91 episodes

The Poetry Exchange talks to people about the poem that has been a friend to them. In each episode you will hear our guest talking about their chosen poem and the part it has played in their life, as well as a recording of the poem that we make as a gift for them. Our podcast features conversations with people from all walks of life, as well as a range of special guests. Join us to discover the power of poetry in people’s lives. Silver Award Winner for Most Original Podcast at the British Podcast Awards 2018.
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The Poetry Exchange The Poetry Exchange

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 55 Ratings

The Poetry Exchange talks to people about the poem that has been a friend to them. In each episode you will hear our guest talking about their chosen poem and the part it has played in their life, as well as a recording of the poem that we make as a gift for them. Our podcast features conversations with people from all walks of life, as well as a range of special guests. Join us to discover the power of poetry in people’s lives. Silver Award Winner for Most Original Podcast at the British Podcast Awards 2018.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    91. The Domestic Science of Sunday Dinner by Lorna Goodison - A Friend to Malika Booker

    91. The Domestic Science of Sunday Dinner by Lorna Goodison - A Friend to Malika Booker

    In this episode of The Poetry Exchange, we talk with one of poetry's greatest leading lights, Malika Booker, about the poem that has been a friend to her: ‘The Domestic Science of Sunday Dinner’ by Lorna Goodison.
    Malika Booker, currently based in Leeds, is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, a British poet of Guyanese and Grenadian Parentage, and co-founder of Malika’s Poetry Kitchen (A writer’s collective). Her pamphlet Breadfruit, (flippedeye, 2007) received a Poetry Society recommendation and her poetry collection Pepper Seed (Peepal Tree Press, 2013) was shortlisted for the OCM Bocas prize and the Seamus Heaney Centre 2014 prize for first full collection. She is published with the Poets Sharon Olds and Warsan Shire in The Penguin Modern Poet Series 3: Your Family: Your Body (2017). A Cave Canem Fellow, and inaugural Poet in Residence at The Royal Shakespeare Company, Malika was awarded the Cholmondeley Award (2019) for outstanding contribution to poetry and elected a Royal Society of Literature Fellow (2022).
    Malika has won the Forward Prize for Best Single Poem TWICE: in 2020 for 'The Little Miracles' (Magma, 2019), and most recently in 2023 for 'Libation', which you can hear her read in this episode.
    'Libation' was first published in The Poetry Review (112:4).
    ‘The Domestic Science of Sunday Dinner’ by Lorna Goodison is published in Turn Thanks by Lorna Goodison, University of Illinois Press, 1999.
    You can read the full text of ‘The Domestic Science of Sunday Dinner’ on our website.
    This episode closes with a reading of the poem 'Su Casa' by Andrea Witzke Slot, published in her collection 'The Ministry of Flowers' (Valley Press, 2020).
    P.S. don’t forget you can pre-order your copy of Poems as Friends – The Poetry Exchange 10th Anniversary Anthology – which is published by Quercus Editions on 9th May 2024.

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    • 27 min
    90. Dis Poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah - A Friend to Roy McFarlane

    90. Dis Poetry by Benjamin Zephaniah - A Friend to Roy McFarlane

    READ A TRANSCRIPT OF THIS EPISODE.
    In this special episode, we honour the poetry legend that is Benjamin Zephaniah by sharing this conversation with poet Roy McFarlane, talking about 'Dis Poetry' and the hugely influential part Benjamin Zephaniah has played in Roy's life.
    Roy McFarlane is a poet born in Birmingham of Jamaican parentage. He has held the roles of Birmingham’s Poet Laureate, Starbucks’ Poet in Residence and Birmingham & Midland Institute’s Poet in Residence. He has three collections published by Nine Arches Press: Beginning With Your Last Breath (2016); The Healing Next Time (2018), which was shortlisted for the Ted Hughes Award, and Living By Troubled Waters (2022). In 2023, Roy McFarlane was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
    Benjamin Obadiah Iqbal Zephaniah (15 April 1958 – 7 December 2023) was a British writer, dub poet, actor, musician and professor of poetry and creative writing. He was included in The Times’ list of Britain's top 50 post-war writers in 2008 and was probably the most televised poet of his generation in the UK. His down-to-earth mission to take poetry wherever he could – and especially to those who would not normally read it – led him to being known to millions as ‘The People’s Poet. Zephaniah was revolutionary in bringing his Jamaican voice, speech and heritage into poetry – both on the page and in performance – opening up doors for many poets to come. A lifelong activist, Zephaniah’s wrote about his lived experiences of incarceration and racism, and was a radical voice for freedom, equality and humanity around the world.  
    The recording of 'Dis Poetry', performed by Benjamin Zephaniah, is taken from To Do Wid Me - a 2013 film portrait of Benjamin Zephaniah by Pamela Robertson-Pearce drawing on both live performances and informal interviews. The film and accompanying Selected Poems are available from Bloodaxe Books: https://www.bloodaxebooks.com/ecs/product/to-do-wid-me-dvd-book--1038.
    Roy McFarlane's extraordinary poem 'In the city of a hundred tongues' is taken from his collection The Healing Next Time, published by Nine Arches Press in 2018.
    Roy McFarlane is in conversation with Fiona Bennett and Michael Shaeffer.
    *********
    Dis Poetry
    by Benjamin Zephaniah
    Dis poetry is like a riddim dat drops
    De tongue fires a riddim dat shoots like shots
    Dis poetry is designed fe rantin
    Dance hall style, big mouth chanting,
    Dis poetry nar put yu to sleep
    Preaching follow me
    Like yu is blind sheep,
    Dis poetry is not Party Political
    Not designed fe dose who are critical.
    Dis poetry is wid me when I gu to me bed
    It gets into me dreadlocks
    It lingers around me head
    Dis poetry goes wid me as I pedal me bike
    I've tried Shakespeare, respect due dere
    But did is de stuff I like.
    Read the full poem on our website.

