184 episodes

Short and unhurried, Poetry Unbound is an immersive exploration of a single poem, hosted by Pádraig Ó Tuama.

Pádraig Ó Tuama greets you at the doorways of brilliant poems and walks you through — each one has wisdom to offer and questions to ask you.

Already a listener? There’s also a book (Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World), a Substack newsletter with a vibrant conversation in the comments, and occasional gatherings.

Poetry Unbound On Being Studios

    • Arts
    • 4.9 • 243 Ratings

Short and unhurried, Poetry Unbound is an immersive exploration of a single poem, hosted by Pádraig Ó Tuama.

Pádraig Ó Tuama greets you at the doorways of brilliant poems and walks you through — each one has wisdom to offer and questions to ask you.

Already a listener? There’s also a book (Poetry Unbound: 50 Poems to Open Your World), a Substack newsletter with a vibrant conversation in the comments, and occasional gatherings.

    Closing: Poems as Teachers (ft. Kai Cheng Thom) | Ep 7

    Closing: Poems as Teachers (ft. Kai Cheng Thom) | Ep 7

    In this concluding episode of "Poems as Teachers," our special miniseries on conflict and the human condition, host Pádraig Ó Tuama says the poems discussed in this offering are a different kind of teacher: “not as teachers that give us rules to follow — more so teachers that share something of their own intuition.” And for a final reflection, he offers Kai Cheng Thom’s “trauma is not sacred,” which speaks directly, fiercely, and lovingly to the pain, scars, and violence that we humans carry and inflict upon one another.

    • 12 min
    Yehuda Amichai — Poems as Teachers | Ep 6

    Yehuda Amichai — Poems as Teachers | Ep 6

    Being right may feel good, but what human price do we pay for this feeling of rightness? Yehuda Amichai’s poem “The Place Where We Are Right,” translated by Stephen Mitchell, asks us to answer this question, consider how doubt and love might expand and enrich our perspective, and reflect upon the buried and not-so-buried ruins of past conflicts, arguments, and wounds that still call for our attention.

    • 14 min
    Jericho Brown — Poems as Teachers | Ep 5

    Jericho Brown — Poems as Teachers | Ep 5

    In “Hebrews 13” by Jericho Brown, a narrator says: “my lover and my brother both knocked at my door.” The heat is turned on, scalding coffee is offered and hastily swallowed, and silence is the soundtrack. What an exquisitely awkward triangle it is, and what a human, beautiful, and loving shape that can be.

    • 13 min
    Mosab Abu Toha — Poems as Teachers | Ep 4

    Mosab Abu Toha — Poems as Teachers | Ep 4

    In Mosab Abu Toha’s “Ibrahim Abu Lughod and brother in Yaffa,” two barefoot siblings on a beach sketch out a map of their former home in the sand and argue about what went where. Their longing for return to a place of hospitality, family, memory, friends, and even strangers is alive and tender to the touch.

    • 16 min
    Constantine P. Cavafy — Poems as Teachers | Ep 3

    Constantine P. Cavafy — Poems as Teachers | Ep 3

    We ask questions to find out the facts, but what if you can’t trust the answers, the questions, or the person who's asking the questions? In Constantine P. Cavafy’s “Waiting for the Barbarians,” translated by Evan Jones, leaders exercise a sinister kind of violence — they’ve taken over people’s imaginations with showy displays of wealth and privilege, time-wasting ceremony, and fear coursing beneath it all.

    • 17 min
    Joy Harjo — Poems as Teachers | Ep 2

    Joy Harjo — Poems as Teachers | Ep 2

    As appealing as it may sound, is it really possible to live in a world completely free of conflict? No. And since differences and disagreements are inevitable and natural, Joy Harjo gives ground rules in “Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings.” Her call to us echoes across time and space — a call to listen, to humility, to justice, and to recognizing the land, the living, the dead, the not-yet-living.

    • 17 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
243 Ratings

243 Ratings

Tina's not here ,

First time I’ve felt moved to review a podcast unbidden by the host

I was so moved by the episode on Joy Harjo’s ‘Conflict Resolution for Holy People. ‘ such a delicate and nuanced response and reading of this poem. Both healing and a call to arms. Thankyou

Jak Jordan ,

Return

I am so happy you have returned!

Jackyrum ,

Poetry unbound

If you like poetry of all kinds, you will love this. It is like a 15 minute meditation on a poem. The poem is beautifully interpreted and explored by Padraig and it is read twice- once at the beginning and once at the end. Very thought provoking. I bought the book and gave to ration myself to go slow! Can’t wait for the new series

Top Podcasts In Arts

Glad We Had This Chat with Caroline Hirons
Wall to Wall Media
Dish
S:E Creative Studio
Table Manners with Jessie and Lennie Ware
Jessie Ware
Would you rather? It is what it is
Sean James
Frank Skinner's Poetry Podcast
Bauer Media
The Archers Omnibus
BBC Radio 4

You Might Also Like

On Being with Krista Tippett
On Being Studios
The Slowdown: Poetry & Reflection Daily
American Public Media
The New Yorker: Poetry
WNYC Studios and The New Yorker
Poetry Off the Shelf
Poetry Foundation
Audio Poem of the Day
Poetry Foundation
House Calls with Dr. Vivek Murthy
Office of the U.S. Surgeon General

More by On Being Studios

On Being with Krista Tippett
On Being Studios
Becoming Wise
On Being Studios
This Movie Changed Me
On Being Studios
Creating Our Own Lives
On Being Studios