May 26, 2017 William Trowbridge
Missouri Poet Laureate (2012-2016), William Trowbridge is the third person appointed since the creation of the position in 2007. In this reading at Rockhurst University's 2014 Midwest Poets Series, Trowbridge reads poems from his numerous books that are now included in his collection of new and selected poems, Put This On, Please. He shares his "Unofficial Missouri Poem" as well as his nod to Gwendolyn Brooks with his poem "We Real Old," and reads works about his childhood, his father, and his own parenting experiences. Trowbridge, who also published three new poems in New Letters (Vol. 83, Nos. 2 & 3) discusses his previous collections of poetry in this 2011 interview.
May 19, 2017 Dave Smith
This conversation with Dave Smith, the author of more than 20 books of poetry, essays, memoir and fiction, is the second half of this interview recorded as part of the Midwest Poets Series. He talks about the importance of elegiac poetry and the influence of other poets on his work. Smith illustrates how writing poetry has allowed him to recover long forgotten memories by reading from his book The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems, 1970-2000. He also reads from his essay collection, Hunting Men: Reflections on a Life in American Poetry and from his essay included in the 80th anniversary edition of New Lettersmagazine.
May 12, 2017 Bianca Stone
Poet and visual artist Bianca Stone talks about her various projects, from her first full length book Someone Else's Wedding Vows to her 2016 illustrated collection, Poetry Comics from the Book of Hours, and reveals how she uses her visual art to create a new interpretation of the work rather than simply illustrate the narrative of the poem. Stone also discusses her collaboration with poet Anne Carson to release an illustrated translation of Sophocles' Antigonick, as well as the inspiration she draws from past poets, including her grandmother, the late Ruth Stone, and the foundation she chairs to preserve her work and ensure a writing space for single mothers.
May 5, 2017 Diane Williams
Coming of age in the 1960s, Diane Williams struggled to be taken seriously as a writer and editor in the male dominated era. Now, a three time winner of the Pushcart Prize of Fiction, she is the author of numerous books, and the editor of the acclaimed literary journal Noon. In this live reading, she discusses her book of short fiction titled, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine, Fine.
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.
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