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 58: Cate Marvin

Episode 58: Cate Marvin

Rachel Zucker speaks with poet and professor Cate Marvin, author of Oracle, A Fragment of the Queen’s Head, and The World’s Tallest Disaster, co-editor of Legitimate Dangers and co-founder and former president of VIDA “a non-profit feminist organization committed to creating transparency around the lack of gender parity in the literary landscape.” Marvin talks about moving from Staten Island, NY to Scarborough, ME, teaching at different types of educational institutions, writing about childhood, therapy, Charlotte Mew, writing longer pieces,  writing prose, being a single mom, her summer schedule, working at the public library, gardening, why her poems are getting messier, alcohol, her first kiss, smoking, being married, her decision to have a child on her own, narcissism, literary citizenship, her Tillie Olsen feminist awakening, starting VIDA, stepping away from VIDA, money, power, re-thinking social media, why she’s a poet, why writing poetry matters, knowing when it’s time to revise, and her flower tattoo.


Books by Cate Marvin

Oracle (W.W. Norton, 2016)

Fragment of the Head of a Queen (Sarabande, 2007)

World’s Tallest Disaster (Sarabande, 2001)

Legitimate Dangers (Editor, with Michael Dumanis, Sarabande, 2006)

Other Books and Writers Mentioned in the Episode

Charlotte Mew

Kafka’s Metamorphosis (Norton Critical Editions, 2015)

Please Excuse this Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation; edited by Brett Fletcher Lauer and Lynn Melnick (Viking)

250 Poems: A Portable Anthology by Peter Schakel and Jack Ridl (Bedford/St. Martin’s)

Robert Creeley

Paul Celan

Gerard Manley Hopkins

T.S. Eliot

Women Poets on Mentorship: Efforts and Affections; edited by Arielle Greenberg and Rachel Zucker (University of Iowa Press)

Josh Bell’s poem “Zombie Sunday”

Andrew Marvell “To His Coy Mistress”

Adrienne Rich

Other Relevant Links


"Scent of a Woman's Ink" by Francine Prose

Tillie Olsen’s “I Stand Here Ironing”

Erin Belieu

Rick Barot


Episode 59: Alison S. M. Kobayashi

Episode 59: Alison S. M. Kobayashi

Episode 57: Dorothea Lasky

Episode 57: Dorothea Lasky