When we learned that poet Jackson Holbert asked to speak with John Darnielle for this episode, it made so much sense to us. Holbert’s poems in the magazine are simple in construction, but the voice is incredibly distinct. The poems deal with heavy subjects in a way that feels normal, everyday. For those listeners who spent the 90s listening to cassettes of Darnielle’s musical moniker, The Mountain Goats, you know that Darnielle has one of the most deceptively simple and distinct vocal styles you’ll ever encounter.
Holbert and Darnielle discuss everything from Iowa, a shared love of Slipknot, metal, and the physicality of writing. You’ll hear Darnielle read an unreleased lyric for a future song, and read from his latest novel, Universal Harvester. Holbert reads “The Uncle Poem” from the January 2021 issue of Poetry.