83 episodes

A new podcast where today’s finest writers read the work that matters to them—from their homes, to yours. Produced and commissioned by the 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center, a home for live readings of literature for over 80 years.

92Y's Read By 92Y Unterberg Poetry Center

    • Books
    • 4.5 • 21 Ratings

A new podcast where today’s finest writers read the work that matters to them—from their homes, to yours. Produced and commissioned by the 92nd Street Y's Unterberg Poetry Center, a home for live readings of literature for over 80 years.

    Sophie Herron

    Sophie Herron

    Sophie Herron on their selection:
    Last July, I read John McPhee’s Basin and Range for the first time and was immediately captured by the slim volume—its structure, its fluid sentences, the breadth and depth of its probity and its wry and ever-present humor. The titular basin and range is an area between Utah and California, but the book is as much about geology itself, both the movement of rock and the movement of minds that have studied it. In 1785, a Scottish geologist, James Hutton, presented to the Royal Society a new theory: that landmasses were formed over an indescribable amount of time, and that the evidence of these changes were in the different formations of rocks—where one era of rock met another. I’ve chosen to read McPhee’s accounting of Hutton’s search for this geological evidence; a narrative in which McPhee coins the term “deep time,”—a piece of history writing which, it seems to me, enfolds the transcendent experience of humanity’s tiny place in time and, concurrently, love for the work of discovery, communication, and of changing minds. It has stayed with me in the moments of excruciating ephemerality and eternity in the past year. Sometimes both at once. I hope, as a final episode for Read By, it serves for you, also, as a microscope that explodes.
    Basin and Range, by John McPhee
    Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

    • 12 min
    Kenzie Allen

    Kenzie Allen

    Kenzie Allen on her selection:
    Growing up, I spent precious time each summer on a fire lookout, Sand Mountain, in the Oregon Cascades, and I still return there to volunteer with my father, as happened just last week. Each time I read “deer crowd up to see the lamp,” and “pancakes every morning of the world,” I’m transported back to the mountains, even (and especially) when I’m sitting on the fire lookout itself. For Philip Whalen, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, and for me, these places invite philosophy and meditation, and an openness to wonder, which I hope Whalen’s “Sourdough Mountain Lookout” can inspire for others.
    "Sourdough Mountain Lookout," by Philip Whalen
    Music: “Shift of Currents” by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

    • 11 min
    Alexandra Zuckerman

    Alexandra Zuckerman

    Alexandra Zuckerman on her selection:
    In her book, On Beauty and Being Just, it is as if, in Elaine Scarry’s view, the external world has the power to tumultuously expose to us our errors of judgment; wrong beliefs cannot merely be held. Her small anecdote about a palm tree that compels her to experience “being in error” about beauty has stayed with me through the years. She argues that such small experiences guide our instinct to be just. Her palm, its leaves “barely moving, just opening and closing slightly as though breathing,” reveals to her its true beauty. She had denied it even the right to be a tree. On Beauty and Being Just is grounding and gives me hope when it is hard to see where true change comes from.
    On Beauty and Being Just, by Elaine Scarry
    Music: “Shift of Currents” by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

    • 12 min
    Mag Gabbert

    Mag Gabbert

    Mag Gabbert on her selection:
    I read Kathryn Nuernberger's essay "A Thin Blue Line," which comes from her wonderful collection of essayettes, Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past. I return to these pieces often because they give me new ideas about limits—what can happen to a poem if it's allowed just a little more room to breathe, if those braces or splints that keep it packed into tight lines and stanzas are taken off? And: what happens to prose when it's distilled down to marrow? "A Thin Blue Line" somehow accomplishes both of these, and it does so while weaving Nuernberger's personal narrative together with bits of research material and shreds of fairy tale. To me, this piece strikes the perfect note between genres; it isn't hybrid in the sense that it checks none of the boxes, but because it checks all of them. And this is the kind of work I turn to when I need to reimagine the boundaries of my own relationship with language, to see how I might shape it differently and ask it to function in new ways.
    Brief Interviews with the Romantic Past, by Kathryn Nuernberger
    Music: “Shift of Currents” by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

    • 7 min
    Ina Cariño

    Ina Cariño

    Ina Cariño on her selection:
    Aracelis Girmay’s “You are Who I Love,” first published in 2017, is still so, so needed today. The repetition of the title throughout the poem gives it a musicality that mimics the chants of those who march in the streets. I chose this poem because it calls to and speaks for all of us: those who fight for what is dear to them, those who heal and need healing, and those who give and give even when no one is looking. It’s my hope that this poem and poems like this can be not just rallying cries for social justice, but also love songs to ourselves and to each other.
    the black maria, by Aracelis Girmay:
    Music: “Shift of Currents” by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

    • 9 min
    Read By: Tracie Morris

    Read By: Tracie Morris

    Tracie Morris on her selection:
    I have the great pleasure of sharing small excerpts from Brent Hayes Edwards’ wonderful book, Epistrophies. In it, I repeat a quote from the legendary Mary Lou Williams to introduce Edward’s commentary on Sun Ra at the dawn of the Space Age.
    Epistrophies, by Brent Hayes Edwards
    Music: "Shift of Currents" by Blue Dot Sessions // CC BY-NC 2.0

    • 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

🍊🍉🍇🍋 ,

Every reading feels exactly correct.

This is my favorite podcast.

Jeffinsfca ,

Love the readings!

Sound quality and speed seems to be variable throughout the cast. But love the stories!!

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