Poetry Off the Shelf

By Poetry Foundation

Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.

Category: Books

Open in Apple Podcasts

Open RSS feed

Open Website

Rate for this podcast

Subscribers: 483
Reviews: 1

 Jan 8, 2020


Producer Helena de Groot talks to poets about language, dreams, love and loss, identity, connection, anger, discomfort, the creative process, the state of the world and the world of the soul. Hard conversations are welcomed—laughter is, too.

Episode Date
The Land Is the Center

Noʻu Revilla on ancestral history in newspapers, ocean consciousness, and how to be a guest.

Sep 20, 2022
Remember Every Ginseng Seed

Chelsea Harlan on knowledge, creaturehood, and the quest for her mother’s secret sadness.

Sep 06, 2022
Before We Return to Dust

André Naffis-Sahely on desert sand, rootlessness, and the long shadow of fascism.

Aug 23, 2022
The Future Trembles

Elisa Gabbert on commitment, boredom, and the poem as theater. 

Aug 09, 2022
Trickster God

Saeed Jones on accuracy, being funny, and creating what we need.

Jul 26, 2022
The Healing Brush

Chantal Gibson on ancestors, laundry, and Frantz Fanon for beginners.

Jul 14, 2022
Yelling Down the Phone

Nina Mingya Powles on muscle memory, Haka tutorials, and the shock of home.

Jun 28, 2022
Telling the Truth

Niina Pollari on sunflowers, redemption, and the most depressing phone note in the world.

Jun 14, 2022
Team Mystery

Victoria Chang on bonsai trees, witticisms, and the wisdom of not giving a crap.

May 31, 2022
All There Is

Tom Sleigh about his romance with experience, fancy jackets, and one last visit to the dog beach.

May 17, 2022
The Neverending Quest

Sylvie Kandé and her translator Alexander Dickow on the courage of migrants, the limits of language, and an epic without a nation.

May 03, 2022
The Body You Control

Kim Moore on playing the trumpet, misogyny, and the men we love.

Apr 19, 2022
Pushing the Ear

Tommye Blount on transformation, Kids Incorporate, and the joy of drowning in diction.

Apr 05, 2022
Blossoms in Ukraine

Oksana Maksymchuk and Oksana Lutsyshyna on life as a refugee, the God of comfort, and the deep roots of the war.

Mar 22, 2022
Listen for My Name

Julie Enszer and Elena Gross on community care, the AIDS epidemic, and OutWrite, the conference that shaped queer literary history.

Mar 08, 2022
Ghost Diplomat

Hoa Nguyen on photographs, her mother's past with the motorcycle circus, and the quiet ways to talk to ghosts.

Feb 22, 2022
My Body, My Stones

Poet and playwright Malcolm Tariq on listening, field trips with his brother, and the perils of dating while Black.

Feb 08, 2022
The Big Hollow

Kaveh Akbar on human wondering, fat squirrels, and the best spouse in the world.

Jan 25, 2022
A Little Wrong

Bianca Stone on family trauma, wrinkled towels, and the case against self-improvement.

Jan 10, 2022
Poets We Lost in 2021

Remembering the life, poetry, and activism of Janice Mirikitani, plus a few words on love by bell hooks.

Dec 21, 2021
Bird in a Drawer

Keats Conley on smelly ducks, spiders, and the limits of the human perspective.

Dec 07, 2021
How to Be a Family of One

Steven Espada Dawson on possibility, toothpaste, and the grief of cosmic aloneness.

Nov 23, 2021
Heart of a Reporter

Noor Hindi on home ownership, evictions court, and her father's grief.

Nov 09, 2021
A History with Holes

Clint Smith on being human, healing on a plantation, and the difference between Jefferson and Grant.

Oct 26, 2021
My Drowning Home

Isabel Duarte-Gray on town gossip, folk remedies, and the music of Kentucky.

Oct 13, 2021
When Time is Kind

Poet and priest Spencer Reece on his cousin's murder, the AIDS epidemic, and bearing witness to a moment.

Sep 28, 2021
Technically Roommates

Chen Chen on nourishment, homophobia, and breaking free of the fear of failure.

Sep 14, 2021
Leaving and Loving Afghanistan

Zohra Saed on cooking, culture, and the volunteer-led rescue operation to get Afghans to safety.

Aug 31, 2021
Dante for Today

Mary Jo Bang on her 15-year long translation effort to remake Dante’s Divine Comedy for the modern ear. 

Aug 10, 2021
My Imagined Incoherence

Tracy Fuad on Yelp reviews, mortality, and the weather in her mind.

Jul 27, 2021
The Final Girl

torrin a. greathouse on public transport, horror, and the love of a chosen family.

