water
A listener’s/interviewee’s choice poem from Susan McCaslin! She read it under a tree in the Han Shan forest and I talked about McEwen’s life and poem with its rich echoes and metaphysical resonances. Happy Day of Love!
February 14, 2022
Episode 23: Susan McCaslin: a conversation
In which I hmmmm a lot and a dog barks while we sip tea in a gloriously sunny Fort Langley kitchen, but also we chat about flowers becoming Wonderland, form poems, saving a forest, singing opera, literary allusiveness, cancel culture, poetic diversity and transcendence. And Susan reads Dear Lovers’ Tree in the Han Shan Woods. Thank you mentor and teacher and friend.
February 13, 2022
Episode 22: Dylan Thomas’s A Refusal to Mourn the Death, By Fire, of a Child in London
This poem, from the Remembrance section of the Art of Losing, and one of Thomas’s most sonorous pieces is nonetheless problematic. I relish its resonances and get irked by its intents. Such is poetry. There to make you feel and think!
February 08, 2022
Episode 21: Robert Hayden’s Those Winter Sundays
A beautiful elegy for the knowledge of sacrifice and duty one could re-read eternally. From The Art of Losing’s Remembrance section.
February 07, 2022
Episode 20: Doug Barbour (1940-2021) homage
Although I accidentally misname Doug’s wife and deal with the dog’s barkings I aim to otherwise create a true homage to this poet, speculative fiction creator and community builder for the arts, pastiched from other homages, his bio, a poem on Cezanne and my own memories. Thanks Doug!
February 05, 2022
Episode 19: Hal Sirowitz’s Remember Me
Yay new intro and outro! And also another elegy, this time from the Remembrance section of The Art of Losing, on parents picking their cemetery plots. It’s a bit funny. And Hal is a new poet for me so also yay!
February 03, 2022
Episode 18: Charles Wright’s Clear Night
A reading of this poem as selected by Yvonne Blomer, then me chatting about its form and content and reciting it too! Wright rocks. Relish!
January 31, 2022
Episode 17: Yvonne Blomer in Conversation
At the Penny Farthing pub in Victoria BC, I have a grand chat with the former poet laureate Yvonne Blomer. We talk about workshops, feminism, parenthood, Woolf, the sonnet, rhythms, pandemic pursuits and the meat of it all. And she reads a poem called Broadening! Enjoy the ambiance too, including an interruption by four scooter denizens ;) We aim to disrupt yes we do.
January 30, 2022
Episode 16: Robert Bringhurst’s Birds on the Water
As recited by my brother Simon and then discussed in its form, repetitions, sounds and content by me! Plus I tell you what else the inimitable Bringhurst writes.
January 28, 2022
Episode 15: Edna St Vincent Millay’s Dirge without Music
The last piece in the second section Regret in the Art of Losing anthology, a beautiful rhymed elegy on a refusal to accept by one of America’s once deeply loved poets. And no one interrupted me! Miracle of miracles!!
January 25, 2022
Episode 14: Dream song 14 by John Berryman
Herewith Kevin Spenst reciting his Listener’s Choice selection, me trying to chat about it while people move boxes behind me (hence forgetting the significance of the last line’s colon), and then hey I read it to. What an obsession this world was for Mr Berryman indeed.
January 24, 2022
Episode 13: Kevin Spenst In Conversation
In which (in a Vancouver coffee shop with its background music) he reads his amazing poem The Geology of a Moment and we talk about the 70s, the 90s, Roy Miki, the sounds of words, border blurs, the academy, love, the importance of venues for poetry, and how to chill. And we giggle or guffaw a lot too. Enjoy!
January 23, 2022
Episode 12: Thom Gunn’s The Reassurance
In which I pick a very short poem to recite from the Regret section of The Art of Losing thinking I won’t be interrupted at my parents’ house. But of course there is always a dog somewhere or a closing door. At any rate, I aim to engage in this dream elegy. We always want them to return.
January 20, 2022
Episode 11: Phyllis Webb Homage (1927-2021)
In which I read a couple of her short lyrics, consider why she stopped writing poetry, talk about her work life, along with her painting and collage, note her supporters, quote her on the writing process and recollect the four times I encountered her in Vancouver and on Saltspring Island. Thanks Phyllis.
January 19, 2022
Episode 10: Ruth Stone’s Speaking to my Dead Mother
The American poet Ruth Stone’s elegiac sonnet from the Regret section of The Art of Losing. Be always in the moment.
January 17, 2022
Episode 9: Gregory Orr’s A Litany
Based on a real and tragic episode, this elegy from the second section, Regret, in The Art of Losing anthology, is Orr’s accounting of his accidental killing of his brother and how he turned to poetry in his grief. Language. It’s there to mourn with too.
January 16, 2022
Episode 8: Derek Walcott’s Sea Canes
Another stirring elegy from the first section, Reckoning, in The Art of Losing. And prior to this a paragraph on the elegiac mode from Kevin Young’s intro. And my bumbling abouts ;)
January 12, 2022
Episode 7: Natasha Trethewey’s Graveyard Blues
Another elegy from the first part of The Art of Losing with a little background info and a recitation of this gorgeous and tragic blues sonnet.
January 11, 2022
Episode 5: Philip Larkin’s The Mower
Another elegy from the first section of The Art of Losing with a further paragraph from editor Kevin Young’s intro then a reading and discussion of Larkin’s paean to the need to be kind to all creatures who suffer death.
January 10, 2022
Episode 4: DH Lawrence’s Silence from The Art of Losing
In which I begin a random sampling of elegies in sections from the anthology The Art of Losing: poems of grief and healing, edited by American poet Kevin Young (2010). I read the first two paragraphs of his introduction and then Lawrence’s haunting four stanza piece. And talk about some of its impacts and effects. Enjoy outlaws!
January 08, 2022
Episode 3: Anne Szumigalski homage
Happy New Year outlaws! In which I chat about her books, how I met her, and read a bio, a blurb by Joe and a poem called Quince. Thanks Anne :)
January 03, 2022
Episode 2: James Merrill's The Kimono read by Katherine Bitney and me.
A Listener's Choice Poem from my recent interview subject in Winnipeg. And Katherine actually introduced the pleasures of Merrill to me! A perfect poem to end 2021. Enjoy poetry outlaws :)
December 31, 2021
Season 4. Episode 1. Katherine Bitney interview after a wrap/intro to the new season!
