A series of intimate and captivating interviews by Rachel Zucker with poets and artists about quotidian objects, experiences or obsessions, Commonplace conversations explore the recipes, advice, lists, anecdotes, quotes, politics, phobias, spiritual practices, and other non-Literary forms of knowledge that are vital to an artist’s life and work. One feels, when listening to Commonplace, the pleasure of eavesdropping on the kind of unexpected, intriguing connections that only happen when interesting people sit together in a small room and talk about their real concerns and ordinary lives.

Episode 5: Matthew Rohrer

Episode 5: Matthew Rohrer

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet Matthew Rohrer, author of eight books. The two discuss marriage, lightheartedness, serious poetic practice, little league baseball, and Rohrer’s collaboration with haiku masters in his most recent book, Surrounded by Friends. With jaunts into his own academic career and his influences, Rohrer speaks on his understanding of the New York School, an unpublished interview with Ron Padgett, and receiving criticism for being “too adoring.” The conversation touches on a variety of subjects, including Rohrer’s forthcoming book, his dreamed list of “what-not-to-do” in poetry, and the importance of addressing politics in his work.



Matthew Rohrer’s Books

Surrounded by Friends

Destroyer and Preserver

Rise Up

A Green Light

A Hummock in the Malookas


Nice Hat. Thanks. (Matthew Rohrer and Joshua Beckman)

Home/birth: a poemic (Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker)

Other Books and Sources Mentioned in this Episode

Visit PennSound to listen to James Schuyler read “Hymn to Life"

Robert Hass' Essential Haiku

Maggie Nelson's Women, the New York School, and Other True Abstractions

Episode 6: Erika Meitner

Episode 6: Erika Meitner

Episode 4: Claudia Rankine

Episode 4: Claudia Rankine