Jul 13, 2021
Parents in a Poem

Raymond Antrobus on forgiving his dad, becoming a father, and poetry dubs on late-night BBC.

Jun 29, 2021
Patterns of Memory

Natasha Trethewey on writing a memoir about her mother’s life and murder.

Jun 15, 2021
Not My Face in the Mirror

Vievee Francis (part 2) on beauty in a racist world.

Jun 01, 2021
Salvation in the Dark

Vievee Francis on dark corners, an encounter with a bear, and the promise of the north.

May 18, 2021
A Sea of Rhythm

Translator Emily Drumsta geeks out about the poetic patterns in the work of Iraqi modernist Nazik al Mala'ika.

May 04, 2021
Wild at the Root

Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison on Gmail poems, pot roast, and the legacy of pain.

Apr 20, 2021
The Light is Going Out

Famous Polish poet Adam Zagajewski remembered by friend and Translator Clare Cavanagh.

Apr 06, 2021
A Room of Our Own

Cornelius Eady on Sterling Brown’s South: his porch, banter, and barbershop.

Mar 23, 2021
Save Everything

Kimiko Hahn on tie-dying on the stove, puns, and her father's things.

Mar 09, 2021
The Landscape Within

C. Dale Young on sugar cane fields, his favorite saint, and the machinations of the mind.

Feb 23, 2021
This Is a River

Poet and founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River Lewis MacAdams, in the words of his friend Kevin Opstedal.

Feb 09, 2021
Mad at the Right People

Hafizah Geter on shelves full of Black writers, forgiveness, and knowing your history.

Jan 26, 2021
You Get Proud by Practicing

Meg Day on the poetry and activism of the late Laura Hershey, lip reading in a masked world, and the joy of connection.

Jan 12, 2021
Keep Going

A look back at the early days of the pandemic—eight poets about Zoom calls, the egg shortage, and being stranded abroad.

Jan 12, 2021
Poverty’s History, Episode 2: Let the People Speak

How a Victorian and a Harlem Renaissance poet struggled with poverty and the publishing world—while facing racism and classism—to become widely read and legends to us. Featuring interviews with experts Dr. Gene Jarrett, Dr. Tara Betts, Dr. Elizabeth McHenry, Dr. Joe Trotter, and Dr. R. Baxter Miller.

Dec 15, 2020
Elegies for the Future

Lilly Rosenberg Fellowship winner Khaty Xiong on intergenerational trauma, a chicken's neck, and the long wave of grief.

Dec 01, 2020
Creatures of Giving

Lilly Rosenberg Fellowship winner Luther Hughes on crows, processing trauma, and the allure of the wind.

Nov 17, 2020
Start with One Thread

Alexandria Hall on farm sounds, solo time, and the way into a difficult poem.

Nov 03, 2020
A Practice of Care

EJ Koh on distance, broken English, and writing poems that forgive.

Oct 20, 2020
Better Broken Than Whole

Will Harris on mixedness, intimacy, and the music of difficult poems.

Oct 06, 2020
No Place Like Home

Camille Dungy on words, home, and motherhood in times of climate collapse.

Sep 22, 2020
Words in the Attic

Joy Ladin on the failures of language, courage, and the trans parable of Jonah and the Whale.

Sep 08, 2020
Heroes History Forgets

Remembering Irish poet Eavan Boland, with her friends Jody Allen Randolph and Paula Meehan.

Aug 25, 2020
I Love You, Wanda

Terrance Hayes on Wanda Coleman.

Note from Terrance Hayes: “I cancelled this interview about Wanda Coleman’s work after signing the Poetry Foundation Petition. When the Foundation President and Board chair resigned, I decided to resume the interview believing the actions an indication of the PF’s willingness to change. Though I’m not yet quite convinced I should resume submitting my own poems to the magazine, I hope this interview represents  a willingness to remain in dialogue as PF rises to meet the other demands and challenges. Do check out the work of Wanda Coleman."

To learn more: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/LetterOfCommitment

Aug 11, 2020
The Bureau Under Your Bed

Interrogating the government’s half century of surveillance of Black writers.

Jul 21, 2020
Empire State of Mind

Take a walk through post-WWI Paris in this recently reissued Modernist epic.

Jul 07, 2020
The Fire This Time

Gwendolyn Brooks, Elizabeth Alexander, and Haki Madhubuti on Americas perennial struggle to recognize that Black Lives Matter.

Jun 03, 2020
I Come From Love

Nikky Finney on her father, her childhood, and the memories that made her.

May 26, 2020
Phillis Reimagined

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers on listening to her ancestors.

May 12, 2020
Poverty’s History, Episode 1: In the Beginning Was the Word

The first installment of a special series about the intersections between poetry and poverty.

