28 episodes

Your new ritual: Immerse yourself in a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Short and unhurried; contemplative and energizing. Anchor your week by listening to the everyday poetry of your life, with new episodes on Monday and Friday during the season.

Poetry Unbound On Being Studios

    • Books

Your new ritual: Immerse yourself in a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Short and unhurried; contemplative and energizing. Anchor your week by listening to the everyday poetry of your life, with new episodes on Monday and Friday during the season.

    Lucille Clifton — song at midnight

    Lucille Clifton — song at midnight

    In strength and defiance, Lucille Clifton celebrates her Black body and her survival. When have you said or heard words like this?

    Calling herself “both nonwhite and woman,” Lucille Clifton glories in her shape and fact of her life in these two poems. She invites the reader to witness everything she's lived through, and to celebrate the flourishing life that she has created in spite of everything that has tried to kill her.

    • 12 min
    Chris Abani — The New Religion

    Chris Abani — The New Religion

    How do you speak of — and to — your body?

    This is a poem dedicated to the body. “The body is a nation I have never known,” Chris Abani writes. Throughout the 21 lines of this work, he describes lungs, skin, bone, touch, smells, sweat, armpits and hunger. For all the embodiedness of the poem, there is disembodiedness too: the poem continues to question how to truly be in your own body.

    • 12 min
    Molly McCully Brown — Transubstantiation

    Molly McCully Brown — Transubstantiation

    Are there places you've lived or visited that others would disregard? What do you see in them that others might miss?"

    This poem takes place at night, describing a scene from a town on the edge of a city. The poet feels at home in a “nowhere” town, with cattle pacing in the fields, boarded houses, and rowdy filling stations. This is a place that through the eyes of some would be considered a “shit town,” but to the poet it is home.

    • 12 min
    Natalie Diaz — Of Course She Looked Back

    Natalie Diaz — Of Course She Looked Back

    Is there a character (from history, politics, or literature) whose story you want to tell from a new perspective?

    This poem is told from the point of view of “Lot’s wife,” a biblical character who was turned into salt because she looked back to see the burning of Sodom, her home city. The poet shows us what Lot’s wife sees: towers swaying, guitars popping, dogs weeping and roosters howling. By mixing the modern with the everlasting, Lot’s wife is humanized and justified.

    • 15 min
    Natasha Trethewey — Miscegenation

    Natasha Trethewey — Miscegenation

    Were you born during a time when laws were different? What impact did those laws have on you?

    In this poem, Natasha Trethewey recalls the story of how her parents crossed state lines to wed because Mississippi forbade interracial marriage at the time. It is written in the form of a ghazal, with birth and belonging, names and death coming together.

    • 10 min
    James Wright — A Blessing

    James Wright — A Blessing

    Is there a moment of beauty you can recall that’s like a blessing for you?

    This poem takes place at twilight in a field just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota, where the poet and a friend encounter two ponies who come “gladly out of the willows / To welcome my friend and me.”

    • 12 min

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