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.
Christian Wiman — All My Friends Are Finding New Beliefs
Who are the friends that, despite different paths chosen, have remained steadfast in your life?
In this poem Christian Wiman recalls the changing beliefs of his friends; this one has a new diet, this one has a new relationship, this one is slipping away, this one is verdant. While doing so, he holds the love for his “beautiful, credible friends” as the thing to hold on to while the planet turns faster.
Carlos Andrés Gómez — Father
How has becoming a parent — or being a caregiver — changed you?
This is a poem of two halves. In the first half, a man questions God — how could a loving Father allow suffering to happen? And in the second half, the man becomes a father himself, filled with fear and love. His questions about fatherhood change; he’s no longer wondering about the beyond, he’s wondering about the right now.
Ellen Bass — Bone of My Bone and Flesh of My Flesh
What pet names have you been called? What are the circumstances and stories behind these pet names?
In this poem, a woman considers the pet names to give her female partner; “My beloved” isn’t very convenient when you’re dropping off dry cleaning. And what word to use when speaking of how she annoys you? Written in the time before same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S., the humor of this poem highlights how policy can steal language from the everyday.
R.A. Villanueva — Life Drawing
Who do you trust with your body?
In this poem, a man writes about his wife’s life-drawing class. She’s been sketching a naked male model for weeks, and the poet worries, comparing himself, trying to figure out how he feels. This poem moves from anxiety to request to consent to reciprocality. His self-consciousness about sharing his body with someone is transformed into trust and vulnerability.
Zaffar Kunial — The Word
Have you ever projected your own awkwardness onto someone else? How did you do it? And how would you address them now?
This poem recalls how, as a young adult, Zaffar Kunial judged his immigrant father’s way of speaking English. A poem that’s filled with adolescence as with awkward parental relationships, it also speaks of his yearning to fit in, to enjoy his own life. Shame features in this poem — the younger poet had been ashamed of his father’s grammar, but now, with time, he seems ashamed to have been that son.
Dilruba Ahmed — Phase One
What do you find hard to forgive in yourself? What might help?
In this poem, the poet makes a list of all the things she holds against herself: opening fridge doors, fantasies, wilted seedlings, unkempt plants, lost bags, feeling awkward, treating someone poorly. Dilruba Ahmed repeats the line “I forgive you” over and over, like a litany, in a hope to deepen what it means to be in the world, and be a person of love.
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Pour some Folgers, and press play.
One of my favorite podcasts with morning coffee.
Love this podcast!
Thank you so much for this poetry and your analysis- I love the pauses so I can reflect a moment on my connection to the poem and what you’re saying. I have developed such an affinity for the Irish language that I have started trying to learn it so I especially enjoy the poems translated from Irish. Looking forward to more!
I wanted to leave a “Thank You” review- to show my gratitude for Poetry Unbound. I love poetry, but some can go over my head. Having an analysis after the readings has been amazing, to say the least. Thank you to the hose and creators of this wonderful podcast.