Apr 29, 2020
The Invention of the Self

Peter Murphy on a 16th-century poem that still speaks to us today.

Apr 14, 2020
Our New Reality

Quarantined with kids, Zoom chats, and stranded abroad: eight poets on what life is like for them these days.

Mar 31, 2020
Poems You Can Touch

Dorianne Laux on her favorite shirt, ugly California, and bringing her mother back to life.

Mar 17, 2020
The Eternal Present

Biographer Jonathan Blunk on the life and longing of James Wright.

Mar 03, 2020
The Sovereign Poet

Layli Long Soldier on the sacred and the useful.

Feb 18, 2020
The Truth Sometimes Rhymes

Jericho Brown wants to make rebellious art.

Feb 04, 2020
Fragments from the Future

Brenda Shaughnessy stares her fears in the face.

Jan 21, 2020
Dreams and Fathers

Bruce Beasley on his writing process, and on how fathers might be like warm ice cubes.

Jan 07, 2020
Poets We Lost This Year

Timothy Liu remembers the life and work of his friend Linda Gregg, plus readings by Marie Ponsot and W.S. Merwin.

Dec 18, 2019
The Point of Poetry

Matthew Zapruder on dreams, silence, and smoking with Brodsky.

Dec 03, 2019
How to Triumph Like a Girl

Ada Limón is done with hiding in poems.

Nov 19, 2019
A Presence in the Sky

Fanny Howe gives away the secret to being cavalier and brave.

Nov 05, 2019
The Garden We Share

Ross Gay finds joy in life that outlives us.

Oct 22, 2019
After Fear and Raging

Toi Derricotte on feeling part of something bigger.

Oct 01, 2019
Hope in Odd Places

Sally Wen Mao reanimates the past.

Sep 10, 2019
Back to School

Two teachers on life through children's eyes.

Aug 27, 2019
What Happened to House Calls?

The healthcare industry through the eyes of two doctor-poets.

Aug 13, 2019
Lichen Doesn't Die

Forrest Gander talks about love, loss, and the remarkable properties of lichen.

Jul 23, 2019
The Young People's Poet Laureate

Naomi Shihab Nye talks about a trunk full of treasures, childhood in Palestine, and her grandson's poetic bone.

Jul 02, 2019
Speaking for the Country

A look into the various approaches to the U.S. poet laureate position.

Jun 18, 2019
Whitman and our Warming World

On Whitman's bicentennial, a contemporary poet finds a Whitmanic kinship with wonder, language, and the environment.

Jun 04, 2019
The Past Talks Back

Marilyn Nelson's poetic legacy, through the eyes of one of her many protégés, Tyehimba Jess.

May 21, 2019
The Language of Ramadan

Two Muslim American poets discuss the intersections between poetry and Ramadan.

May 07, 2019
What You Have Heard is True

Carolyn Forché discusses her memoir of the same title, about her time in pre-civil war El Salvador in the late 1970s.

Apr 23, 2019
The Populist Soviet Poet

The life and legacy of Vladimir Mayakovsky.

Apr 02, 2019
The Poetry of Jean Valentine

Reading a trailblazing second-wave feminist poet.

Mar 19, 2019
A Change of World documentary: Poetry and the Women's Movement

Meryl Streep narrates our hour-long radio documentary special about how the Women’s Movement changed poetry, and how women poets changed the culture.

Mar 01, 2019
The Poet and the Riot

Shortly after Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968, Gwendolyn Brooks wrote a poem about the power of riots.

Feb 19, 2019
Some Love Poems for Your Sweetie

Poems in time for Valentine's Day.

Feb 05, 2019
100 Years of Robert Duncan

A look into Duncan's poems on the centenary of his birth.

Jan 22, 2019
Drinking in Poetry

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of Prohibition in the U.S., we discuss drinking poems over a few cocktails.

Jan 08, 2019
Poets We Lost in 2018

Remembering and listening to those who died this year.

Dec 25, 2018
100 Years of Hopkins

The centenary of the first volume by Gerard Manley Hopkins, the Jesuit Victorian experimentalist was posthumously published among the Modernists.

Dec 11, 2018
A Break from it All

Looking back in a meditative mood around Thanksgiving.

Nov 20, 2018
The Poetry of Politics

Poetry's possible liberty or obligations in the wake of the US midterm elections.

Nov 13, 2018
Poetry and/or Advertising

What copywriting and poetry have in common.

Oct 30, 2018
Poetry Rituals

Exploring exercises to be more present in your life and writing.

Oct 16, 2018
The Past is Present

Rereading the great modern Greek poet C.P. Cavafy.

Oct 02, 2018