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    • 33 min
    89. The Thrush by Edward Thomas - A Friend to Simon Crompton

    89. The Thrush by Edward Thomas - A Friend to Simon Crompton

    READ A TRANSCRIPT OF THIS EPISODE.
    In this very special episode of The Poetry Exchange podcast, journalist, writer and editor Simon Crompton talks about the poem that has been a friend to him: 'The Thrush' by Edward Thomas.
    This episode is dedicated to a dear friend of Simon and of The Poetry Exchange - the extraordinary Martin Heaney - who sadly died at the end of 2023. Martin has been a touchstone of The Poetry Exchange from the outset, bringing his deep passion for poetry and his belief in the central importance of friendship to our lives to our work over the years. We are eternally grateful to Martin for being such a beautiful, inspirational and joyful friend.
    Simon Crompton is a journalist, writer, editor and communications consultant specialising in health and social affairs. He wrote for The Times for over 20 years, also working as the health editor of the newspaper’s Body&Soul section. He has edited many publications in the fields of health and social work and contributes regularly to the international Cancer World magazine. Throughout his career he has provided consultancy to a wide range of voluntary and statutory organisations working for patient and public welfare. Having written three non-fiction books, he is now focusing on writing fiction.
    Martin Heaney's podcast is Chatty Guy Talks Cancer Care and Hope (you can hear Martin in conversation with Simon Crompton on one of the early episodes).
    You can listen to Martin talk about the poem that's been a friend to him - The Lake Isle of Innisfree by W. B. Yeats - in this episode of The Poetry Exchange.
    At the end of the episode, we share a recording of Martin reading 'Sometimes all it takes' by Gill McEvoy. We are very grateful to Gill for allowing us to share this beautiful poem. Gill McEvoy's Selected Poems is published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press in February 2024.
    Thank you to Simon for such a beautiful converastion, to Martin for all the inspiration, and to all of you for listening.
    *********
    The Thrush
    by Edward Thomas
    When Winter's ahead,
    What can you read in November
    That you read in April
    When Winter's dead?
     
    I hear the thrush, and I see
    Him alone at the end of the lane
    Near the bare poplar's tip,
    Singing continuously.
     
    Is it more that you know
    Than that, even as in April,
    So in November,
    Winter is gone that must go?
     
    Or is all your lore
    Not to call November November,
    And April April,
    And Winter Winter—no more?
     
    But I know the months all,
    And their sweet names, April,
    May and June and October,
    As you call and call
     
    I must remember
    What died into April
    And consider what will be born
    Of a fair November;
     
    And April I love for what
    It was born of, and November
    For what it will die in,
    What they are and what they are not,
     
    While you love what is kind,
    What you can sing in
    And love and forget in
    All that's ahead and behind.


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    • 27 min
    88. REVISITED: Love by George Herbert - A Friend to Andrew Scott

    88. REVISITED: Love by George Herbert - A Friend to Andrew Scott

    In this episode of The Poetry Exchange, we listen back to one of our previous conversations - with the extraordinary actor Andrew Scott, talking about the poem that's been a friend to him: 'Love (III)' by George Herbert.
    As 2023 draws to a close, this is the poem and conversation we want to lift up for you all...
    We are incredibly grateful to Andrew Scott for joining us back in 2018 to talk so openly and eloquently about this poem and the part it has played in his life.
    Thank you for all your support and for sharing a love of poetry with us during 2023.
    With love from Fiona, Michael and all of us at The Poetry Exchange
    *********
    Love (III)
    by George Herbert
    Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back,
    Guilty of dust and sin.
    But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
    From my first entrance in,
    Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
    If I lacked anything.
    ‘A guest,’ I answered, ‘worthy to be here.’
    Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
    ‘I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
    I cannot look on thee.’
    Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
    ‘Who made the eyes but I?’
    ‘Truth Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
    Go where it doth deserve.’
    ‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘who bore the blame?’
    ‘My dear, then I will serve.’
    ‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat:’
    So I did sit and eat.