Ms Lyric's begins Season 4 in Winnipeg having a wild conversation with poet Katherine Bitney about all things crow, poem, grief, witness, wildness and spells that make you go whoopsie! But first I start with a brief wrap of Season 3 and an intro to the new approaches of Season 4. Happy Merry word musicians :)
December 25, 2021
Episode 30: Heather Haley interview Parts One and Two
The final episode of Season Three, featuring a raucous conversation with Vancouver poet Heather Haley at the Italian restaurant Marcello's on the Drive. Let's call this one We Have Muzzled Nothing and Meat of the Matter where we cackle and chat about being tomboys, the punk rock circus, minimalist ethos, the importance of fucking, detachment from the scene and the hubris of youth. And she recites her poem Voracious. Amid sirens while sipping sauv blanc! Thanks poets and listeners :) Back with Season 4 in late winter 2022!!
December 10, 2021
Episode 29: Barbara Pelman's Walk On: a Fugue
Fugues are about voicings, repetitions, hauntings. This is the last piece I'm reciting from the Planet Earth poetry anthology. Thanks to all Victoria poets who host and run series and workshop events! And to all the poetic forms in the world.
December 09, 2021
Episode 28: Jen Currin and On Peace Street
A poem about love from the Planet Earth anthology. A Vancouver poet. It's Wednesday and snowing in Edmonton too.
December 08, 2021
Episode 27: Eve Joseph and the Halfway World of the Pantanal
A palindrome of grief and beauty within the lush, lost worlds of indigeneity and nature. From the Planet Earth series anthology and another fine BC poet.
December 07, 2021
Episode 26: Russell Thornton's The Aeschylus Rock
From Planet Earth Poetry poems, Yvonne Blomer's anthology, It's mythical, it's gory, it's true. And boy does it sound good.
December 06, 2021
Episode 25: Jan Zwicky's Autobiography
From the Planet Earth poetry anthology from 2013. Poem one of five. I introduce the reading series, read from editor and host Yvonne Blomer's afterword and recite and talk about the memories and sounds of the Zwicky piece. Reading series, they matter.
December 03, 2021
Episode 24: Jamie Reid Homage
In which I remember Jamie, affable, nutty, incensed, supportive, and jazzy. He was a good writer and person and I will always miss his presence at events as he photographed and absorbed. Thanks Mr Dadababy.
December 02, 2021
Episode 23: Anne Sexton's Her Kind.
Requested by Edmontonian interview guest Alice Major. She thought I might post it around Halloween but hey it's just as powerful a spell on December 1st. Sexton speaks to all female creators who haven't felt accepted within patriarchy. And she does it here with craft and craftiness. I relate? Do you?
December 01, 2021
Episode 22: Pat Lowther's A Stone Diary
Requested by former interviewee from Edmonton, Paul Pearson. We speak of stones, gems, history, coming to sensual consciousness, the muse and Lowther, one of our mothers in Canadian women's poetry.
November 30, 2021
Episode 21: Emily Nilsen's Meanwhile in his Dreams
As requested by Edmontonian interview guest Kelly Shepherd! It's about family, the environment, the self. And sounds. And it haunts. Happy Monday!
November 29, 2021
Episode 20: Bach's B Minor Mass by Robert Bly
As requested by a Vancouver interview subject, Diane Tucker. A beautiful poem about transcendental power through music and spirituality. And RIP Bly who just died this year!
November 26, 2021
Episode 19: George Herbert's Prayer 1 requested by Chris Hutchinson
Another Listener's Choice Poem from an interview subject, this one in Edmonton not Vancouver! O Herbert. Ever challenging to unfold. He resists. He gives. And he forgives my bumblings around with explications of what is after all his mystery :)
November 25, 2021
Episode 18: Heather Haley requests No'U Revilla's Smoke Screen.
A Vancouver poet (who I have indeed interviewed but whose interview won't be posted until the last episode of Season 3!) asks me to read a Hawaiian poet. A gorgeous piece about work and fatherhood and love and loss. And smoking! Relish it.
November 24, 2021
Episode 17: Jane Hirshfield's A Ream of Paper
Selected as a Listener's Choice by my first interview subject Heidi Greco. It's not a simple piece after all! There's violence in this writing. What's that deer doing anyway? And you can hear my cat.
November 23, 2021
Episode 16: A Grrrrr on The Poverty of the Poetic Ecology
I begin by reading a series of fragments from the ancient satirist Juvenal to show how old this type of grrrrrr is ;) Then I chat to myself in my yard (or maybe all the birds care) about the disparities and insufficiencies relating to big prizes/arts admin pay vs the every day impoverished maker's reality. And end with a quote about the whole notion that if you love something you should never ask to be paid fairly to undertake it. Say what? Let's shift the system and make it different! This poet says yes.
November 22, 2021
Episode 15: Rob Taylor's The Wailing Machines
The final poem in the Revolving City anthology for Friday! And I talk the anthology beast in general before discussing verbs and the Commercial Drive neighborhood in Taylor's powerful piece about vulnerability and love.
November 19, 2021
Episode 14: A Conversation with Geoff Nilson
In which we rant and chuckle and explore aspects of form, eco-poetry, the gift economy of art, the problems with publishing, and the need to transcend what's expected and engage with the alternate. It's a raucous epic fueled by cheap wine at the Cannibal cafe in Vancouver!
November 18, 2021
Episode 13: Homage to Heather Spears
Although I sound gooned at the start I can assure you it's a November morning and I am not. I talk about Heather Spears life and work, her death in 2021, her character and life energy. I flub the name of one of her books - it is the Word for Sand not Name. And I read her funny piece about poetry readings. Another amazing female poet and creative gone.
November 17, 2021
Episode 12: Heather Haley's Fleshpot.
Second to last piece from the Revolving City anthology and I hem and haw and um a lot here, partly because I recorded this episode in my parents' garden and was worried about being interrupted and in part due to the fact that I am aiming to explicate staccato rhythms ;) at any rate, I read the poem well. Relish the vulnerability!
November 16, 2021
Episode 11: Steve Collis' On the Indexical or Hockey Night in the Anthropocene.
