These podcasts are why I go for long walks every evening. All are free and available on iTunes. You can listen to them through iTunes on your computer so you don’t have to own an iPod; although, why wouldn’t you?
1. Poetry Magazine Podcast – Poetry Foundation Christian Wiman and Don Share talk for approximately 20-30 minutes about what’s featured in the current edition of Poetry Magazine. They read some of the poems, or have the poets read them, and they talk about some of the essays. When I first discovered these, I was years behind—they go back at least to 2007—so I listened to a new edition everyday for weeks! I would know Christian Wiman and Don Share’s voices anywhere.
2. Poetry Off the Shelf – also from Poetry Foundation, presented by producer Curtis Fox. These are generally shorter poetry discussions. In fact, Poetry Foundation had many wonderful podcasts and audio presentations on a variety of poetry topics.
3. UCTV Lunch Poems – presenting notable poets, such as Eavan Boland, Lisa Chen, Nathasha Trethewey, and Li-Young Lee to mention only a fraction of the poets who read in this series.
4. 92nd Street Y Podcasts – some are poetry, others are fiction or non-fiction writers, or journalists. All are wonderful!
5. PennSound Poetry Podcasts – today’s most well-known poets read and discuss their work.
6. Scottish Poetry Library – interviews, poems, snippets of events and music from the Scottish Poetry Library. These podcasts are delightful and provide a taste of mostly current Scottish poetry and music although there are sometimes poets and musicians from around the British Isles. As a word of forewarning, you have to listen carefully because everyone talks at warp speed on this podcast, including its entertaining host, poet, Ryan Van Winkle.
7. Slate Poetry Podcast – this podcast features the audio poetry presented in Slate. My only complaint about this series is that they do not give the poet’s name or the name of the poem during the podcast. You have to remember to look at the listing on the iPod and all that shows is the title of the poem and not the poet. You really have to dig to learn the poet’s name and to connect them with their poem. More than once I have found that frustrating and I think it is a disservice to the poets. I think it would be nice to have the poets say their name and the name of the poem. I still like to listen to this podcast because, of course, the poems are wonderful.
8. Wallace Stevens – Selected Early Poems (i.e. prior to 1923) – read by Alan Davis Drake (Cloud Mountain). Drake reads the poems one by one, giving the titles. What can I say? Amazing and soothing after a hard day at work.
9. Houghton Mifflin Poetry Podcast – The quality of this podcast is exceptional and the poets are notable. They read and talk about their work, and the writing process.
10. WNYC’s Radiolab – Not a poetry podcast at all, but still one of my all-time favorites so I had to include it. It’s hard to describe Radiolab so I thought I would share what they themselves say about it: “Radiolab believes your ears are a portal to another world. Where sound illuminates ideas, and the boundaries blur between science, philosophy, and human experience. Big questions are investigated, tinkered with, and encouraged to grow. Bring your curiosity, and we’ll feed it with possibility.” All true and then some! Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich, the show’s hosts are two voices I also know very well!
There are many others I listen to on my daily walks, but these are my favorites. And, I am sure there are many others I don’t know about, so, please share your favorites in the comments. I am always looking for new ones.
© 2010-2012 Grace Curtis