title

Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People)

Rachel Zucker

17
Followers
27
Plays
Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People)

Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People)

Rachel Zucker

17
Followers
27
Plays
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About Us

Intimate and compelling interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and other artists. Become a Patron & support our growing podcast! www.patreon.com/commonplacepodcast

Latest Episodes

Episode 84: M. NourbeSe Philip

Host Rachel Zucker speaks with poet, playwright, novelist and anti-racist activist M. NourbeSe Philip the day after Philip received the 2020 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature in New York. Rachel begins by asking M. NourbeSe about a line in her acceptance speech: “Being must be sufficient and not contingent.” They talk about “Sawubona,” a greeting used by Zulu and other African cultures, meaning “I see you,” and discuss why M. NourbeSe calls motherhood a form of radical hospitality with organizing principles that stand in critical opposition to those of white supremacy and colonization. M. NourbeSe talks about a healthy distrust of the English language and the impact of a colonial education—for instance, being tested on Wordsworth’s daffodils on her exams when she had never seen one—and the poem she wants to write about Trinidad and Tobago’s golden Poui trees instead. M. NourbeSe also describes the feeling of working at the margins or brink of visible Caribbean literature, writing/living/speaking in a language that is yours but not your ancestors, and how to break open the language in order to express that which cannot be expressed in English. M. NourbeSe explains why she feels like she could only have written She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks and Looking for Livingstone in Canada, while also, at times, feeling like a disappeared writer in Canada. Rachel and M. NourbeSe reflect on the role of “difficulty” in M. NourbeSe’s writing, what is the “right” part/direction of the page, and our capacities to imagine beyond the binary of capitalism and socialism and to imagine freedom and ways of being beyond the constraints of our existing language.

95 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 84: M. NourbeSe Philip

Episode 83: Darcey Steinke

ERachel Zucker speaks with Darcey Steinke about her recent genre-fluid memoir, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of the Natural Life. Steinke describes her first hot flash, how she came to be fascinated by female killer whales and how important it is to see the changes associated with menopause not as symptoms of disease but as signs of transitioning into a new phase of leadership and power. Steinke talks about how memoirs by trans writers were especially helpful for her when searching for a book to help her through this life transition. Steinke talks about how she began to think of herself as a creature/animal, back surgery, stuttering, faith, going toward brokenness rather than perfection, her mother, her spiritual practices, singing, the authentic self, and why she doesn’t think trying to stay the same is a very good strategy.

82 MINMAR 4
Comments
Episode 83: Darcey Steinke

Episode 82: Maggie Nelson

Rachel Zucker speaks to poet, critic and professor Maggie Nelson about her new manuscript-in-progress, what it feels like to have written two unusually successful small press books, her (non) relationship to the internet, going on tour, book parties, what it’s like to be in the role of mentor and how that changes her relationship to her mentors, the sadistic edge of being a student, why she only writes about people she likes and hardly writes reviews, freedom and care, ways of demonstrating compassion, suspending reactivity, spiritual practice, midlife notions of emancipation, motherhood, how to develop methodologies to combat the anxiety of aging, how to honor various states (and ages) of knowing, whether libretory or emancipatory projects are a young person’s game, what is not transmittable across generations, disentanglement vs. entanglement, lucidity, and so much more.

104 MINFEB 13
Comments
Episode 82: Maggie Nelson

Episode 81: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 2

Episode 81 is part two in the story of Commonplace’s March 2019 journey to Taiwan. For the first time in Commonplace herstory, the episode is not hosted by Rachel Zucker and is, instead, guided by Commonplace producer and social media director, Doreen Wang. The episode opens with a brief history of Taiwan and is followed by conversations that Rachel and Doreen had with two highly-regarded independent bookstores in the Taipei area. At Brilliant Time Bookstore, they speak with Mr. CHANG Cheng about viewing Taiwan in relationship to its neighboring Southeast Asian countries and in relationship to the many Southeast Asians living inside of Taiwan. They also speak about Mr. CHANG’s lifelong dedication toward building a fair and just society in Taiwan, no matter the island’s future. At FemBooks, Rachel and Doreen speak with its manager LI Xiumei (Sophie) and KANG Min Jay, a professor at National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Building and Planning. Both talk about how they ...

