Poetry Unbound

Poetry Unbound

Your poetry ritual: An immersive reading of a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Unhurried, contemplative and energizing. New episodes on Monday and Friday, about 15 minutes each. Two seasons per year, with occasional special offerings. Anchor your life with poetry.


November 28, 2022 12 min

When you move to a new place, everything seems different. Hell’s not hot anymore; it’s freezing. A poem of strangeness and wonder. 

Dan Vera is a writer, editor, watercolorist, and literary historian. Vera is the author of two books of poetry: Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen Press 2013) and The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books 2008). His honors include the Oscar Wilde Award for Poetry (2017) and the Letras Latinas/Red...

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Who decides what’s self care and what isn’t? Who benefits? Who pays? Upon whom does the burden of self care rest? Solmaz Sharif excavates.

Solmaz Sharif is the author of Customs (Graywolf Press 2022) and Look (Graywolf Press 2016), and was a finalist for the National Book Award. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in...

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Some friendships are built on small encounters and last a lifetime. Two women — from across culture, location, and age — spend a lifetime in communication. 

Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi-American poet and writer. She is the author of Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea (New Directions Publishing Corporation 2009), The Iraqi Nights (New Directions Publishing Corporation 2014), The Beekeeper (New Directions Publishing Corporation 2018), In He...

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At the hingepoint of change, a poet walks through the garden his late father planted. 

Aaron Caycedo-Kimura is a writer and visual artist. He is the author of two poetry collections: Ubasute (Slapering Hol Press 2021), which won the 2020 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition, and the full-length collection Common Grace (Beacon Press 2022). His honors include a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry, a St. Botolph Club Foundati...

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November 14, 2022 14 min

Firefighting pushes the body to breaking point; Kevin Goodan’s poem locates the “ash-dark art” of firefighting not just in the wilderness where the team worked, but in the muscles of the firefighters. 

Kevin Goodan was born in Montana and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation where his stepfather and brothers are tribal members. Goodan earned his BA from the University of Montana and worked as a firefighter for ten years with th...

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November 11, 2022 15 min

Sometimes leaving feels like you’re splitting yourself in two, but you leave anyway. What compels us? What holds us together even as we look back? David Whyte’s poem combines pain and promise as someone is both departing and venturing at the same time. 

David Whyte is the author of many books of poetry and prose. He grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshi...

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November 7, 2022 14 min

What is the landscape that has most influenced you? When do you go there? In person? Andrés N. Ordorica goes in dreams. 

Andrés N. Ordorica is a queer Latinx writer based in Edinburgh. His writing attempts to map the journey of his diasporic experience and unpack what it means to be from ni de aquí, ni de allá. His writing has been published widely and he regularly features at festivals around the UK. He is the recipient of a Second...

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If you were to use a metaphor for your worries, what metaphor would you turn to? Here, the worries have worry babies of their own. And they look back at the poet. What do they see? 

Laura Villareal is the author of Girl’s Guide to Leaving (University of Wisconsin Press 2022), The Cartography of Sleep (Nostrovia! Press 2018), and Poems to Carry in Your Pocket (L'Éphémère Review 2018). Villareal interviews writers for the series “...

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October 31, 2022 13 min

The search for authentic love is a powerful hunger in humans and, as Stephanie Burt shares, in werewolves. 

Stephanie Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor with nine published books, including two critical books on poetry and three poetry collections. Her essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other works include We Are Mermaids; Advice from the Lights; The ...

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Do you experience disgust at the sight of certain insects? Which ones? Fiona Benson teaches us how to see. 

Fiona Benson is the author of several poetry collections including Bright Travellers (Jonathan Cape 2014), Vertigo & Ghost (Jonathan Cape 2019), and Ephemeron (Jonathan Cape 2022). She is the winner of the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for Bright Travellers and the Forward Prize for Vertigo & Ghost. In 2019, Fiona...

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A man whose baby daughter has died turns to stars, mythology, and imagination for solace. There, he encounters what might help, a little. 

Saddiq Dzukogi is a poet and professor of English at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021), and winner of the 2021 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry. Dzukogi is completing a PhD in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


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October 21, 2022 12 min

What do you do when what sustains you no longer sustains you? A poet tries everything he can to reconnect with his art. 

Adam Zagajewski was a Polish poet and novelist born at the end of World War II. English translations of his books of poetry include Mysticism for Beginners (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1999), Without End (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2003), Eternal Enemies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009), and Asymmetry (Farrar, Straus...

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The sounds of a city can be overwhelming — but in the imagination of this poem, they are made into something new. 

Carolina Ebeid is a multimedia poet. Her first book, You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior, was published by Noemi Press as part of the Akrilica Series, and selected as one of ten best debuts of 2016 by Poets & Writers. Her work has been supported by the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, Bread Loaf, ...

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October 14, 2022 14 min

Asking for help is a thing of bravery. A poet describes her journey towards that help. 

Molly Twomey is a poet and editor from Lismore, County Waterford in Ireland. Twomey graduated in 2019 with a Masters in Creative Writing from University College Cork. Her work has been featured in Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee, The Irish Times, Mslexia, and The Stinging Fly, among other publications. Twomey is the host of the mont...

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October 10, 2022 14 min

In the aftermath of disaster, how do you sing a song to mark what’s gone, and praise what’s growing? 

Hinemoana Baker is a writer and musician living in Berlin, Germany. Baker descends from the Ngāi Tahu tribe in the South Island of New Zealand and from Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toa, and Te Āti Awa in the North Island. Baker is the author of several books of poetry including mātuhi | needle (Victoria University Press and Percival Press 2...

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October 7, 2022 14 min

What’s a moment when you grew up? When you realized the help you get might not be the help you want? 

Jennifer Huang is the author of Return Flight, which was awarded the 2021 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Their poems have appeared in POETRY, The Rumpus, and Narrative Magazine, among other places. They have received recognition from the Academy of American Poets, Brooklyn Poets, and the North American Taiwan...

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October 3, 2022 12 min

After her father’s death, a poet considers her relationship with loss. 

Gabeba Baderoon is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and African Studies at Penn State University and is the co-founder of the African Feminist Initiative at the university. She is the author of several collections of poetry, including The Dream in the Next Body (Kwela Books 2005), A hundred silences (Kwela Books 2006), and...

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September 30, 2022 13 min

Is there life after death? This poem says yes: where one life is part of a cycle of life that continues. 

Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet, essayist, literary critic, and arts educator. His debut poetry collection, Worldly Things (Milkweed Editions 2021), won the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, the 2022 Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Poetry, the 2022 Balcones Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2022 Minnesota Book Award. Since 2016, M...

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September 26, 2022 12 min

A person is lost, and in panic. A calm voice says strangely comforting things. 

David Wagoner is the author of 24 poetry collections and 10 novels. He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes (1977 and 1983) and the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize (1991). Wagoner’s final collection of poetry, After the Point of No Return, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2012.

Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.

We’re pleased to offer Davi...

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September 19, 2022 2 min

Poetry Unbound with host Pádraig Ó Tuama is back on Monday, September 26. Featured poets in this season include Rumi, Fiona Benson, Michael Kleber-Diggs, Victoria Adukwei Bulley, and many more. New episodes released every Monday and Friday through December 16.

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