Mary Mack Reads Roald Dahl

Mary Mack

Stand-up comic Mary Mack is known for her unique style of oddball folk humor. When she was little, however, she “wanted to grow up to be a serious person.” In this episode, Mack reads a Roald Dahl poem that she performed on her high school speech team, which she considers her first foray into comedy.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about jokes, curated by Steve Wasserman, host of the Poetry Pharmacy podcast. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“Attention Please! Attention Please!” by Roald Dahl appears in the book Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, published by Puffin Books. Visit marymackcomedy.com for links to her albums and tour dates.

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Nekima Levy-Pounds Reads Maya Angelou

Nekima Levy Pounds

Nekima Levy-Pounds was nine years old when she decided to become a civil rights attorney. Today, Pounds is a decorated attorney, ordained reverend, and candidate for the Mayor of Minneapolis– but her journey has not always been easy. In this episode, Pounds reads “Still I Rise,” by Maya Angelou, and discusses the strength she draws from the resilience of her ancestors.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about perseverance. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou appears in the collection And Still I Rise, published by Random House.

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Kao Kalia Yang Reads Mai Der Vang

Kao Kalia Yang

Over the course of two award-winning memoirs, Kao Kalia Yang has charted the physical, political, emotional, and spiritual terrain of the Hmong journey to the United States in the aftermath of America’s Secret War in Laos. In this episode, Yang reads, “To the Placenta of Return,” by Mai Der Vang and discusses the sacrifices mothers made to protect their families during the war.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about return. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“To the Placenta of Return” by Mai Der Vang appears in the collection Afterland, published by Graywolf Press. Kao Kalia Yang’s books include The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet.

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Rob Wallace Reads Derek Walcott

Derek Walcott

Evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace was alt-CDC before it was a Twitter handle. He blogs at Farming Pathogens and is the author of “Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Infectious Disease, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science,” in which he presents research drawing lines between the economic model of corporate farming and the emergence of new, deadlier strains of influenza. In this episode, Wallace reads a favorite poem by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott (pictured above) and discusses the importance of questioning narratives that justify the status quo, in science and in life.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about the sea, curated by the editors of Poets Reading the News. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“The Sea is History,” by Derek Walcott appears in the collection Selected Poems published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

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Gaelynn Lea Reads E. E. Cummings

Gaelynn Lea

NPR Tiny Desk Contest winner Gaelynn Lea makes music that is often described as “haunting” and “heartbreaking.” At her live shows, however, Lea cracks jokes in between songs. “A lot of people, when they meet me, say, ‘Oh, I thought you’d be more depressed,” says Lea. In this episode, Lea reads a favorite poem by E. E. Cummings and discusses the importance of acknowledging the duality of light and darkness in the world.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about youth. Our guest curator is Lauren K Carlson. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“53” by E. E. Cummings appears in the collection 100 Selected Poems from Grove Press. The music in this interview is from Gaelynn Lea’s album, The Songs We Sing Along the Way.

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Krista Tippett Reads Rainer Maria Rilke

Tippett

Launching a public radio show about God and the meaning of life is no easy task. In this episode, On Being host Krista Tippett reads a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke that gave her courage and resolve during the creation of the show in 2003. Today, On Being airs on more than 400 radio stations across the U.S. and is downloaded weekly by thousands of devoted listeners.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about accompaniment. Our guest curator is Pádraig Ó Tuama. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“God speaks to each of us as he makes us” by Rainer Maria Rilke appears in the collection Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, translated by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy, and published by Riverhead Books. Krista Tippett’s most recent book is Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living.

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Waziyatawin Reads John Trudell

Calls for solidarity are common in our political climate, but is solidarity possible before widespread acknowledgement and rectification of past injustices? In this episode, Waziyatawin explores this question in the context of the poem, “Cry Your Tears,” by the late John Trudell. Waziyatawin is a leading Dakota intellectual, activist, and the executive director of Makoce Ikikcupi, a non-profit dedicated to Dakota land recovery. John Trudell was a prolific poet, actor, musician, and activist.

Later on, we check the Haiku Hotline for your poems about tears. Transcriptions of this week’s featured listener poems are available here.

“Cry Your Tears,” by John Trudell, appears in his collection, Lines From a Mined Mind, © 2008, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO. The music in this interview is excerpted from Trudell’s song “Cry Your Tears,” from the album Madness and the Moremes. Waziyatawin’s influential book, What Does Justice Look Like? is available from Living Justice Press.

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