Poets in Prague on the SPL Podcast

November 8, 2013

I recently visited Prague with Literature Across Frontiers and chatted to a selection of poets he met there. We begin with Tomáš Míka, a poet, hip-hop artist and translator of many works including James Hogg and Samuel Beckett, who reads his poem ‘If we do not entertain ourselves, they will entertain us’ and discusses his chaotic ‘maximalist’ approach to poetry performance. Translator, poet and episodic essayist Ondřej Buddeus‎ reads his poem ‘bit-poetics’, tells us why Google is both a poetic and hilarious word and how he is exploring how language adapts to new technology. Playwright and poet Kerry Shawn Keys reads one of his poems and tells us about how he used to experiment with ‘trance’ states. Glasgow born and Prague based writer Christopher Crawford, the editor of online magazine Body reads one of his poems and talks about his approach to editing.

JO Morgan on the Scottish Poetry Library Podcast

October 28, 2013

I interviewed J.O. Morgan at his home in the Scottish Borders. His latest book, At Maldon by CB Editions, was launched on 8 October at Looking Glass Books in Edinburgh. We discuss his approach to writing and talk in detail about his first book length narrative poem, the award-winning Natural Mechanical. He also discusses the intriguing story of how At Maldon started out as a translation of an Anglo-Saxon poem and how he was fascinated by the fact that it is a form of historical document written by the losers rather than the winners of the battle.

Paula Meehan joins Ryan on the SPL Podcast

September 30, 2013

Irish poet Paula Meehan has been called “that rare and precious thing – a vocational poet of courage and integrity” by Carol Ann Duffy, and in this wide ranging interview you will see why. “I think poetry acts as lightning rod to earth the energies of the Zeitgeist that you are living through… Often to get real, true peace you have to actually nearly reopen the wound to clean it.” We discuss the Troubles in Ireland, issues with the priesthood, witchcraft, abuse and suicide, but at all times Paula remains sparklingly eloquent, thoughtful and maintains a sense of intense wonder and joy with the world. Her many accolades include the Irish American Cultural Institute’s Butler Award, the Denis Devlin Award and the Marten Toonder Award.

Sally Crabtree, Robert Serban and Persis Karim on the SPL Podcast

September 15, 2013

We travel around the world in this episode of the podcast. First up, from merry Cornwall, we have performance artist and poet Sally Crabtree, aka the Poetry Postie, who we caught up with at the StAnza poetry festival. Also at StAnza we recorded three poems from the Romanian poet and TV presenter Robert Serban. And we speak with Persis Karim from the Bay Area in San Francisco about Iranian poetry and the importance of translation.

Reel Iraq on the SPL Podcast

July 31, 2013

In January this year Reel Festivals organised a series of events and translation workshops in Erbil, Iraq with Scottish and Iraqi poets. The whole team then came back to Scotland in March, going on an huge journey in a tiny vehicle, presenting our work to the nation. In this edition of the Scottish Poetry Library Podcast all of the participants talk about their experiences and read their work. Featuring John Glenday, Jen Hadfield, Ghareeb Iskander, William Letford, Krystelle Bamford, Awezan Nouri, Sabreen Kadhim and Zaher Mousa, with support from Dina Mousawi and Lauren Pyott.

Robert Pinsky Says Words with his Voice on the SPL Podcast

March 11, 2013

Big news! This week on the Scottish Poetry Library podcast, former Poet Laureate of the United States Robert Pinsky discusses poems, poetry readers, jazz and his curious family history, he talks about his enthusiasm for his Favorite Poem Project – “For me a poem is a work of art that’s so intimate and so internal that its medium is any reader’s voice,” he talks about all sorts of stuff in a voice that could announce this summer’s blockbusters. In a wide ranging interview, he speaks about his formative years – “I grew up among very verbal, eloquent, skillful joke tellers and complainers and arguers and liars” – and the way he tries to capture music in language. He also reads a number of his poems and talks about his passion for poetry. “I never defended poetry. I don’t believe in commercials for poetry. It is so fundamental, so large, so central… It’s an insult to poetry to advocate for it or defend it.”

This is a pretty special conversation that I enjoyed the heck out of, and I hope you do too! Click the little triangle for some of the best words you’ll hear today.