April 28, 2017 Edward Hirsch
Edward Hirsch is a poet and "MacArthur genius" who heads up the prestigious Guggenheim Foundation and was most recently the editor of The Best American Poetry 2016. He talks about editing that anthology and his best-selling book for readers called A Poet's Glossary. He also reads from his book The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems.
April 21, 2017 Jo McDougall
Jo McDougall discusses her two recent books of poetry—The Undiscovered Room and In The Home Of The Famous Dead—which explore various aspects of rural life, revealing the influence of the south and the midwest on her work. She also shares stories about her early life on a rice farm in rural Arkansas from her book, Daddy's Money: A Memoir Of Farm And Family. Known for the vivid characters in her poetry, she discusses the importance of being mentored by Miller Williams (the late poet who read at President Clinton's inauguration) and how she's become more philosophical in her recent work.
April 14, 2017 Juan Felipe Herrera
In front of an audience at the Kansas City Public Library, Juan Felipe Herrera, our first Chicano U.S. Poet Laureate (2015-present), reveals how he, as the child of migrant farm workers, found his voice as a poet. Herrera reads from his books, including the 2008 National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Half of the World in Light and his 2015 book, Notes on the Assemblage, as he discusses his use of Spanish and English at the Writers Place 2016 Inaugural William H. Hickok Reading Series. The California-born writer, who has also served as his state's Poet Laureate, gets the audience to participate in reciting his work for both children and adults. A 1992 interview with Juan Felipe Herrera is also available in our Audio Archives.
April 7, 2017 The Augurs: Women of an Age
In ancient Rome, an Augur was thought to be a herald or one who could interpret the natural signs as an indication of divine approval or disapproval of proposed actions. This public poetry reading, recorded in Washington D.C. and sponsored by the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers, features a group of women poets, all over the age of 60, sharing their work, and views on this post-election, America. Eleanor Wilner, Alice Friman, Alicia Ostriker, Michelle Boisseau, Terese Svoboda, Kate Daniels, Robin Becker, and Rosellen Brown read from work that is both poignant and political in The Augurs: Women of an Age.
March 31, 2017 The Cruelest Month
"April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land..." The famous words of poet T.S. Eliot prompted us to mix this anthology of American poets, who examine the mysteries of love in various forms. Listen to former Poets Laureate Billy Collins, Charles Simic, Rita Dove, Donald Hall and Kay Ryan, as well as the current holder of the post Juan Felipe Herrera. We also hear from poets Randall Mann, Debra Marquart, Elizabeth Alexander, and Alberto Rios who offer their poetic insights into the ambiguous and enticing world of love.
March 24, 2017 Sinéad Morrissey
When Sinéad Morrissey won the 2013 T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize for her fifth book, Parallax, that spurred U.S. publisher Farrar, Strauss and Giroux to release her first book in the states that pulls from all five of her award winning collections under the title Parallax: And Selected Poems. In the second half of this conversation, she reads from her more recent books and talks about the influence of Belfast, Ireland, and other poets. Morrissey also discusses how her husband influences her writing and reads her one and only villanelle. The first part of this interview is available in our Audio Archives.
March 17, 2017 Sinéad Morrissey
The first Poet Laureate of Belfast (2013-14), Sinéad Morrissey discusses her formative childhood during "the troubles" in Ireland and some influences for her poetry from gypsy relatives to her travels in China. In the first half of this interview, this author of five award-winning collections of poetry reads from early work in her books There Was Fire in Vancouver, Between Here and There, and The State of the Prisons. Her first book published in the U.S., Parallax: And Selected Poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award. The second part of this interview is available in our Audio Archives.
March 10, 2017 Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill
Though Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill was born in the UK, she was sent to live with her aunt in Ireland at age five. Now considered one of the country's leading poets writing all in Irish, she has won numerous awards for her books of poetry and essays, with her works translated into English by the likes of The New Yorker's Paul Muldoon. She reads from her poetry books The Fifty Minute Mermaid and The Water Horse and shares a piece from her Selected Essays as well as talks about her fight to gain recognition in her early career and the influence of Irish lore and landscape on her writing.
March 3, 2017 The World Is One Place
Writers Diane Glancy and Linda Rodriguez discuss co-editing the anthology The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East. The pair, who both have Cherokee ancestry, discuss their interest in the parallels between Native peoples of the US and the Middle East. Glancy, who visited Syria and Jordan as an Arts America Speaker for the United States Information Agency in the early 1990s, shares some of her poetry in the book and how she was compelled to write more after the start of the Syrian Civil War. She also inspired Rodriguez to write the essay that ends the poetry collection. Joined by BkMk Press Editor Ben Furnish, they reveal the impetus behind this anthology of Native American poets. An earlier program featuring some of the contributing poets reading from this collection can be found in our Audio Archives.
February 24, 2017 Al Young
In the second half of our conversation with two time American Book Award-winning poet Al Young, he shares more from his book Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry as well as a couple of poems included in his earlier books Coastal Nights and Inland Afternoons: Poems 2001-2006 and The Sound of Dreams Remembered: Poems 1990-2000. Young also talks about his tenure as the California State Poet Laureate and reads his poem that was included in The Best American Poetry 2016. The first part of this interview with Al Young is available in our Audio Archives.
February 17, 2017 Al Young
Former California Poet Laureate (2005-2008) Al Young has penned 25 books, won two American Book Awards, and was recently included in The Best American Poetry 2016. In the first half of our conversation, he discusses how his family and childhood in Mississippi shaped some of his writing which includes poetry, memoir, and fiction. He talks about his many inspirations, especially music, and reads from his book Something About the Blues: An Unlikely Collection of Poetry. The second part of this interview with Al Young is available in our Audio Archives.
Kansas City Literary Events