A climate change poem from The Revolving City anthology by an SFU prof. The delicate ways poetry can address gargantuan issues.
November 15, 2021
Episode 10: Miranda Pearson's Kerrisdale
Poem two from The Revolving City anthology features a tony hood, aging denizens, heartbreak and survival. I talk about the poem. I read it. Enjoy!
November 12, 2021
Episode 9: Evelyn Lau's Solitary from The Revolving City anthology.
Edited by Compton and Saklikar, this Vancouver-based collection of poems and their stories came out in 2015 as a culmination of the Lunch poems reading series at the downtown SFU campus. Lau's poem reminds us of the hell of Van real estate but also the small joys of living alone.
November 11, 2021
Episode 8: Grief at Personal and Eco Loss in Poetry
A Listener's Question from Chika. Actually two questions on whether grief writing can be seen as exploitative and whether personal grief twins with environmental mourning in poems. I aim to address my perspective on this complexity in 10 minutes, drawing on the origins of elegy, elegiac poets, current quotes from Natasha Tretheway on grief and art and the communal fusions of modes of mourning. I love these challenges!
November 10, 2021
Episode 7: He by John Ashbery
Maja's Listener's Choice poem! By one of my most obsessed over poets ever. Thus I bumble about telling you how and why Ashbery couldn't tell you. But o the anaphora! What identity Majesties!!
November 09, 2021
Episode 6: Seamus Heaney's St Kevin and the Blackbird.
A Listener's Choice poem from the wondrous Chika. It's ekphrastic. It's spiritual. It can even recall an episode of Family Guy. It's a poem you won't soon forget.
November 08, 2021
Episode 4: Listener's Question from Maja on Poetry as a Substance and Altered State.
In which I ramble pointedly for awhile in attempts to address Maja's query - "is poetry a substance that creates altered states? Do you use substances to create poetry?" Rimbaud appears, Coleridge, Berryman, Stevens and the theorist Viktor Schklovsky. And the muse. Of course.
November 05, 2021
Episode 4: The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. A Listener's Choice from my father, Gerald Owen.
In which he recites it, I talk likely at far too great a length about its ambiguities and then I read it too. And append a note after about both our minor errors. And the beauty of the poem, regardless.
November 04, 2021
Episode 3: Walter de la Mare's Silver. My mother's Listener's Choice poem.
I read the title, Mum recites from mostly memory, then I talk about this mysterious piece and read it again. Repetition. The core of the spell.
November 03, 2021
Episode 2: In which I interview my parents about poetry and life.
This rare episode features Madeleine and Gerald Owen, my parents, from their livingroom in Burnaby BC. We chat randomly about poetry, their childhoods, being culture vultures, our familial diversities, puns, music, translation, and the importance of it all. Made with love. And a lot of laughter.
November 02, 2021
Season Three: Episode 1. A summation of Season Two.
This is a test. This is only a test. Season three will actually start in a week but this is a recap of Season Two for starters and a dream poem of mine for kicks. Talk to you soon, word musicians!
October 26, 2021
Episode 27: Instagram 'poetry'. A listener's question. The end of Season 2.
Herewith the close of a shorter season two because hey such is life and it's my podcast so I can do what I want ;) I conclude with a punchy listener's question from Hollay Ghadery on what is up with Insta poems and the genre and practice? In 6 parts I answer this (or not) with research and personal opinion based on a whack of years of thinking and creating. Enjoy the rants. And then form your own thoughts. Read!! I shall return poetry outlaws!!!
September 13, 2021
Episode 26: Jobs for Poets and Jenna Butler's Keswick
Chapter 11 (the last chapter) of the Other 23 on all the ways a poet can hold weird and wonderful free-range (or at least different from ONLY teaching in the university system) jobs. Jenna has a farm! And writes delectable poems too. Explore! See what's out there poetry outlaws!!
September 09, 2021
Episode 25: Travel and PM Pilarski's The Lizards Hold Court at Delos.
Chapter 10 of the Other 23 on that thing we are missing these days: travel and outward adventuring. How does it assist the process of poetry? O in so many ways. Ask those Grecian beasts.
September 08, 2021
Episode 24: Collaboration and Ars Poetica with Rachel Rose
Chapter 9 of the Other 23 and a half hours where I talk about the fun and essential act of collaborating with other artists to create dances, books, librettos and other beautiful things. And recite Rachel Rose's anaphoric Ars Poetica. Expand your horizons. Make stuff with others!
September 07, 2021
Episode 23: Mixing Mediums and Paul Vermeersch's Bad at Flowers
Chapter 8 of the Other 23 where I talk about the value of painting, dancing, taking photos and playing music for a poet, invoking the words of Joe Rosenblatt and Paul Vermeersch, then reading his vivid and funny poem, Bad at Flowers. Go on. Play with art. Discover what else your poetic sensibilities can create. And happy Friday!
September 03, 2021
Episode 22: Small Presses and John Pass's Sparrows
Chapter 7 of the Other 23 where we talk the ins and outs, types and kinds, whys and wherefores of running small presses and printing chapbooks. With John Pass to assist. And his lovely poem, Sparrows.
September 02, 2021
Episode 21: Radio and Reading Series and Yvonne Blomer's Northern Solstice.
Hey it's September and this is Chapter 6 of The Other 23 on hosting radio shows and running reading events as a poet. I chat about university radio, the orality of the art, organizing a poetry series, encouraging a diversity of media and end with Yvonne's series Planet Earth and a planetary poem.
September 01, 2021
Episode 20: Translation and Steve Noyes' All that was Desired
There's a fountain. Me turning pages. And talking about translation, mostly drawing upon Steve Noyes' multi-lingual experience, then reading one of his lusciously disruptive poems. Yes it's Chapter 5 of the Other 23 and the last day of August.
August 31, 2021
Episode 19: Reviews and M Travis Lane's Print
Chapter 4 of the Other 23 and I'm outside with the fountain again chatting about the importance of reviews and criticism. The real stuff. Lane knows about this. I read her poem Print too. And it's a beautiful thing.
August 30, 2021
Episode 18: Research and Even the Brilliant Chimpanzees by Patricia Young
I'm outside, the fountain is spilling into words and I talk the muse and transcendental nature of research. Chapter 3 of the Other 23 and a half Hours. Then Patricia chats about her process through quotations and I read one of her wondrous simian poems.
