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VS

Author: Poetry Foundation

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The VS podcast is a bi-weekly series where poets confront the ideas that move them. Hosted by poets Danez Smith and Franny Choi, produced by Daniel Kisslinger, and presented by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness.
71 Episodes
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Danez and Franny have the honor and pleasure of chopping it up with the brilliant Randall Horton on this episode of the show. Randall, whose newest collection {#289-128}: Poems just dropped this month, talks about coming to know his story so that he could eventually write about it, resisting being boxed in as a poet who was incarcerated, and what he’s learned from his collaborations with jazz musicians. Get into it! NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review
Carl Phillips swings by the zoodio (zoom studio) for a ticklish and insightful convo on this episode. The poet and professor talks about the power of interiority, how his relationship to the erotic has changed as he’s grown older, and much more.  NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Ross Gay vs. Entanglement

Ross Gay vs. Entanglement

2020-09-2901:07:09

Ross Gay joins VS with his boisterous laugh and brilliance on hand. The poet and professor breaks down the ways we’re all entangled, the elegant lessons mycelium can teach us for a post-capitalist world, getting undergrads to write sock puppet operas, and much more! Buy Ross’ new book Be Holding: https://upittpress.org/books/9780822966234/ NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Airea D. Matthews knows her ghosts. The poet and professor talks with Franny and Danez about the spectres and phantasms that live in her work, the ways she wants her poems to exist beyond paper and ink, the journey back to her original name. Plus, a dollop of Greek myth on top! NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Aurielle Marie vs. Audacity

Aurielle Marie vs. Audacity

2020-09-0101:11:56

Aurielle Marie hops on the line, and the line will never be the same. The poet and organizer talks about the ways that her poetics and movement work are interwoven, her decision to walk away from a book deal, and much more!  See more of Aurielle’s work: https://auriellemarie.com/ NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review
Danez and Franny hop on the ole zoom zoom with legendary poet and beard icon John Murillo. John talks about his new book Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, learning how to focus on the work instead of po-biz, remembering who he writes for, and much more. Plus, a hilarious story involving a staged adulterous act. NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Michael Lee vs. Grief

Michael Lee vs. Grief

2020-08-0450:30

After Franny’s episode talking with Cam Awkward-Rich, Danez goes one-on-one with their buddy Michael Lee, a Norwegian-American writer, youth worker, and organizer in Minneapolis. The dynamic duo talks about grief’s place in poems, Michael’s traumatic brain injury, obliterating whiteness, and some fond memories together. Pick up Michael’s book The Only Worlds We Know NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
On this very special one-on-one episode of VS, we get a peek inside the blanket fort that Franny has built and get to listen to her chat with poet and professor Cameron Awkward-Rich (who also happens to be her boo). They talk about the pros and cons of isolation, the forces and spaces that created Cam’s newest book Dispatch, and, most importantly, their illustrious cat Bean. NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!  
Paige Lewis vs. Tiny Things

Paige Lewis vs. Tiny Things

2020-06-0201:11:00

Recorded back before COVID-19 sent the VS team home to different corners of the country, Franny and Danez sat down with poet Paige Lewis for a good ole fashioned in-person chat. Paige breaks down Beta Fish, the nonbinary epic they’re writing, the power of focusing on the micro, and more.  NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Chris Abani vs. Entanglement

Chris Abani vs. Entanglement

2020-05-1901:27:511

You’ve just enrolled in one of the best classes anyone could ever take. This week’s guest, Chris Abani, is a master teacher, poet, screenwriter, and thinker who is ready to help you understand, even if the process kicks your butt a little. In this marathon episode recorded before the pandemic descended, Chris talks about the ways our languages shape our understanding of time and space, how the stories of his childhood in Nigeria inform his tongue, the dilemma of writing something important, and much more. Enjoy the lil bit of extra VS in this jumbo-sized episode! NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!  
You vs. the Prompts