64 MINJAN 27
Comments
Episode 81: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 2

Episode 80: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 1

In 2019, Rachel traveled to Taiwan with her son Moses and met up with Commonplace team member Doreen Wang. In a conversation with Moses, Rachel discusses why they traveled to Taiwan in the first place and her late mother Diane Wolkstein’s special connection to the country. In a separate conversation, Doreen talks about why she chose to return to Taiwan after living in New York City for many years. This is the first of a two-part series that takes place in Taiwan. The second part, featuring conversations with booksellers in Taipei, will post soon.

94 MINJAN 21
Comments
Episode 80: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 1

Episode 79: Christine Larusso

Rachel Zucker speaks to poet and Commonplace producer Christine Larusso about Christine’s newly released poetry collection, There Will Be No More Daughters. They talk about how the manuscript changed over the years and even after it was accepted for publication. Larusso describes winning the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writers Residency Prize and the ancestral research she did during that residency. Larusso talks about the difficulty of protecting her writing life, her decision to move back to her hometown of Los Angeles, and her decision to be childfree. Zucker and Larusso talk about East Coast v. West Coast and the evolution of their relationship from teacher-student to boss-employee to friends.

96 MIN2019 DEC 18
Comments
Episode 79: Christine Larusso

Episode 78: Anne Boyer

Rachel Zucker speaks to poet Anne Boyer about The Undying, her recently published non-fiction book about having had highly-aggressive triple negative breast cancer. Boyer talks about a recent dream she had, the motivating fires of vengeance and love, and how to keep the door to hell open long enough to write one word at a time despite the disabling physical and emotional effects of cancer treatment. Zucker and Boyer discuss what happens when poets face the larger market, trusting readers, how to break out of the pressure to perform certain modes of self-expression, a feminist future where there can be more than one smart woman in a room, the pornography of authenticity, the relationship between poiesis and critique and why it’s important to resist the allure of criticism, resisting the pressure to create spectacles of suffering, how to find the least-alienating way to be inside alienating structures, the problem with pink-ribbon culture, the shortcomings of “empowerment feminism,...

121 MIN2019 NOV 27
Comments
Episode 78: Anne Boyer

Episode 77: Tina Chang

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet and professor Tina Chang about her new book, Hybrida, how re-envisioning fairytales led to the writing of her new poems about raising a mixed-race black child in a post-Trayvon Martin era, about real and imagined fears of motherhood, and what it means to write in a language of mothers that is not a language of ownership. Chang talks about learning the rules of poetry (and traditional forms) and later searching for more flexible (female? maternal?) forms like the zuihitsu that might contain shopping lists and hyperlinks and also help us speak about race, history and violence. Chang and Zucker also discuss teaching, literary influences and the effect on their mothering of having been intermittently separated from their own mothers at a young age.

107 MIN2019 NOV 18
Comments
Episode 77: Tina Chang

Episode 76: Ada Limón

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet Ada Limón about her life as a poet, especially her two most recent books, The Carrying and Bright Dead Things. Limón speaks openly about contests and prizes, money, taboos around performance, her decision to stop trying to have children, writing about secrets, the privilege of being a writer, leaning toward gratitude, pinning the dragon of the mind to the page, writing as a shareable space and a form of connection and so much more.Books by Ada LimónThe Carrying (Milkweed, 2018)Bright Dead Things (Milkweed, 2015)Sharks in the Rivers (Milkweed, 2010)lucky wreck (Autumn House, 2006)This Big Fake World (Pearl Poetry Prize series, 2006)Other Relevant LinksThe theory and play of duende by LorcaAdrian Matejka’s One Big SmokeNyorican PoetryEpisode 16: Jericho BrownCD WrightBernadette Mayer’s conversation with Charles BernsteinEpisode 60: Robin Coste LewisRobin Coste Lewis’ acceptance speech for NBAAda Limon’s acceptance speech for NBCCAOne Art by Elizab...

105 MIN2019 OCT 29
Comments
Episode 76: Ada Limón

Episode 75: Victoria Chang

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet, editor, teacher and former marketing consultant Victoria Chang about what writing in the third person makes possible, the liberation of formal constraints, mom-on-mom violence, how the literary community has changed over the years, how poetry finds us, shame, masks, letting poems tell you what to do, loving editing more than writing, community and difference, and the many kinds of literary and non-literary labor each of them does. They speak about Victoria’s recent book Barbie Chang and about Victoria’s forthcoming book, Obit, and so much more.