August 27, 2021
Episode 17: Memorization and Susan McCaslin's Corona Corona
Chapter 2 of The Other 23 and a half hours in which I discuss the act of memorization of poems, out of fashion but essential. It doesn't have to be your own. Take the sounds of others within you. They will be there in the dentist's chair then, while on a walk, when traveling. I talk about reciting Jeffers in Cuba. And mostly about my former teacher Susan and read her wonderful mini-corona. Poetry. It's an oral art form first.
August 26, 2021
Episode 16: Performance and Catherine Graham's The Red Element.
Part 3 of Chapter 1 in the Other 23 and Half Hours collection in which I discuss the value performing has to poetry, whether at a single reading or on tour. Graham also contributes with her wise approach and her ability to memorize. It's WEDNESDAY!
August 25, 2021
Episode 15: Revision and Hail by Adam Dickinson
Part 2 of Chapter 1 in The other 23 and a Half Hours where I chat about the importance of the ear in making changes to a poem, some thoughts about editorial ideology and then recite the tight sonority of a Dickinson piece. Don't be afraid.
August 24, 2021
Episode 14: Reading from the Other 23 and a Half Hours and a Steve Heighton poem.
This episode begins a 12 or so part series on the sections in my collection The other 23 and a Half Hours or Everything you wanted to know that your MFA didn't teach you (Wolsak & Wynn, 2015). I introduce it, talk about the first part on Reading and feature a poem by Steven Heighton called The Last Reader. Outlaw, there are many paths to poems.
August 23, 2021
Episode 14: Chris Hutchinson interview and the poem Another Trip to the Undersea Kingdom
I chat with Chris in my front yard about renegade sonnets, reckless Can lit behavior, the past in Vancouver and Canada's poetry scene (resonating with the Past Lane homage!), selling art on the streets and the ache for crowds again. Thanks for the engaging ramble! And the listening hibiscus relished it too :)
August 20, 2021
Episode 13: Patrick Lane Homage
Part off the cuff and part read from a little memoir of the days I knew Pat Lane (1939-2019), this is the Season 2 homage episode to a renowned Canadian poet I once had the fortune to work with. I also read The Far Field, a poem from his 1991 book Mortal Remains. And excuse myself first for trying to recall too many titles from memory. Ahhhhh memories. Enjoy this renegade!
August 19, 2021
Episode 12: Philip Levine's They Feed They Lion
A master of anaphora and refrain, listen to Levine speak about the origins of this sonorous political poem and then its recitation. The final piece from the Jorie Graham anthology Earth Took of Earth (1994). And it's a sunny Wednesday.
August 18, 2021
Episode 11: Frank O Hara and The Day Lady Died
A famous piece from Mr Lunch Poems in the Graham anthology. O Hara's compositional style might seem easy to mimic but it isn't. Unlike most Instagram word machines! In remembrance of Billie Holiday.
August 17, 2021
Episode 10: Donald Justice and Poem
It's not addressed to you, this poem. But listen to it anyway! Mr Justice from the Graham anthology. We have a few more from there this week and then, onwards to an homage! Happy rainy Monday.
August 16, 2021
Episode 9: Richard Hugo and the Freaks at Spurgin Road Field
It's Friday the 13th! I speak of the relentless insufficiencies and inevitable ineffabilities of trying to articulate any good poem. Then read a piece about supposed freaks from the Graham anthology. Seems about right.
August 13, 2021
Episode 8: Denise Levertov's The Wings
I start with a Graham quote about the prevalence of water in her anthology selections then discuss and read a piece on wings and a woman's self identity. Enjoy!
August 12, 2021
Episode 7: James Dickey's At Darien Bridge.
Chain gangs? Ghosts? A watery feeling? Is it Wednesday??? Dickey was a tough guy but he wrote some moving poems. Like this one, from the Graham anthology Earth took of Earth. And happy dead birthday Frank who died in 03 at 28.
August 11, 2021
Episode 6: John Berryman Dream Song #29.
O that Henry! We are back to the Graham anthology with Berryman's most enduring and creepy persona poem. Also it's haunting. We all have our own Henrys. Mine's a ravenous squirrel!
August 10, 2021
Episode 5: William Stafford's Traveling through the Dark
This is a Listener's choice poem requested by Andrew Boden. One of my early faves too. Life, it brings so many challenging decisions. Even in my interpretations, I stumble. Happy Monday!
August 09, 2021
Episode 4:ee cummings and Somewhere I Have Never Traveled Gladly Beyond.
How about some good old weird cummings today in his love mode. One apparently not comprehensible by some students! I also talk of the obvious ineffabilities within poetic articulation and read more bits of Graham's anthology intro from which this piece comes. If only YOUR partner was this romantic....right?
August 06, 2021
Episode 3: #510 by Emily Dickinson.
Another gorgeous poem from the Graham anthology in which Ms Emily defines death while remaining elusive. She never fails to stun. Like my mother. Whose birthday it is!
August 05, 2021
Episode 2: Navajo Indian Chant (1794)
The first piece I'll be reading from the Jorie Graham anthology Earth Took of Earth (1996). An oral dance of seasonal rhythm. Recited amid occasional beeps of construction. Shall I pick it up? Shall you?
August 04, 2021
Season Two, Episode One: Inabilities to Concentrate in Things that Make me Go Grrrrr.
Welcome back to my awkward lil podcast of fiercely poetic things! Starting this season with a new random series on aspects of the art world that irk and how this connects to what poets require to make poems. It all began with a Van Gogh exhibit..... enjoy!
August 03, 2021
Episode 80: A Wrap of Season One and The Metal Nest.
It's the final and eightieth episode of Season One that I recorded between March and June of 2021. Here we have a summation of the past 79 episodes, a looking forward to things I might do with Season Two when it gets going again in August and one of my recent poems in notebook form, The Metal Nest, read to do homage to the tenacity of sparrows, an endurance we have all needed this year. See you next season Poetry Outlaws and Word Musicians :)
June 26, 2021
Episode 79: Dennis Lee and On Tuesdays I Polish my Uncle.
Ok I say it's the final episode of Season One but I AM doing an episode 80 tomorrow with a wrap up, a look ahead and a recent poem of mine! This however is the last Dennis Lee piece for now! Such rollicking tongue fun :) And it's a hot Friday.
