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 45: Tyehimba Jess

Episode 45: Tyehimba Jess

Rachel Zucker talks with poet Tyehimba Jess about his Pulitzer-prize-winning book, Olio. They talk about Scott Joplin, Henry Box Brown, Blind Boone, Blind Tom, Millie and Christine McCoy Twins, Edmonia Lewis, the Fisk Jubilee singers and the other historical figures in Jess’ book. They talk about minstrelsy, captivity, agency, wonder and play, and about the forms of the poems within the book including syncopated or contrapuntal sonnets, ghazal, golden shovel and other, and the unusual physical properties of the book. Jess talks about what it was like to write Olio, about having 11 years between his first two books, getting a handshake from Yusef Komunyakaa, living in Brooklyn and working on Staten Island, the tenure clock, trying live up to the challenges and expectations of an earlier project, growing up Catholic, his experience at Cave Canem, meeting Gwendolyn Brooks and being encouraged by her, and so much more.

 

Episode 46: Allison Parrish

Episode 46: Allison Parrish

Episode 44: Matthew Zapruder

Episode 44: Matthew Zapruder