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February 17, 2020
Jane Mead’s “Substance Abuse Trial” is set in a courtroom where a daughter hears her father’s name mispronounced at his trial. As she watches this, she wishes that the court could see the fullness of her father and his story — to bear witness to him as a human being, defined by much more than his addiction. A question to reflect on after you listen: When was a time when you were judged based on a mistake you made, rather than the fullness of who you are?
February 14, 2020
Ocean Vuong’s poem “Seventh Circle of Earth” is an homage to the love and intimacy shared by Michael Humphrey and Clayton Capshaw, a gay couple who were murdered in their home in Dallas, Texas. In the midst of recognizing the violence and threat LGBTQI communities face, the poem holds space for tenderness — and honors their love. A question to reflect on after you listen: What examples have you seen of love and power enacted, even in the face of threat?
February 10, 2020
Tracy K. Smith’s poem “Song” is filled with observations of a loved person: their habits, the things they do when they think nobody is watching. Love is shown and celebrated in observing the small practices of another. A question to reflect on after you listen: What’s something small and quiet you’ve noticed about a loved one?
February 7, 2020
Marie Howe’s poem “My Mother’s Body” is wise about age. In the poem, Marie’s mother is young enough to be Marie’s own daughter, and in this imagination there is wonder, understanding, and even forgiveness. A question to reflect on after you listen: Are there things that you have found easier to understand — or even forgive — as you’ve gotten older?
February 3, 2020
Faisal Mohyuddin’s poem “Prayer” describes a practice of devotion. It’s a spacious and hospitable poem, filled with references to ritual and the body, and an invitation to share in the warm light of a household lamp. A question to reflect on after you listen: What rituals do you use to anchor yourself?
January 31, 2020
Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s poem “On Listening to Your Teacher Take Attendance” offers a way to ground yourself during vulnerable moments. The poet gathers strength from being loved, which helps her in times of displacement. A question to reflect on after you listen: What stories do you hold on to when you're feeling displaced?
January 27, 2020
Brad Aaron Modlin’s “What You Missed That Day You Were Absent from Fourth Grade” speaks to the feeling that you were never taught important life lessons in school: about embracing the quiet, falling in love with solitude, searching for meaning, and knowing you’re enough. After listening, we invite you to reflect on this question: What life lesson(s) did you learn outside of school?
December 23, 2019
Poetry Unbound features an immersive exploration of a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Short and unhurried; contemplative and energizing. Anchor your week with new episodes on Monday and Friday, beginning January 27. Season one features poetry from a diverse cast of poets: current and former poets laureate Joy Harjo and Tracy K. Smith; T.S. Eliot Prize winner Ocean Vuong; classic poets like Emily Dickinson and Patrick Kavanagh; spoken-word artists like Raymond Antrobus; and more. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Overcast, or wherever you find your podcasts.
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