Episode 7: Robert Hass & Ada Limón
Sharks in the Rivers Ada Limón We’ll say unbelievable things to each other in the early morning— our blue coming up from our roots, our water rising in our extraordinary limbs. All night I dreamt of bonfires and burn piles and ghosts of men, and spirits behind those birds of flame. I cannot tell anymore when a door opens or closes, I can only hear the frame saying, Walk through. It is a short walkway— into another bedroom. Consider the handle. Consider the key. I say to a...
Episode 6: Constantine Cavafy & Linda Gregg
Waiting for the Barbarians by C.P. Cavafy translation by Edmund Keely What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum? The barbarians are due here today. Why isn’t anything going on in the senate? Why are the senators sitting there without legislating? Because the barbarians are coming today. What’s the point of senators making laws now? Once the barbarians are here, they’ll do the legislating. Why did our emperor get up so early, and why is he sitting enthroned at the city’s main...
Episode 5: Tracy K. Smith & Donald Revell
Duende by Tracy K. Smith 1. The earth is dry and they live wanting. Each with a small reservoir Of furious music heavy in the throat. They drag it out and with nails in their feet Coax the night into being. Brief believing. A skirt shimmering with sequins and lies. And in this night that is not night, Each word is a wish, each phrase A shape their bodies ache to fill— I’m going to braid my hair Braid many colors into my hair I’ll put a long braid in my hair And write your...
Episode 4: Rae Armantrout & Li Po
Exact by Rae Armantrout Quick, before you die, describe the exact shade of this hotel carpet. What is the meaning of the irregular, yellow spheres, some hollow, gathered in patches on this bedspread? If you love me, worship the objects I have caused to represent me in my absence. * Over and over tiers of houses spill pleasantly down that hillside. It might be possible to count occurrences. 獨坐敬亭山 李白 眾鳥高飛盡 孤雲獨去閑 相看兩不厭 只有敬亭山 Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain by...
Episode 3: Carl Sandburg & Cesar Vallejo with Guest Reader Yago Cura
I Should Like to Be Hanged on a Sunday Afternoon By Carl Sandburg I have often thought I should like to be hanged On a summer afternoon in daylight, the sun shining and bands playing, In a park or a public square or a main street corner, everybody in town looking on and talking about it, Newspaper extras spelling my name in tall headlines telling the town I am getting hanged. And I smile to the sheriff and say he will be laughed at if the rope breaks And he goes puttering, solemn,...
Episode 2: Louise Glück & Yusef Komunyakaa
Vespers Louise Glück In your extended absence, you permit me use of earth, anticipating some return on investment. I must report failure in my assignment, principally regarding the tomato plants. I think I should not be encouraged to grow tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold the heavy rains, the cold nights that come so often here, while other regions get twelve weeks of summer. All this belongs to you: on the other hand, I planted the seeds, I watched the first...
Episode 1: Robinson Jeffers & John Berryman
Rock and Hawk Robinson Jeffers Here is a symbol in which Many high tragic thoughts Watch their own eyes. This gray rock, standing tall On the headland, where the seawind Lets no tree grow, Earthquake-proved, and signatured By ages of storms: on its peak A falcon has perched. I think, here is your emblem To hang in the future sky; Not the cross, not the hive, But this; bright power, dark peace; Fierce consciousness joined with final Disinterestedness; Life with calm death;...