Poetry Unbound

Arts & Culture Podcasts

Your poetry ritual: An immersive reading of a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Unhurried, contemplative and energizing. New episodes on Monday and Friday, about 15 minutes each. Two seasons per year, with occasional special offerings. Anchor your life with poetry.


United States


Your poetry ritual: An immersive reading of a single poem, guided by Pádraig Ó Tuama. Unhurried, contemplative and energizing. New episodes on Monday and Friday, about 15 minutes each. Two seasons per year, with occasional special offerings. Anchor your life with poetry.




BONUS: A conversation with Lorna Goodison – and the humans behind Poetry Unbound

As part of a celebratory launch party for the new Poetry Unbound book, Pádraig welcomed Lorna Goodison, former Poet Laureate of Jamaica, into a joyful Zoom room of poetry lovers and listeners of the show, old and new. We draw Season 6 to a close with their conversation on themes explored in Lorna’s poem “Reporting Back to Queen Isabella” (one of the 50 featured in the book): poetry as a “made thing”; poetry as a form of travel. And: Pádraig chats with our wonderful producer and composer...


Danusha Laméris — Bonfire Opera

A younger woman looks at an older woman, admiring her beauty, skill, and freedom. Older now, she thinks of how hard-won such freedom is. Also: singing opera while taking off your clothes. That too. Danusha Laméris is a poet, teacher, and essayist. She is the author of The Moons of August (Autumn House, 2014), which was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize, and was a finalist for the Milt Kessler Book Award. Her second book, Bonfire Opera...


Rumi — You wake the dead to life

Who brings you to praise? Rumi’s great poem of praise to the “you” is to his great friend Shams, and through that friendship, to God. Rumi was a 13th-century Muslim mystic and poet. He left behind a vast body of lyric poetry, metaphysical writings, lectures, and letters, which have influenced Persian, Urdu, and Turkish literature across the centuries. Haleh Liza Gafori is a translator, vocalist, poet, and educator of Persian descent born in New York City. She has sung and translated the...


Naomi Shihab Nye — I Feel Sorry for Jesus

What’s it like to be owned by the world, to have populations claiming you, to have millions speaking on your behalf? Naomi Shihab Nye takes a close look — from a distance — at Jesus, and herself. Naomi Shihab Nye is a professor of creative writing at Texas State University. From 2019-2021, Nye was the Young People's Poet Laureate through the Poetry Foundation. She is the author of You & Yours (BOA Editions 2005). Her more recent books include The Tiny Journalist (BOA Editions 2019), Voices...


Victoria Adukwei Bulley — not quiet as in quiet but

Quiet. Shhh. Softly. Don’t make a fuss. Don’t upset the authorities. Victoria Adukwei Bulley unquiets the quiet. Victoria Adukwei Bulley is a poet, writer, and artist. She is the author of Quiet (Faber Books 2022; Knopf 2023), which was shortlisted for the 2022 T.S. Eliot Prize. Bulley is currently a doctoral student at the Royal Holloway, University of London. Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. We’re pleased to offer Victoria Adukwei Bulley’s poem, and invite you to...


Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley — small talk or in my hand galaxies

On the day you wake to a broken window in your car, what do you do? And what happens when the woman repairing that window offers a glimpse of something new? Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley belongs to the Onondaga Nation of Indigenous Americans in New York. He is the author of Dēmos (Milkweed 2021), Colonize Me (Saturnalia 2019), and Not Your Mama’s Melting Pot (University of Nebraska Press 2018). Naka-Hasebe Kingsley is an assistant professor of English at Kalamazoo College. Find the...


Dan Vera — Norse Saga

When you move to a new place, everything seems different. Hell’s not hot anymore; it’s freezing. A poem of strangeness and wonder. Dan Vera is a writer, editor, watercolorist, and literary historian. Vera is the author of two books of poetry: Speaking Wiri Wiri (Red Hen Press 2013) and The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books 2008). His honors include the Oscar Wilde Award for Poetry (2017) and the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize (2012). Find the transcript for this show...


Solmaz Sharif — Self-Care

Who decides what’s self care and what isn’t? Who benefits? Who pays? Upon whom does the burden of self care rest? Solmaz Sharif excavates. Solmaz Sharif is the author of Customs (Graywolf Press 2022) and Look (Graywolf Press 2016), and was a finalist for the National Book Award. She holds degrees from UC Berkeley, where she studied and taught with June Jordan’s Poetry for the People, and New York University. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, the...


Dunya Mikhail — Eva Whose Shadow Is a Swan

Some friendships are built on small encounters and last a lifetime. Two women — from across culture, location, and age — spend a lifetime in communication. Dunya Mikhail is an Iraqi-American poet and writer. She is the author of Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea (New Directions Publishing Corporation 2009), The Iraqi Nights (New Directions Publishing Corporation 2014), The Beekeeper (New Directions Publishing Corporation 2018), In Her Feminine Sign (New Directions Publishing Corporation...