You vs. the Prompts

2020-05-0534:211

Y’all are some good-ass writers! When we put out the call for poems in response to our prompts, we didn’t know we were going to get such a wonderful collection of pieces from you beautiful listeners. We couldn’t include them all in Episode 6, so we put together a special listener-only episode full of your work. Enjoy what your podpeople have created! Listener poems in this episode: “Untitled poem for the apocalypse” by Angelina Mazza “What we need right now” by Anneka Hooft “Independence Song” by Belinda Munyeza “Hell’s Kitchen” by Bobby Larson “Taxidermied Peacock” by Bri Marino “Dispensed With” by Ciel “A Reminder From This World” by Haru Matsuura “Untitled” by Irene Vazquez “The Gathering” by Isobel Rutherford “A poem by a half-finished painting in my living room” by Jake Pruitt “Girl in Isolation” by Jireh Deng “How many different shades of blue” by Latifa Akay “The Coffee Table Speaks During Quarantine” by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad “april, 2020” by Mina Yu “My imagination decides the size of my fear” by Nicole Arocho Hernandez “The Analog Who Broke the Camel’s Lap-top” by Carlos Pittella “Voicemail No. 47” by Quentin Felton “The Stovetop Misses Talking Shit” by Raji Ganesan “Invisible Speaker - Garden Mouse” by Oluwaseun Olayiwola “In the World Right Now” by Tiffany Wong-Jones “Instructions for a Contemporary Pastoral” by torrin a. greathouse NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
On this #VSfromHome episode, Danez and Franny dip into a chock-full mailbag full of your wonderful questions! Plus, we hear seven poems that listeners wrote and submitted in response to the prompts that Danez and Franny shared two episodes ago. Want more poems? Then check out the special episode released alongside this one, which features a cornucopia of listener-submitted poems that Franny and Danez selected. Listener poems in this episode: “On the Street Marked ‘Dead End’” by Christopher Crowder “Hold Me by the Stem” by Dante Clark “The Duvet Whispers to the Sex Swing” by Nova Cyprus Black “Things I Didn’t Know I Loved” by Fatima Malik “Untitled” by Simon Crow “What my dresser misses” by Lindsay Stewart NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Tara Betts vs. the Mask

Tara Betts vs. the Mask

2020-04-2101:06:04

Tara Betts is on a mission to be herself. The poet, editor, and professor comes through to talk about celebrating your people, her relationship with wearing the mask of respectability, the economic challenges of working as a poet, and much more.  NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Well, turns out the world can turn upside down. In the midst of social isolation and self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Franny and Danez tapped in from their homes in Massachusetts and Minneapolis, respectively, to talk about how they’re processing the absurd and unsettling time, what isolation has taught them, and the role of artistry in this crisis. Plus, they each read a new poem, send out a call for mailbag questions, and share some WRITING PROMPTS FOR Y’ALL! PLEASE share your questions for the hosts and the poems that you write to the prompts with us by emailing a voice memo recording of you reading your poem to vsthepodcast@gmail.com, so we can include them in next month’s VS episode! NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Aricka Foreman is going deep. The formerly aspiring marine biologist and current excellent poet talks about her love of the ocean, her new collection Salt Body Shimmer, how she digs into the emotional depths and then pulls herself back out, and much more. NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review
It’s Toaster Time! This week’s guest, Toaster Henderson, is a poet, teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors, and cofounder of Big Kid Slam, an all-ages slam in Chicago that’s subverting the form’s expectations and carving some really great space for poets age 18-21. The squad talks about what makes Big Kid Slam so special, the links between zoos and schools and prisons, bringing his focus to the page, and much more. Plus, we debut a BRAND NEW GAME! Follow Toaster:  https://www.instagram.com/toastersmodernlife/ Check out Big Kid Slam:  http://instagram.com/bigkidslam Poems Read: Transit by Toaster Circus by Toaster NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Parneshia Jones vs. 2020

Parneshia Jones vs. 2020

2020-02-2501:03:56

Season 4, y’all! Danez and Franny kick off the new year with Parneshia Jones. Parneshia is the author of Vessel, and serves as Editorial Director for Trade and Engagement at Northwestern University Press. They talk about the unique potential of art-making in this moment, the space she intentionally carves for Black women in the publishing world, the majesty of the front porch, and much more. Plus, a brand new unpublished poem! Poems read by Parneshia: 2020, The Day After Resurrection Under the Moon NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Season 3 of VS goes out with a bang! Franny and Danez take the stage as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival with the true gawd of this poetry world Patricia Smith. They talk about the most bone-chilling prompt ever, discuss form as a way to invite readers into the room, and finally settle the page vs. stage question once and for all.  VS will return in early 2020! In the meantime, jump into the archives and enjoy three seasons of amazing conversations. NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
Beyza Ozer brings love into the room and into their gorgeous poems on this episode, the penultimate episode of Season 3! The squad talks about taking time away from poems until they feel urgent and necessary again, writing love poems, Katya from Drag Race as muse and inspiration, and much more.  NOTE: Make sure you rate us on Apple Podcasts and write us a review!
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