This hour: three documentary poems chronicling the lives of working class mothers in Troy, NY. Plus, poets as reporters, confused readers, and more.
The Women of Troy
by Lu Olkowski and Ted Genoways (In Verse, 2009)
Troy, New York may not be a place that immediately conjures up a poet’s paradise, at least not in the Walden-pond-inspirational-scenes-of-great-beauty kind-of-way. But if grit is any measure, there is a poem on every block. The city attracted the eye of an innovative new collaboration of poets and reporters. Radio Producer Lu Olkowski teamed up with poet Susan B.A. Somers-Willett and photographer Brenda Ann Kenneally and the three of them created a series of documentary poems about the women of Troy. They focused on the stories of working class mothers, struggling to make ends meet, and the resulting "documentary poems" are raw, intimate, and tough.
Elegy for the Tech
by Kevin Dawson (Whistledown Productions, 2009)
Fred D’Aguiar is a creative writing teacher and an award-winning poet. He was sitting in his office at Virginia Tech University in 2007 when, on the other side of campus, one of his former students shot 32 of his classmates and then himself. The tragedy inspired D’Aguiar to write a poem about the event called Elegy and it turns out that he wasn’t the only poet serving as a witness on that dark day.
Tough Poem? Call the Poet.
by Curtis Fox - (Poetry Off the Shelf, 2007)
Poetry can be intimidating, mysterious and obfuscated, but it doesn’t have to be. And we are going to prove it. Each week on Poetry Off the Shelf, a podcast from the Poetry Foundation, host and producer Curtis Fox masterfully dissects a new poem, introduces listeners to a new poet or otherwise helps to make poetry a lot more inviting. In this episode, he does what everyone wants to do at some point after reading a poem: he calls the poet up and asks just what exactly he meant.
This episode of Re:sound was produced by Delaney Hall.
Check out some of the In Verse audio slideshows with photographs by Brenda Ann Keneally.
Read more about the In Verse project in the Virginia Quarterly Review.
See photos from Brenda Ann Keneally's ongoing Upstate Girls project.
Hear more episodes of Poetry Off the Shelf, Curtis Fox's podcast from the Poetry Foundation.