Aaron Caycedo-Kimura — What’s Kept Alive

At the hingepoint of change, a poet walks through the garden his late father planted. Aaron Caycedo-Kimura is a writer and visual artist. He is the author of two poetry collections: Ubasute (Slapering Hol Press 2021), which won the 2020 Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Competition, and the full-length collection Common Grace (Beacon Press 2022). His honors include a Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry, a St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in Literature, and nominations for...


Kevin Goodan — We give…

Firefighting pushes the body to breaking point; Kevin Goodan’s poem locates the “ash-dark art” of firefighting not just in the wilderness where the team worked, but in the muscles of the firefighters. Kevin Goodan was born in Montana and raised on the Flathead Indian Reservation where his stepfather and brothers are tribal members. Goodan earned his BA from the University of Montana and worked as a firefighter for ten years with the U.S. Forest Service before receiving his MFA from...


David Whyte — Leaving the Island

Sometimes leaving feels like you’re splitting yourself in two, but you leave anyway. What compels us? What holds us together even as we look back? David Whyte’s poem combines pain and promise as someone is both departing and venturing at the same time. David Whyte is the author of many books of poetry and prose. He grew up with a strong, imaginative influence from his Irish mother among the hills and valleys of his father’s Yorkshire. He now makes his home in the Pacific Northwest of the...


Andrés N. Ordorica — Mis raíces

What is the landscape that has most influenced you? When do you go there? In person? Andrés N. Ordorica goes in dreams. Andrés N. Ordorica is a queer Latinx writer based in Edinburgh. His writing attempts to map the journey of his diasporic experience and unpack what it means to be from ni de aquí, ni de allá. His writing has been published widely and he regularly features at festivals around the UK. He is the recipient of a Second Life grant through the Edwin Morgan Trust. In 2021, his...


Laura Villareal — My Worries Have Worries

If you were to use a metaphor for your worries, what metaphor would you turn to? Here, the worries have worry babies of their own. And they look back at the poet. What do they see? Laura Villareal is the author of Girl’s Guide to Leaving (University of Wisconsin Press 2022), The Cartography of Sleep (Nostrovia! Press 2018), and Poems to Carry in Your Pocket (L'Éphémère Review 2018). Villareal interviews writers for the series “Writers Talking about Anything But Writing” at F(r)iction. Find...


Stephanie Burt — Prayer for Werewolves

The search for authentic love is a powerful hunger in humans and, as Stephanie Burt shares, in werewolves. Stephanie Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor with nine published books, including two critical books on poetry and three poetry collections. Her essay collection Close Calls with Nonsense was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other works include We Are Mermaids; Advice from the Lights; The Poem Is You: 60 Contemporary American Poems and How to Read...


Fiona Benson — Mama Cockroach, I Love You

Do you experience disgust at the sight of certain insects? Which ones? Fiona Benson teaches us how to see. Fiona Benson is the author of several poetry collections including Bright Travellers (Jonathan Cape 2014), Vertigo & Ghost (Jonathan Cape 2019), and Ephemeron (Jonathan Cape 2022). She is the winner of the 2015 Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for Bright Travellers and the Forward Prize for Vertigo & Ghost. In 2019, Fiona collaborated with sound artists Mair Bosworth and Eliza Lomas for...


Saddiq Dzukogi — Learning about Constellations

A man whose baby daughter has died turns to stars, mythology, and imagination for solace. There, he encounters what might help, a little. Saddiq Dzukogi is a poet and professor of English at Mississippi State University. He is the author of Your Crib, My Qibla (University of Nebraska Press, 2021), and winner of the 2021 Derek Walcott Prize for Poetry. Dzukogi is completing a PhD in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org. We’re...


Adam Zagajewski — Transformation

What do you do when what sustains you no longer sustains you? A poet tries everything he can to reconnect with his art. Adam Zagajewski was a Polish poet and novelist born at the end of World War II. English translations of his books of poetry include Mysticism for Beginners (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1999), Without End (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2003), Eternal Enemies (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2009), and Asymmetry (Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2019). Zagajewski was the recipient of a...


Carolina Ebeid — Reading Celan in a Subway Station

The sounds of a city can be overwhelming — but in the imagination of this poem, they are made into something new. Carolina Ebeid is a multimedia poet. Her first book, You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior, was published by Noemi Press as part of the Akrilica Series, and selected as one of ten best debuts of 2016 by Poets & Writers. Her work has been supported by the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, Bread Loaf, CantoMundo, as well as a residency fellowship from the Lannan...


Molly Twomey — The Drop Off

Asking for help is a thing of bravery. A poet describes her journey towards that help. Molly Twomey is a poet and editor from Lismore, County Waterford in Ireland. Twomey graduated in 2019 with a Masters in Creative Writing from University College Cork. Her work has been featured in Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Banshee, The Irish Times, Mslexia, and The Stinging Fly, among other publications. Twomey is the host of the monthly poetry discussion “Just to Say,” sponsored by Jacar...