Poetry

Shaun Mitchell

Poet Shaun Mitchell joined us in the studio to (generously) share some of his poetry from his Poetry & Pantylines series. Listen above, and see an extended transcript below.   

For the final episode in our poetry binge on Communique, we have 3 poems from 3 authors: Emily Louise Smith, publisher at Lookout Books and UNC Wilmington professor; Oskar Gambony-Steding, Creative Writing student and tutor at UNC Asheville; and Aurora Shimshak, MFA student at UNC Wilmington and Managing Editor at Ecotone. Listen to these poets read their works above; see the text (plus 2 extras) below.

Please note that poems lose their formats in this story.

Academy of American Poets

Barbara McKenzie says everyone has a magical NPR moment-when you hear something on NPR that just knocks you off your feet and makes a huge impact on your mind, your heart, even your life. That moment for Barbara came when she heard poet Samuel Menashe on NPR's Weekend Edition. He was being interviewed because he received the Poetry Foundation's Neglected Masters Award. This sent Barbara, a concert pianist, into the world of composing. She composed a song cycle to bring sound to 11 of Menashe's poems. She hadn't composed before-and she hasn't composed since. Hear a short interview with Barbara above and a longer one below, along with her compositions. 

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Continuing our poetry focus this week: we invited recent MFA in Creative Writing graduate Ashleigh Bryant Phillips in to talk about her work in poetry. Ashleigh grew up in rural Northampton County on the North Carolina/Virginia border; she is heavily influenced by her roots there-simultaneously heavy and ephemeral as that way of life fades away. Listen above to hear Ashleigh talk about the family ties and hear her read her poem, "Hard Biscuits." See three of Ashleigh's poems below.

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Alan Ginsberg said that poetry is “the one place where people can speak their original human mind.” As a late spring indulgence, the next few Communique stories will listen to that original mind, hearing from poets (and a musician inspired by a poet). Our first guest is Anna Lena Phillips Bell; she just published her debut collection of poetry, Ornament, the recipient of the Vasser Miller prize in poetry.

Keegan Lester/instagram

Poet Keegan Lester is on a tour with his collection of poetry called this shouldn't be beautiful but it was & it was all i had so i drew it. This collection was published by Slope Editions after Keegan won the 2016 Slope Editions Book Prize. He's on a 28-date tour with the book, mostly sharing readings and signing books in bars and other locations outside the walls of academia. Keegan earned his MFA in Poetry at Columbia University, but this tour seems to represent a break with the university system he criticizes for constraining emerging poets through unyielding and outdated definitions of poetry. Listen above.

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Kelly Rae Williams is an advocate for racial and gender equality and a poet. Her recent manuscript, Outside the Cannon: Poetry as Protest will be published soon; meanwhile, Kelly Rae is giving a sneak peek of some of her new work tonight (2/28) at Pomegranate Books at 7:00. I spoke with Kelly Rae for nearly an hour, but her work can speak for itself better than an interview...Listen above to Kelly Rae share one of her poems about actress Raven-Symoné. The poem was inspired by Raven's assertion that she isn't African-American on Oprah Winfrey

Couplet: Two Days of Verse

Apr 16, 2015

If you want to celebrate literary pursuits of any kind--anything from Banned Books to Adult Puppet Shows--Old Books on Front Street is the place to be.  Owner Gwenyfar Rohler helps our community make note of the gems our distracted culture might let slip by, gems like poetry.   

Poetry requires time and reflection and a dash of focus to enjoy.  If you feel you've been too busy to roll around in the delightful rays of verse, this weekend (April 18 & 19) is a wonderful opportunity.  The heavy lifting has already been done. 

We were honored to host the Cavani Quartet and the poet Mwatabu S. Okantah in the MC Erny Gallery on Friday, January 24th for a special live performance and broadcast of classical music and poetry. Gallery guests and listeners were delighted by the skilled blending of poem and song. Enjoy this clip from the performance, which brought tears to the eyes of many audience members.