The Beat

(A Poetry Podcast by Knox County Public Library)

Host: Alan May

To listen or subscribe to The Beat, click here.

Past episodes have included Maurice Manning, Tyler Mills, David Baker, Adelaide Crapsey, Prince Bush, Cintia Santana, Amy Wright, and Chris Tonelli.

“David Orr, a poetry columnist for The New York Times Book Review, describes a common idea that some people have about poetry—that understanding it “is like solving a calculus problem while being zapped with a cattle prod.” Or maybe worse, we hear people give (again quoting David Orr) “testimonials announcing poetry’s ability to derange the senses, make us lose ourselves in rapture, dance naked under the full moon, and so forth.” We’ll try to avoid all of that.

In each show, I’ll introduce you to a new poet and you’ll get to hear poems being read aloud by the poets themselves, or, sometimes, by me or another reader. If you’re an experienced poetry aficionado, welcome. I hope you enjoy the poems. If you’re fairly new to poetry, relax. When you feel a connection to a poem, listen to it again or look for links about the poet in the show notes. You don’t need to be a quote/unquote “expert” to enjoy poetry. Often, with enough time and attention, the poem itself will teach you how to read it.

If you hear something you don’t like, that’s okay. The great American poet C.D. Wright compared reading poetry to ordering food in a restaurant. Not everybody likes the same thing. And, in the world of poetry, “the menu is vast.” All that said, the first episode of “The Beat” will air in a couple of weeks. Please tune in for the show.”