June 25, 2021
Episode 78: If you should meet by Dennis Lee
Another funny serious poem from Alligator Pie (1974) that tells you how to console nonsensical (or real?) monsters. Happy birthday to Dante who also loves words.
June 24, 2021
Episode 77: Dennis Lee and two poems.
Another children's author three parter where I talk about my love for Dennis Lee's work, especially in Alligator Pie and the early books from the 70s, meeting him as an adult and the way things have become more sadly PC. Then I recite from memory Suzy Grew a Moustache and from the text, In Kamloops. A poem from which I learned Canadian geography. It's Wednesday! And sunny.
June 23, 2021
Episode 76: A LIVE conversation with Paul Pearson!
During my back yard summer series of the 94th street Trobairitz event, local Edmontonian poet Paul Pearson reads his piece Man Ray and the Jewels of Opar and we chat (and laugh. And death-heckle) about the duty to inclusiveness, multiplicities of voice, Pat Lane, how to make a living as a poet (hint. Be rob mclennan ;), the Olive series, growing up in the backwoods and why he doesn't like punctuation or capital letters. All to the accompaniment of birds, beeping construction trucks and the clappings and hootings of the 14 people in attendance. Such fun! It's a beautiful thing.
June 22, 2021
Episode 75: They put a brassiere on the camel by Shel Silverstein.
The last of three Silverstein pieces. It's a little subversive. Our world. So confusedly PC and full of cancellations without context. Alas. Happy Monday! It's the final full week of Season One of the podcast pre my July getaway!!
June 21, 2021
Episode 74: Shel Silverstein and Hippos Hope.
Let's start Friday all hyper-like with a fun sound poem by Shel that gives us options and choices for our actions and decisions in life! I'm gonna fly, myself.
June 18, 2021
Episode 73: Shel Silverstein and Backwards Bill.
The first of three poems I'm reading from the American kids' versifier Shel Silverstein. It's Backwards Bill who acts like the world does today! With a chat about the importance of the imagination and rhyme. And a bonus poem about wavy hair!
June 17, 2021
Episode 72: Alice Major: a conversation!
Today I have a blast in my bird-full garden chatting with the eminent and enjoyable Edmontonian poet Alice Major. She reads a haibun about astronomy, we chat scientific lexicons, the poetry fest, the League of Canadian poets, memory, the importance of community and the validity of being kind. The magpies concur! Join us. It's fun...and educational!
June 16, 2021
Episode 71: PK Page. An homage with T-bar and The Castle.
Today I remember PK Page (1916-2010) whom I met several times in the 90s. I talk her bio, influence, graciousness, her ear, then amid lulling tune interludes I recite one of her famous pieces T-bar from the 50s and a later one, a villanelle, The Castle. Thanks stunning being of language and grace.
June 15, 2021
Episode 70: Karen Moe's question: Poetry and Revolution?
The creator of Vigilance magazine, among many other revolutionary acts, and a long-term art compatriot of mine, Ms Moe asks me what poetry has to do with revolution! Apart from reading the segment from Stephen Spender, I stutter totally off the cuff, in the windy yard, for 10 minutes worth of pondering how revolution does and may not happen through the most lyrical form of language. To thinking!!! Happy Monday.
June 14, 2021
Episode 69: WS Merwin and For the Anniversary of my Death.
The last poem I'm reading from the Milosz anthology The Book of Luminous Things and from the section on Non-Attachment. Merwin is often stunning in his evocation of concepts one may not ever have thought of before. Like death anniversaries. Hey it's Friday. And sunny finally. Enjoy!
June 11, 2021
Episode 68: Sharon Olds and I go back to May 1937.
From the People with People part of the Milosz anthology, recorded on a May day of snow is Olds' piece about her parents and the continuity of generations. It's a bit of a longer one. Enjoy! And yes the snow is long gone in June.
June 10, 2021
Episode 67: Louis Simpson and After Midnight
From the Place section in the Milosz anthology, a defamiliarized piece about an American street at night. Moody. Like the sky today.
June 09, 2021
Episode 66: John Haines and The Train Stops at Healey Fork.
The Travel section of the Milosz anthology and a piece about the ghosts of the iron horse by Mr Haines. We will leave our homes again soon. Even if it's raining.
June 08, 2021
Episode 65: William Carlos Williams and his Red Wheelbarrow.
The secret of a thing section in the Milosz anthology of luminousness and the much discussed Imagist poem The Red Wheelbarrow by DR WCW. The white chickens are everything. Have a jolly Monday.
June 07, 2021
Episode 64: Robert Frost and The Most of It.
It's Friday but I'm still in the nature section of the Milosz anthology. And with Frost crashing through the underbrush. Nature ain't easy.
June 04, 2021
Episode 63: Emily Dickinson and poem number 1026.
Which is a Narrow Fellow in the Grass, her amazing poem about a snake encounter from the Milosz anthology of Luminous Things and the Nature section. Hear the cat purr.
June 03, 2021
Episode 62: Galway Kinnell and Daybreak.
A poem from the Nature section of the Milosz anthology where he celebrates luminous things. Here I stutter (over-coffeed?) a bit through a discussion of Kinnell's beautiful extended metaphor about starfish and stars. Sip sip sip.
June 02, 2021
Episode 61: Czeslaw Milosz anthology poems. Robinson Jeffers' Carmel Point.
In which I begin the reading of a selection of 9 short poems from the 1996 Milosz anthology, The Book of Luminous Things. He was a great poet. He has fairly magnificent taste. This first section is called Epiphany and hey who can't resist another Jeffers poem about Inhumanism and beauty. Happy June.
June 01, 2021
Episode 60: Listener's Choice poem: Girl Dreams by Nancy Jo Cullen.
From her 2002 collection Science Fiction Saint comes Nancy Jo Cullen and her 2 page piece Girl Dreams on binaries and the patriarchy and some guy called Dennis. Requested by the amazing Leslie Greentree! I ramble on but end up saying a few worthwhile tidbits here and there. It's the last day of May :)
May 31, 2021
Episode 59: WB Yeats' The Second Coming
A delightful final classic from Yeats to conclude the We Animals anthology offerings and the Fantasy section. Do we feel this way these ominous approach? Or is it joyous? Either way, Happy Friday.
