Anthology: Poems on How to Live (new episode)

Tonight I read a handful of poems on the theme of How to live, what to do? How to get by in the world as a devotee of culture, solitude, ritual, beauty, tradition and individuality? There is of course no one answer, and anyway, poetry should stay as far away from direct “advice,” or proscription…

Anthology: Love Poems from Four Centuries (new episode)

Tonight I ask the question: what is love, and what is love poetry? Are poems about family and friendship love poems, just as much as those about romantic feeling, and longing, and heartbreak? And even more: what is romantic love? What, for instance, did T. S. Eliot mean when he said, “Love is most nearly…

Van Gogh: Starry Nights & Sunflowers

An episode from 7/27/22: Tonight, I read from Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith’s Van Gogh: The Life, sharing the sections covering Van Gogh’s two Starry Night paintings, and his many paintings of sunflowers. Before these images became as ubiquitous as Michelangelo’s David, they were the product of a largely unknown artist who was working…

The Great Myths #15: The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Gráinne (Celtic)

An episode from 1/15/22: Tonight we read from perhaps the great love story from the Middle Ages, since without it there would be no romance of Tristan and Isolde. How the Irish story of Gráinne, a young woman who casts a magic spell and puts her wedding party to sleep (she has just been married…

Advice from Charles Dickens & Alice Munro (new episode)

Tonight we hear from two great writers of fiction, Charles Dickens and Alice Munro. Through a handful of readings from Claire Tomalin’s Charles Dickens: A Life, we see how Dickens (1812-1870) was able to juggle, for almost a year, the writing of two novels simultaneously, both for serial publication. Thanks to a letter written by…

Poem: “Cauldron & Drink”

An episode from 8/22/21: Tonight, I read a poem of mine called “Cauldron & Drink.” It was originally published in Crannóg back in 2016, and appears with my other poems from prehistoric Europe in Bone Antler Stone. The poem was certainly inspired by the famous Gundestrup Cauldron, but more generally it is an ode to…

Advice to a Young Poet from Ezra Pound

An episode from 10/25/20: A reading from the poet W. S. Merwin’s memoir, The Mays of Ventadorn, where he recalls meeting the poet Ezra Pound in 1949. Merwin, who died in 2019 at the age of ninety-one, was just starting out when he paid a visit to Pound. For his part, by 1949 Ezra Pound…

First Person: Voices from 1900-1914 (new episode)

For this first episode of 2023, I read a handful of voices from those living in Europe and the United States between 1900 and 1914. Rephrased only slightly, nearly all of their concerns feel like they could appear in the news or on the street today: I read these voices here to suggest that the…

Seamus Heaney: 7 Poems from “North”

An episode from 6/22/21: From nearly from the first week or two it went live, this episode has remained the most popular I’ve ever done. It not only features excerpts from one of the great poetry collections of the twentieth century–Seamus Heaney’s North, from 1975–but it also includes readings of interviews with him on the writing…

Old Friends

An episode from 10/11/22:  Tonight I talk about a dear friend from my youth, who made a great impact on me from my late teens and into my early twenties. I met him when he was probably in his early fifties, although he looked much, much older. By that time he had already lived quite…