I Want to Make White Folks Uncomfortable | A Conversation with Natalie Giarratano

In this interview, Rilee Oien talks with the poet Natalie Giarratano about Big Thicket Blues. Giarratano, who won the 2013 Liam Rector First Book Prize in Poetry, Leaving Clean, lives in Colorado with her partner, daughter, and dog.  This conversation covers a number of topics, from specific poems in the book, to the poet’s childhood in Texas, […]

All News Is Local News | A Conversation with Marjorie Maddox

In this interview, Ireland Dempster talks with Marjorie Maddox about Transplant, Transport, Transubstantiation, a captivating collection of poems exploring the human body’s physical, spiritual, and mental aspects. Describing her father’s unsuccessful heart transplant during the blizzard of 1993, Maddox walks the reader through her experience with losing her father and her journey of healing, often through surreal descriptions […]

Everything That Has Happened Around the World Is Part of Your Life | A Conversation with Emily Jungmin Yoon

I talked with Emily Jungmin Yoon (@EmilyYoon), poet, translator, and doctoral candidate in comparative literature at the University of Chicago, about her latest book, Against Healing: Nine Korean Poets—a tiny anthology of translations just out from Axis Press as part of a series on “Translating Feminisms.” Our conversation began by considering two related statements Yoon makes […]

The Divine Spark Can Be Found in the Embrace of Imperfection | A Conversation with Wendy Chin-Tanner

In this interview, James Shaw discusses with Wendy Chin-Tanner her brand-new book of poems, Anyone Will Tell You. Their conversation covers fertility and infertility, motherhood, and the struggle of two miscarriages. They also unpack how Chin-Tanner’s experience writing a graphic novel influences her poetry, the role of nature in poetry, the practicing of keeping a […]

The Last Jew in Afghanistan | A Conversation with M.E. Silverman

In this interview, Andrew Gillis asks the poet M.E. Silverman (@MESilverman_BLP and Blue Lyra Press) about his most recent book, The Floating Door, particularly regarding Silverman’s fascination with Zablon Simintov of Afghanistan, the thought process behind choices he made in his poetry, and how Jewish life in America compares to Jewish life in Afghanistan. Silverman also […]

The Many Places of Poetry | A Conversation with Ravi Shankar and Lisa Pegram

Ravi Shankar’s just-published book The Many Uses of Mint presents new and selected poems from twenty years of his writing, including from the Norton anthology he co-edited Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond. The poet Lisa Pegram and I recently sat down with Ravi over video chat to […]

Sculpture of Enée et Anchise by Pierre Lepautre (1697), Photo by Miniwark (2006)

Literature of Exile

Many people do not realize that Jesus was quoting directly from the Book of Leviticus when he said to love one’s neighbors as oneself. This context lends an important layer of meaning to his words. Often his saying is reduced to an encouragement to “be nice” to others. While not a bad admonish as far as it goes, that interpretation […]