May 28, 2021
Episode 58: Elizabeth Bishop's The Man Moth.
The first of two final pieces from the We Animals anthology and from the Fantasy section. I manage to ramble on a lot about Bishop's magical and strange piece. Have a creepy Thursday!
May 27, 2021
Episode 57: Wallace Stevens Less and Less Human O Savage Spirit.
From the Communion section in the We Animals anthology. Stevens...was he a savage spirit? A curmudgeon farmer? Or just a brilliant creator of memorable lines that speak to our connections and divisions within nature.
May 26, 2021
Episode 56: James Wright and Two Horses Playing in the Orchard.
From We Animals. Another from the Fraternity section. Horses. Apples. A sense of kinship. My cat Solstice appears. It's the beginning of another week.
May 25, 2021
Episode 55: Robinson Jeffers Animals.
Get a little Fraternity into your Friday with another poem from the We Animals anthology called Animals by one of my deep and abiding faves, the Californian poet Robinson Jeffers who died in 62. Listen to his inhuman majesties!
May 21, 2021
Episode 54: Robert Frost's To Do this to Bird's Song was Why she Came.
Another piece from We Animals by the curmudgeon farmer Robert Frost and his poem about a woman and love and yes Dominion. Is it creepy? It may be! And there are real birds in it!
May 20, 2021
Episode 53: John Hollander's Adam's Task.
The second piece from the We Animals anthology and from the section called Dominion. It's the fun serious auralities of John Hollander's Adam's Task. And it actually snowed yesterday. I can't hear any birds. My dominion over the garden has ceased for now.
May 19, 2021
Episode 52: Wendell Berry's The Peace of Wild Things
A new set of poems from the 1989 anthology ed by Nadya Eisenberg called We Animals: Poems of our World. This Berry piece comes from the first section on reverence. A great way to start your day!
May 18, 2021
Episode 51: An interview with Kelly Shepherd, parts one & two.
Kelly, Edmontonian poet, reads Self Portrait in Fur on my sunny, squirrel and bird frequented patio and we talk a jam packed 40 minutes about environmental poetry, our distaste for certain poetic modes like slam; I mention my loathing for the contrived nature of Mary Oliver and the absurdity of prizes based on relatively bad dead poets. We also talk "career" trajectory in poetry land, chapbooks and the necessity of honouring those poets who have stuck to creating over an extensive period of time. There are some chair creaks and I say YOU KNOW too much but hey this is all a learning process and it's VERY VERY real! Even my cackling ;) Enjoy releasing your conditioning!!
May 17, 2021
Episode 50: Syllabics and Daniel David Moses The Hands
It's Ms Lyric's 50th episode!! In which I fumble through a chat about syllabics. You see I adore rhythm but am awful with numbers! At any rate a fascinating poem and thanks to the editors of the In Fine Form anthology, second edition! Have a jolly Friday :)
May 14, 2021
Episode 49: The Stanza and Earle Birney's From the Hazel Bough.
The second to last form from the In Fine Form anthology that also constructs forms and is, in quite a few senses, the essence of a poem, how the line breaks. I'm interrupted by a phone call but mostly keep my train of thought to read Birney's delightful quatrains in his poem about a lost era.
May 13, 2021
Episode 48: The Palindrome and Pam Galloway's Remembering Autumn.
Another form from the In Fine Form anthology, 2nd Ed. The Palindrome is how one feels on Wednesday, as if one's week could be read backwards or forwards. Nice to feature something from Pam who I've known since I was a teen at the Burnaby Writers Society. Relish the discombobulation!
May 12, 2021
Episode 47: The epigram and Margaret Atwood's You Fit into Me.
The In Fine Form anthology, Second Ed and the Epigram. Short but packed with meaning! Atwood knows how to sucker punch no doubt. I remember the month today and finish the podcast before my partner arrives, chatting on his phone. Yay birds!
May 11, 2021
Episode 46: The Blues and Maureen Hynes Self-Sufficient Blues.
I say it's April but it's May! I also say that the In Fine Form anthology, second and expanded edition came out in 2015 but it was 2016! Apart from that I think I discuss the Blues form with relatively few errors haha and the Hynes poem is a spectacularly modern feminist version of this essential form. It's Monday! Write your own Blues poem :)
May 10, 2021
Episode 45: Listener's Question: What makes a poem good?
A new occasional series in which I aim to offer a few modes of answer to a particular question about poetry. Here I draw on William Carlos Williams famous couplet In a Station of the Metro to discuss the auralities and textures and efforts of a "good" poem. For the highschool teacher Katherine Autio! Who, I hope, is having a Happy Friday.
May 07, 2021
Episode 44: Al Purdy - An Homage and Reading of Two Poems.
In which I talk about Al Purdy (1918-2000), his place in Canlit and my personal encounters with him in the 90s, and the creation of the infamous Purdy podium by my father, Gerald. I also read some teensy lyrics I like of his: Winter at Roblin Lake from Cariboo Horses and Depression in Namu, BC from Sex and Death. Big Al: never to be forgotten.
May 06, 2021
Episode 43: An interview with Diane Tucker, Parts 1 and 2.
Actually these are more like conversations, this one at the Earl's patio on Robson in Vancouver in rainy April during another plague semi-lockdown. She reads the poem "A dream of old Vancouver" and we laugh a lot about our reveries of former glory, talk history, form, Hopkins and I call Di Brandt a "beeyatch" as an editor ;) Read poems Diane says! And relish the madness of poetic chatter too (amid pop soundtracks and the server asking about Happy Hour!)
May 05, 2021
Episode 42: Listener's Choice with Shane Book's They are not Bits of Clockwork.
This poem which I mention IS from 2014 but not from Book's Griffin nominated collection Congotronic was requested by BC poet Geoffrey Nilson. This link takes you to a proper description of Book's varied poetic and political preoccupations in this text As for me, I deal simply with this one dense contortion of an aural poem, roaming through allusiveness and assonance while the birds sing. I also remind high school teachers to please stop pulling poems apart for their "meaning." Enjoy!
May 04, 2021
Episode 41: The Villanelle and Eli Mandel's City Park Merry-Go-Round.