110 MIN2019 OCT 4
Comments
Episode 75: Victoria Chang

Latest Episodes

Episode 84: M. NourbeSe Philip

Host Rachel Zucker speaks with poet, playwright, novelist and anti-racist activist M. NourbeSe Philip the day after Philip received the 2020 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature in New York. Rachel begins by asking M. NourbeSe about a line in her acceptance speech: “Being must be sufficient and not contingent.” They talk about “Sawubona,” a greeting used by Zulu and other African cultures, meaning “I see you,” and discuss why M. NourbeSe calls motherhood a form of radical hospitality with organizing principles that stand in critical opposition to those of white supremacy and colonization. M. NourbeSe talks about a healthy distrust of the English language and the impact of a colonial education—for instance, being tested on Wordsworth’s daffodils on her exams when she had never seen one—and the poem she wants to write about Trinidad and Tobago’s golden Poui trees instead. M. NourbeSe also describes the feeling of working at the margins or brink of visible Caribbean literature, writing/living/speaking in a language that is yours but not your ancestors, and how to break open the language in order to express that which cannot be expressed in English. M. NourbeSe explains why she feels like she could only have written She Tries Her Tongue, Her Silence Softly Breaks and Looking for Livingstone in Canada, while also, at times, feeling like a disappeared writer in Canada. Rachel and M. NourbeSe reflect on the role of “difficulty” in M. NourbeSe’s writing, what is the “right” part/direction of the page, and our capacities to imagine beyond the binary of capitalism and socialism and to imagine freedom and ways of being beyond the constraints of our existing language.

95 MIN1 w ago
Comments
Episode 84: M. NourbeSe Philip

Episode 83: Darcey Steinke

ERachel Zucker speaks with Darcey Steinke about her recent genre-fluid memoir, Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of the Natural Life. Steinke describes her first hot flash, how she came to be fascinated by female killer whales and how important it is to see the changes associated with menopause not as symptoms of disease but as signs of transitioning into a new phase of leadership and power. Steinke talks about how memoirs by trans writers were especially helpful for her when searching for a book to help her through this life transition. Steinke talks about how she began to think of herself as a creature/animal, back surgery, stuttering, faith, going toward brokenness rather than perfection, her mother, her spiritual practices, singing, the authentic self, and why she doesn’t think trying to stay the same is a very good strategy.

82 MINMAR 4
Comments
Episode 83: Darcey Steinke

Episode 82: Maggie Nelson

Rachel Zucker speaks to poet, critic and professor Maggie Nelson about her new manuscript-in-progress, what it feels like to have written two unusually successful small press books, her (non) relationship to the internet, going on tour, book parties, what it’s like to be in the role of mentor and how that changes her relationship to her mentors, the sadistic edge of being a student, why she only writes about people she likes and hardly writes reviews, freedom and care, ways of demonstrating compassion, suspending reactivity, spiritual practice, midlife notions of emancipation, motherhood, how to develop methodologies to combat the anxiety of aging, how to honor various states (and ages) of knowing, whether libretory or emancipatory projects are a young person’s game, what is not transmittable across generations, disentanglement vs. entanglement, lucidity, and so much more.

104 MINFEB 13
Comments
Episode 82: Maggie Nelson

Episode 81: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 2

Episode 81 is part two in the story of Commonplace’s March 2019 journey to Taiwan. For the first time in Commonplace herstory, the episode is not hosted by Rachel Zucker and is, instead, guided by Commonplace producer and social media director, Doreen Wang. The episode opens with a brief history of Taiwan and is followed by conversations that Rachel and Doreen had with two highly-regarded independent bookstores in the Taipei area. At Brilliant Time Bookstore, they speak with Mr. CHANG Cheng about viewing Taiwan in relationship to its neighboring Southeast Asian countries and in relationship to the many Southeast Asians living inside of Taiwan. They also speak about Mr. CHANG’s lifelong dedication toward building a fair and just society in Taiwan, no matter the island’s future. At FemBooks, Rachel and Doreen speak with its manager LI Xiumei (Sophie) and KANG Min Jay, a professor at National Taiwan University’s Graduate Institute of Building and Planning. Both talk about how they ...