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    • 30 min
    87. Ceasefire by Michael Longley - A Friend to Jacqueline Saphra

    87. Ceasefire by Michael Longley - A Friend to Jacqueline Saphra

    READ TRANSCRIPT
    In this episode, poet, playwright, teacher and activist Jacqueline Saphra talks to us about the poem that has been a friend to her: 'Ceasefire' by Michael Longley.
    We are so grateful to Jacqueline for joining us at this time, to talk about this beautiful poem and the part it has played in her life.
    Jacqueline Saphra is a poet, playwright, teacher and activist. She is the author of nine plays, five chapbooks and five poetry collections. The Kitchen of Lovely Contraptions (flipped eye) was shortlisted for the Aldeburgh First Collection Prize and If I Lay on my Back I Saw Nothing But Naked Women (The Emma Press) won Best Collaborative Work at The Sabotage Awards. Recent collections from Nine Arches Press are All My Mad Mothers (shortlisted for the T.S. Eliot Prize), Dad, Remember You are Dead and One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets. Jacqueline is a founder member of Poets for the Planet and teaches at The Poetry School. Her latest collection, Velvel's Violin (Nine Arches Press, 2023) is a Poetry Book Society Recommendation.
    Jacqueline is in conversation with The Poetry Exchange hosts, Fiona Bennett and Michael Shaeffer.
    *********
    Ceasefire
    by Michael Longley
    I
    Put in mind of his own father and moved to tears
    Achilles took him by the hand and pushed the old king
    Gently away, but Priam curled up at his feet and
    Wept with him until their sadness filled the building.
    II
    Taking Hector’s corpse into his own hands Achilles
    Made sure it was washed and, for the old king’s sake,
    Laid out in uniform, ready for Priam to carry
    Wrapped like a present home to Troy at daybreak.
    III
    When they had eaten together, it pleased them both
    To stare at each other’s beauty as lovers might,
    Achilles built like a god, Priam good-looking still
    And full of conversation, who earlier had sighed:
    IV
    ‘I get down on my knees and do what must be done
    And kiss Achilles’ hand, the killer of my son.’
    From 'Ghost Orchid' (Jonathan Cape, 1995), copyright © Michael Longley

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    • 27 min
    86. The Daughter by Carmen Giménez - A Friend to Gita Ralleigh

    86. The Daughter by Carmen Giménez - A Friend to Gita Ralleigh

    READ TRANSCRIPT
    In this episode, poet, writer and doctor Gita Ralleigh talks to us about the poem that has been a friend to her: 'The Daughter' by Carmen Giménez.
    We're so grateful to Gita for sharing such an intimate, beautiful conversation with us, and to Carmen Giménez and The University of Arizona Press for allowing us to bring the poem to you in this way.
    Gita Ralleigh is a poet, writer and doctor born to Indian immigrant parents in London. She teaches creative writing to science undergraduates at Imperial College and has an MA in Creative Writing and an MSc in Medical Humanities. Her poetry books are A Terrible Thing (Bad Betty Press, 2020) and Siren (Broken Sleep Books, 2022). Her debut children’s novel The Destiny Of Minou Moonshine was published by Zephyr/Head of Zeus in July 2023. You can find her on Twitter as @storyvilled and on Instagram as @gita_ralleigh
    'The Daughter' can be found in Carmen Giménez' collection Milk and Filth, published by University of Arizona Press, 2013. You can find out more about Carmen Giménez and her work at www.carmengimenez.net.
    We are thrilled to announce our first anthology will be pubished by Quercus Editions on 9th May 2024!
    Poems as Friends: The Poetry Exchange 10th Anniversary Anthology will bring together a beautiful selection of poems that readers have shared with us at The Poetry Exchange over the last 10 years. The poems will be presented alongside readers' stories of connection, revealing how the poems have acted as friends to them and have played a part in their lives. You can find out more about our our anthology and pre-order your copy here.
    We are so grateful to all our listeners, followers and contributors for being part of The Poetry Exchange so far, and for celebrating and sharing poems as friends with us in so many beautiful ways.
    *********
    The Daughter
    by Carmen Giménez
    We said she was a negative image of me because of her lightness.
    She's light and also passage, the glory in my cortex.
    Daughter, where did you get all that goddess?
    Her eyes are Neruda's two dark pools at twilight.
    Sometimes she's a stranger in my home because I hadn't imagined her.
    Who will her daughter be?
    She and I are the gradual ebb of my mother's darkness.
    I unfurl the ribbon of her life, and it's a smooth long hallway, doors flung open.
    Her surface is a deflection is why.
    Harm on her, harm on us all.
    Inside her, my grit and timbre, my reckless.
    'The Daughter' from Milk & Filth. Copyright © 2013 by Carmen Gimenez Smith. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

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    • 28 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
55 Ratings

55 Ratings

PineGroveCharlie ,

Consistently Brilliant

A wonderful team presenting, interesting guests, thought provoking discussions, and classic poetry. Could any poetry lover ask for more? I don’t think so.

Thanks to all involved.

Piplid ,

Nice idea

Somewhat smug, but has introduced me to some nice new poems and contains some interesting conversations. I often find I prefer the initial reading to the final one.

Top Of The Gap ,

Brilliant

Informative and very accessible. Love it!

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