The birds and I bid you a jolly Monday with this Italian form of recurrences from the 2005 In Fine Form anthology, the last poem I'm reading from this edition. The Villanelle, a promising start to any week.
May 03, 2021
Episode 40: The sonnet and George Johnson's Cathleen Sweeping.
Friday's form, the famed sonnet, from the first ed of the In Fine Form anthology, in both Petrarchan and Shakespearean mode in discussion, with a nod to my sonnet collaborations in DOG with Joe Rosenblatt (also chatted about in the Poet on the Road series). And a movingly sweet sonnet about a young girl and her male caregiver who is attached and resists and yields to pure love. I recorded this last week so while it's still sunny, the temperature drop has already happened! The squirrel still hangs out.
April 30, 2021
Episode 39: The Triolet and Elise Partridge's Vuillard Interior.
A 4th form poem, French again, from the first ed of the In Fine Form anthology. And Vuillard Interior from Elise Partridge (RIP), whom I met a few times in Vancouver at varied poetry events and she was always as warm and poised as this triolet.
April 29, 2021
Episode 38: The roundelay and Down by Mark Abley.
Form the third from In Fine Form, ed 1. More French stuff but keeping it on the easier side, repetition-wise. Still, tragic. Enjoy your java!
April 28, 2021
Episode 37: The pantoum and Richard Sanger's Lines in the Sand.
Form the second from the In Fine Form anthology, ed 1, the convoluted yet simple French pantoum. Explaining forms isn't easy! This poem is strangely haunting.
April 27, 2021
Episode 36: The In Fine Form anthology, first ed 2005, and the ghazal.
The new series on the two Canadian In Fine Form anthologies begins (edited by Kate Braid and Sandy Shreve) with one of my fave forms (also addressed in the Poet on the Road podcasts relating to Shall and Frenzy) the ancient Persian ghazal and its contemporary North American version. I call Canadian poet John Thompson the "gateway drug" to the ghazal and recite his ghazal 9 after talking through this fascinating form. Happy Monday!
April 26, 2021
Episode 35: George Macbeth's Owl
The last poem from A. Alvarez and his 1962 The New Poetry Anthology. A lesser known poet now. Who who who is he?? But seriously Happy Friday.
April 23, 2021
Episode 34: Geoffrey Hill's In Piam Memoriam
Second to last piece from the A Alvarez anthology in which I talk against accessibility and ramble forthwith into Hill's form and imagery before reciting the 3 part poem. And it is snowing. Again.
April 22, 2021
Episode 33: Jon Silkin's Dandelion
Ok 3 more poems "this week" from the A Alvarez anthology I say as if it were Monday but it's Wednesday! Also for these last 3 pieces, and perhaps into the future, I am discussing the poem first then just reciting it once. And today I'm dealing with a lesser known poet (because hey MOST of us are) Jon Silkin with his paean/curse to my fave flower. Go Dandelion go!!
April 21, 2021
Episode 32: Thom Gunn's The Feel of Hands.
A further A Alvarez offering, the wonderful poet Thom Gunn and his poem that could literally touch on the difficult beauties of being a gay man in the 50s. Find some of his books. You won't be disappointed.
April 20, 2021
Episode 31: John Wain's The Bad Thing.
Another A Alvarez pick, this time of a now lesser known poet, and his piece about dealing with your depressions. After the first 2 minutes my phone buzzes. I vanish only to return. Phone calls in the middle of podcasts are sort of bad things, but we deal. Happy Monday!
April 19, 2021
Episode 30: Philip Larkin and his poem Wants.
Poem the third from the A Alvarez anthology for your dour Friday ;) Philip Larkin, famed curmudgeon librarian, and his piece "Wants" which tells it like it really is. Drink up that java!
April 16, 2021
Episode 29: Anne Sexton's Old.
Poem 2 from the A Alvarez anthology is the complex angst of Sexton and her poem about being an age she never arrived at. I think we're all feeling nostalgic these days for the berry time in Damariscotta.
April 15, 2021
Episode 28: A Alvarez The New Poetry Anthology and John Berryman.
In which I introduce the 1962 anthology from which I will recite over the next 8 episodes and read and discuss John Berryman's The Song of the Tortured Girl. A jolly way to start your day!!
April 14, 2021
Episode 27: An homage to Anne Marriott and the poem Prairie Graveyard.
The second homage in my series in which I talk about a poet, now deceased, whom I actually encountered, however briefly. And mention the fickleness of fame. The torture of only being able to say NO. And recite what remains.
April 13, 2021
Episode 26: An interview with Heidi Greco.
Who recites her poem "Standing in Heaven with Marilyn Monroe," and answers my three unique questions and two standard ones: talking feelings, craft, BC's Poetry in Transit program, film, and making poetry happen everywhere. She's an old friend. We laugh a lot and someone tries to give me their number in the middle of the interview. It unfolds at St Augustine's on Commercial Drive. So there are trains. Enjoy!
April 12, 2021
Episode 25: Riven and the poem Beseech
The final date of our Poet on the Road tour in which I discuss grief and nature in my book of elegies and aubades that came out in the ill-fated year of 2020 from ECW. And recite Beseech, a poem about the Fraser River. That's it. I'm done with me and what I've done.
April 09, 2021
Episode 24: My 9th poetry book Dear Ghost (2017) and the poem Washing.
Day 9 of Poet on the Road and my most recent Wolsak & Wynn/Buckrider collection, rife with childhood memories, weird stuff and homages to the American poet John Ashbery. I also read a bit of tour journal lore and mention renovating my endings. Join me! I've almost stopped sleeping on your couch.
April 08, 2021
Episode 23: Designated Mourner (2014) and The Spa for Grief.
Day 8 of Poet on the Road where I introduce my book of elegies for my partner Chris (1981-2010), talk form and mourning, read from the tour diary and recite one of the pieces I wrote not long after his death: The Spa for Grief. This was my first collection from ECW. Come on along!
April 07, 2021
Episode 22: Day 7 of Poet on the Road: Trobairitz (2012), Canso 10 and The End of Metal
Trobairitz (my last book with Anvil Press) saw me go on a fairly wild tour that featured much singing and growling. The cover is me playing bass and hairwhirling, courtesy of a photo session with Paul Saturley. Here I discuss the origins of the book, talk muses again, read snippets of my tour journal and recite a canso or medieval lyric poem along with a stupidly humorous prose piece. Horns up!! YAR.
