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 7: Cathy Park Hong

Episode 7: Cathy Park Hong

Rachel Zucker speaks with Cathy Park Hong, author of three books of poetry, professor at Sarah Lawrence, and recipient of the NEA, NYFA and Fulbright fellowships. They discuss how motherhood can change one’s poetic aesthetic, the limitations of poetry and prose, the intersections of poetry and politics, and the new phenomenon of “viral poems.” Cathy Park Hong shares her thoughts on why she uses persona and shifting pronouns in her poetry, and how writing nonfiction allows her to be more personal. Their conversation explores both poets’ optimism about and frustration with poetry.



Cathy Park Hong’s books:

Translating Mo’Um (Hanging Loose Press, 2002)

Dance Dance Revolution (W.W. Norton, 2008)

Engine Empire (W.W. Norton, 2013)

She also appeared in the Gurlesque anthology.

Here’s a video of her reading her poem “Get Away From it All”

Other writing by Cathy Park Hong

Delusions of Whiteness in the Avant-Garde”: an essay published in Lana Turner

“There’s a New Movement in American Poetry and It’s Not Kenneth Goldsmith”: an essay published in The New Republic

Memories and Thoughts on Adrienne Rich”: an essay in Harriet

Forecasts, a poem/video project produced for Triple Canopy, in collaboration with Adam Shecter

The Rub, a project produced for the New Museum in collaboration with Mores McWreath

Books and essays mentioned in this episode

The Gold Star Awards”: a statement by The Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo in Harriet

We Need Diverse Diverse Books”: an essay by Matthew Salesses in LitHub

The Rejection of Closure”: a talk by Lyn Hejinian, transcribed and published by the Poetry Foundation

The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich (W.W. Norton, 2013)

Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf, 2016)

Blackacre by Monica Youn (Graywolf, 2016)

The Program Era by Mark McGurl (Harvard University Press, 2009)

In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman (Picador, 2015)

Related works by other writers

The Racial Imaginary: Writers on Race in the Life of the Mind, an anthology edited by Claudia Rankine (Fence, 2016)

The Collected Poems of Adrienne Rich (W.W. Norton, 2016)

White Debt,” an essay by Eula Biss, published in the New York Times Magazine

In the Same Breath: The Racial Politics of the Best American Poetry 2014” by Isaac Ginsberg Miller, published in the American Poetry Review

Episode 8: Craig Morgan Teicher

Episode 8: Craig Morgan Teicher

Episode 6: Erika Meitner

Episode 6: Erika Meitner