64 MINJAN 27
Comments
Episode 81: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 2

Episode 80: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 1

In 2019, Rachel traveled to Taiwan with her son Moses and met up with Commonplace team member Doreen Wang. In a conversation with Moses, Rachel discusses why they traveled to Taiwan in the first place and her late mother Diane Wolkstein’s special connection to the country. In a separate conversation, Doreen talks about why she chose to return to Taiwan after living in New York City for many years. This is the first of a two-part series that takes place in Taiwan. The second part, featuring conversations with booksellers in Taipei, will post soon.

94 MINJAN 21
Comments
Episode 80: Commonplace goes to Taiwan, Part 1

Episode 79: Christine Larusso

Rachel Zucker speaks to poet and Commonplace producer Christine Larusso about Christine’s newly released poetry collection, There Will Be No More Daughters. They talk about how the manuscript changed over the years and even after it was accepted for publication. Larusso describes winning the Madeleine P. Plonsker Emerging Writers Residency Prize and the ancestral research she did during that residency. Larusso talks about the difficulty of protecting her writing life, her decision to move back to her hometown of Los Angeles, and her decision to be childfree. Zucker and Larusso talk about East Coast v. West Coast and the evolution of their relationship from teacher-student to boss-employee to friends.

96 MIN2019 DEC 18
Comments
Episode 79: Christine Larusso

Episode 78: Anne Boyer

Rachel Zucker speaks to poet Anne Boyer about The Undying, her recently published non-fiction book about having had highly-aggressive triple negative breast cancer. Boyer talks about a recent dream she had, the motivating fires of vengeance and love, and how to keep the door to hell open long enough to write one word at a time despite the disabling physical and emotional effects of cancer treatment. Zucker and Boyer discuss what happens when poets face the larger market, trusting readers, how to break out of the pressure to perform certain modes of self-expression, a feminist future where there can be more than one smart woman in a room, the pornography of authenticity, the relationship between poiesis and critique and why it’s important to resist the allure of criticism, resisting the pressure to create spectacles of suffering, how to find the least-alienating way to be inside alienating structures, the problem with pink-ribbon culture, the shortcomings of “empowerment feminism,...

121 MIN2019 NOV 27
Comments
Episode 78: Anne Boyer

Episode 77: Tina Chang

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet and professor Tina Chang about her new book, Hybrida, how re-envisioning fairytales led to the writing of her new poems about raising a mixed-race black child in a post-Trayvon Martin era, about real and imagined fears of motherhood, and what it means to write in a language of mothers that is not a language of ownership. Chang talks about learning the rules of poetry (and traditional forms) and later searching for more flexible (female? maternal?) forms like the zuihitsu that might contain shopping lists and hyperlinks and also help us speak about race, history and violence. Chang and Zucker also discuss teaching, literary influences and the effect on their mothering of having been intermittently separated from their own mothers at a young age.

107 MIN2019 NOV 18
Comments
Episode 77: Tina Chang

Episode 76: Ada Limón

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet Ada Limón about her life as a poet, especially her two most recent books, The Carrying and Bright Dead Things. Limón speaks openly about contests and prizes, money, taboos around performance, her decision to stop trying to have children, writing about secrets, the privilege of being a writer, leaning toward gratitude, pinning the dragon of the mind to the page, writing as a shareable space and a form of connection and so much more.Books by Ada LimónThe Carrying (Milkweed, 2018)Bright Dead Things (Milkweed, 2015)Sharks in the Rivers (Milkweed, 2010)lucky wreck (Autumn House, 2006)This Big Fake World (Pearl Poetry Prize series, 2006)Other Relevant LinksThe theory and play of duende by LorcaAdrian Matejka’s One Big SmokeNyorican PoetryEpisode 16: Jericho BrownCD WrightBernadette Mayer’s conversation with Charles BernsteinEpisode 60: Robin Coste LewisRobin Coste Lewis’ acceptance speech for NBAAda Limon’s acceptance speech for NBCCAOne Art by Elizab...

105 MIN2019 OCT 29
Comments
Episode 76: Ada Limón

Episode 75: Victoria Chang

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet, editor, teacher and former marketing consultant Victoria Chang about what writing in the third person makes possible, the liberation of formal constraints, mom-on-mom violence, how the literary community has changed over the years, how poetry finds us, shame, masks, letting poems tell you what to do, loving editing more than writing, community and difference, and the many kinds of literary and non-literary labor each of them does. They speak about Victoria’s recent book Barbie Chang and about Victoria’s forthcoming book, Obit, and so much more.

110 MIN2019 OCT 4
Comments
Episode 75: Victoria Chang
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