April 06, 2021
Episode 21: Seeing Lessons (2010) and Nearly Impossible, Still.
Poet on the Road continues with my 6th collection of poems, third out from Wolsak & Wynn. In which, in a hard year, I trace the life and work of photographer Mattie Gunterman, read a little from my tour diary in Ontario, recall meeting her ancestors and recite a poem about her death. Hey, it's Monday!
April 05, 2021
Episode 20: Frenzy (2009) and the flood-ghazal.
Part Five of Poet on the Road where I briefly recount how my personal life intertwined with my book tour, talk about Frenzy, my second collection from Anvil Press, and discuss the weirdness of my own concocted fusion form, the flood-ghazal. It's Friday! Come along for the ride!!
April 02, 2021
Episode 19: Cusp/detritus: an experiment in alleyways and the poem Open Letter to a Black Hole.
Day 4 of Poet on the Road in which I discuss my fourth book (and the first one from Anvil Press, 2006), a photographic collaboration with Karen Moe, some of the perils and joys of touring, muses, garbage, the prose poem and read an homage to Frank. The cat joins in. MEOW! Why don't you ;)
April 01, 2021
Episode 18: My third book Shall and two ghazals.
Day three of Poet on the Road in which I chat about my 2006 collection Shall (Wolsak and Wynn) and the ancient Persian ghazal form. What's the difference between the original and translated kind? Should I have written it? Pressing questions. Lead on!
March 31, 2021
Episode 17: Poet on the Road chats about The Wrecks of Eden and recites The Last Canadian Poet?
DAY 2: My second book and my first from Wolsak and Wynn (2001). Mostly on extinct species and Robinson Jeffers. Cool cover. But the piece I recite is for Al Purdy (1918-2000). Join me! The tour is still fresh ;)
March 30, 2021
Episode 16: Part One of Poet on the Road and Somatic: The life and work of Egon Schiele (98)
Day one of being on a 10 day podcast poetry tour in which I gripe a tad about the state of current affairs, introduce my first collection, Somatic from Exile Editions, and its reception and read "Seated Male Nude, 1910." Enjoy the nostalgia!
March 29, 2021
Episode 15: Listener's Choice! Robert P Tristram Coffin's The Spider.
I'd never heard of it. But my neighbour had. Thanks neighbour for this entree into a fascinating forgotten poem and poet from the early-mid twentieth century.
March 26, 2021
Episode 14: O Captain, My Captain by Walt Whitman
The last offering from The Illustrated Poems for Children anthology (1973). I may get a bit ecstatic here and ramble on about the obvious ;) But o the coffee was good!!!
March 25, 2021
Episode 13: Carl Sandburg's A Fence
Second to last poem I'll read from 1973's Illustrated Poems. Those who live here will find my weather report funny so let's just say this one was recorded a few days ago and yes, it's now snowing again! A FENCE may have even more irony than I address and Nothing, the Rain and Tomorrow are all in god-like caps ;)
March 24, 2021
Episode 12: Walter de la Mare's Autumn
Another of the final installments in poems recited from Illustrated Poems 1973. This one is a simple evocation of grief. Though grief is never simple. I don't even mention seasons ;)
March 23, 2021
Episode 11: Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
Monday's poem is a tragic ballad read outside with the collaboration of the birds! O Poe. O Poe.
March 22, 2021
Episode 10: Boy with his Hair Cut Short by Muriel Rukeyser.
Another piece from Illustrated Poems that I presumed was about the Black experience when I was a child as the picture shows it to be so. I still believe the poem relates racial as well as economic disparities. And likely it could also have been written about pre- WW 2 Depression-era job hunting as well though I randomly mention the 40s and 50s here. All these podcasts, after all, are recorded off the cuff, with nil notes, as jazzy thought riffs, in the moment, on the poem at hand.
March 19, 2021
Episode 9: The Tiger by William Blake
Another classic poem from 1973's Illustrated Poems anthology which is read with dramatic fervour and discussed in relation to imagery. Did eye and symmetry rhyme? Is Blake speaking about a good or evil creator? Find out here. Or at least listen to ONE version of where my mind is wandering today.
March 18, 2021
Episode 8: The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll.
Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky is read ferociously on "hump" day (ok it's also St Patty's so this is a kind of snake right?) and discussed in terms of its sounds and how poetry is just that at its core. And yes "gyre" here has a hard G ;) Enjoy!
March 17, 2021
Episode 7: e.e. cummings and his In Just.
In which I tackle the simply joyous but also darkly complex poem by the typographically-rampant and lower case 20th century poet e.e. cummings In Just so we can celebrate the arrivals of spring!
March 16, 2021
Episode 6: A Bird Came Down the Walk by Emily Dickinson.
In which I recite and meander through an exploration of this stirringly ecological 19th century poem. Note I do not mention Dickinson's fascinating punctuation that was constituted of dashes as the version printed in the 1973 Illustrated Poems had, alas, been conventionalized with semi-colons and such like things.
March 15, 2021
Episode 5. When You are Old by W.B. Yeats.
In which I read this piece from the 1973 Illustrated Poems anthology and talk a little about its imagery, form and tone.
March 12, 2021
Episode 4: Homages. Today I celebrate Joe Rosenblatt, Canadian poet, who died March 11 2019.
Joe Rosenblatt was my friend and collaborator and an amazing poet, painter and all around outlaw. Join me as I read his writing philosophy, chat about his life, then recite a poem I wrote for him, one of our collaborative sonnets and finish with his elegiac piece.
March 11, 2021
Episode 3 - William Carlos Williams This is Just to Say.
In which I recite a further piece from the Illustrated Poems and chat about its form and sounds and intent.
March 10, 2021
Episode 2: Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost
Another poem recited and riffingly elaborated on from the Illustrated Poems for Children anthology (1973).
March 09, 2021
Episode 1: A reading of Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Eagle with my riffs of poetic exploration.
In which I begin my readings from Illustrated Poems for Children (1973). In each of these episodes I will read a classic poem from this venerable anthology, riff off it in an explorational manner, and recite it again. This is Alfred, Lord Tennyson's The Eagle. Enjoy!
March 08, 2021
March 7, 2021
March 07, 2021