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World Wide Poetry Studio

It's Just a Little Prick

An Interview with Peter Goldsworthy, Conducted by Ryan Van Winkle

Peter Goldsworthy is an Australian man-of-letters with a wide-range of accomplishments and accolades. He's a novelist, a poet, an essayist and (where does he find the time?) a doctor. In a sprawling, in-depth, conversation recorded at the Clunes Booktown Festival in Australia we talked about the variety and scope of his work. The excerpt here is a small fraction of the insight, humour and sheer story-telling prowess on display in our original interview.

Ryan Van Winkle: The Scottish poet Norman MacCaig always claimed writers who did both tended to write novels to make money, but always felt poetry was the “real thing”. Do you have a particular loyalty?

'Poems are a Lightning Rod'

An Interview with Paula Meehan, conducted by Ryan Van Winkle

Paula Meehan is an extraordinary poet from a country reknowned for extraordinary poets. She is attuned to the tragedy, turmoil, and suffering of people both close to her and far away. Her work boldly stares down and seems to absorb trauma while remaining startling upbeat, caring, and even optimistic. We began this excerpt from my Scottish Poetry Library podcast by talking about her home in Ireland.

The Border Between Sadness & Joy

by Ryan Van Winkle

When I met Adam Zagajewski I was humbled by both his work and his life story. Further − as we discuss below − he has an impressive list of accolades and awards which include the Bronze Cross of Merit, and he has twice received the Officer's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and won the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. It is a joke among friends, says Polish publisher Jerzy Illg, “that Adam already won the Nobel Prize many years ago.” In the original podcast, you'll hear more about Zagajewski's work, but I wanted to share his thoughts on a how a poet deals with the (very rare) problem of recognition.

RVW: What resonates with me in much of your work is this vast, sad inner life, a loneliness that seems to come from a place of contentedness.

The Taste of Your Own Tongue in Your Own Mouth

by Ryan Van Winkle

As 2014 begins, I wanted to share this excerpt from my podcast with Jane Hirshfield. She was kind enough to invite me into her home near San Francisco, and we had a sprawling conversation that hardly exhausted itself by the time I had to leave. Since that day I’ve held Jane's New Year ritual in my mind, as well as the poems she shared, which I'll always associate with her home and her generosity as a human and a poet.

RVW: Tell me a little about your widely read and celebrated poem “Tree.”

We Can Talk About These Things

World Wide Poetry Studio Interviews Alvin Pang
Alvin Pang
Alvin Pang is a Singaporean poet whose latest book, When the Barbarians Arrive features new and selected poems. I, of course, wanted to talk to him about his satirical, shrewd, and energetic poems (and in the full podcast you will hear that) but we also had an enlightening digression about his work as an editor and advocate for Singapore's diverse poetry scene. I had no idea!

Simple, Clichéd Phrases can have Profound Meaning

World Wide Poetry Studio Interviews Michael Symmons Roberts
Michael Symmons Roberts
I was recently commissioned to write a poem for a bio-medicine and poetry project happening in the UK. As I set about writing and researching my contribution, I thought of the poet Michael Symmons Roberts whose most recent collection, Drysalter, is earning a tremendous amount of praise and has been shortlisted for the 2013 Forward Prize. We had a lengthy conversation, but here is an excerpt of Roberts and me discussing a couple of his commissioned poems.

Everyone Can Write A Gloomy Poem, or At Awhitu There’s Just Walking and Resting, Writing, Reading

An Interview with Sarah Broom, Conducted by Ryan Van Winkle
Photo of Sarah Broom
Sarah Broom's first collection was completed after learning she had stage-four lung cancer in 2008. At twenty-eight weeks pregnant, she was given only months to live. When blogger Ryan Van Winkle met her in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2011 she had given birth to her daughter and was bravely writing her second collection, Gleam, while submitting herself to an exhausting regime of drug trials and treatments in Auckland, Melbourne, and Boston.

Golan Haji - Every Writing is a Translation

An Interview with Kurdish Poet, Golan Haji
Photo of Golan Haji; Photo Credit: Mikel Krumins

Golan Haji – Every Writing is a Translation

A pathologist and doctor, Golan Haji's literary career includes several collections of poetry; an Arabic translation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde; and numerous appearances at festivals worldwide. His first collection won the al-Maghut prize and his latest, A Cold Faraway Home, will be published soon in Beirut. He lived in Damascus until he had to flee his country in 2011. He settled in France.

Mary Ruefle: Recognising the Knock

World Wide Poetry Studio with Ryan Van Winkle
Picture of Mary Ruefle

I met Mary Ruefle in her home in Vermont. Over cigarettes and coffee and among a plethora of brilliant ephemera (a tiny deck of playing cards, vintage Christmas decorations) we had an amazing conversation about her life and her body of work as a poet and an artist. One thing which remained with me long after our interview, was Mary's dedication to play. In her own words:

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