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Commonwealth Poets United: Tolu Ogunlesi
November 25, 2015 08:42 AM PST
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It has been some time since this podcast was recorded with one of our Commonwealth Poets United visitors, Tolu Ogunlesi, however it feels like just the right time to release it as Tolu speaks so beautifully about how poetry platforms on the internet and new technologies such as email allowed him to become part of a global community of poets. In a time when the world feels fragile and where notions of borders and ownership seem fraught with complexities and power struggle, it is a relief to hear a poet speaking of poetry as a connecting force in his life, as a passport to new landscapes and ideas.

Tolu Ogunlesi is a journalist, poet, fiction-writer and photographer who lives in Lagos, Nigeria. His poetry collection Listen to the geckos singing from a balcony was published in 2004, and his work has been widely published in magazines and anthologies. https://toluogunlesi.wordpress.com/

Many thanks to James Iremonger for the music in this podcast: https://jamesiremonger.wordpress.com/tabla/

Edinburgh Festival Diary 2015
November 18, 2015 04:57 AM PST
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Come with us to the merry month of August, when all is bright, light and carnivalesque in Edinburgh. Yes, it's Festival time, and poetry is at the heart of the Scottish capital's various festivals. The SPL podcast team were there to capture the best of the fests, and they're all here in this podcast: Alan Spence, Loud Poets, Rachel McCrum, Juana Adcock, McGuire, Andy Jackson, Harry Giles and Sam Small.

[LineBreak] Alvin Pang: One More Ghost
November 03, 2015 05:00 PM PST
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The power of poetry comes partly from its ability to explode a language when it no longer feels adequate enough to explain the extraordinary times we live in. This month on The Line Break, Ryan talks to the Singapore-born poet, editor and translator - Alvin Pang - about multiculturalism and poetry as a force of resistance: against public expectations, political oppression and cultural efficiencies, as well as our own longings, ambivalences, lost hopes, fears and anxieties. Alvin recites a few of his extraordinary poems, and Ryan sets two more poetry sparks for you all to try out: writing family, and lashing out against bullies, bosses, and dictators.

Listeners to The Line Break can also join the The Line Break group on CAMPUS, the Poetry School’s free online community for poets. http://campus.poetryschool.com

Produced by Culture Laser Productions http://www.culturelaser.com @culturelaser

[LineBreak] Hilary Menos: Carrying Language
September 02, 2015 02:10 AM PDT
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This month's guest is Hilary Menos, farmer, poet and winner of the Forward Prize for Best First Collection 2010 for 'Berg'. Her most recent collection is 'Red Devon', which draws from her experience living in the Devonshire Domesday Manor which is now her home. In this interview, Hilary shares some of the crowdpleasing 'bankers' from her poetry set, writing poems in a slaughterhouse, and Ryan grills Hilary on her Superman knowledge. Plus - more sparks from Ryan. Produced by Culture Laser productions @culturelaser.

Speaking in Tongues: Bilingual Poetry
August 27, 2015 01:23 AM PDT
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In this podcast guest interviewer and multi-lingual writer and translator Jessica Johannesson Gaitán talks to 3 bilingual poets about what it means to have more than one mother tongue, feeling guilty or not about writing in big languages, translating one’s own poetry and much more!


Juana Adcock is a poet and translator working in English and Spanish. Her work has appeared in publications such as Magma Poetry, Gutter, Glasgow Review of Books,Asymptote and Words Without Borders. Her first book, Manca, explores the anatomy of violence in Mexico and was named by Reforma‘s distinguished critic Sergio González Rodríguez as one of the best poetry books published in 2014. http://jennivora.com/

Ioannis Kalkounos was born in Greece. He works at the Edinburgh City Libraries. In 2012 he read two short stories at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (Story Shop). His first collection of poems, dakryma, was published in 2011 (Athens, Dromon Publications).

Agnes Török is a spoken word performer, poetry workshop leader, poetry event organiser and Loud Poet. She is the winner of multiple Poetry Slams in three different countries and two different languages. Török has been featured as a TED speaker, on The Today Programme and BBC Radio Scotland. At 2014’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, she was a BBC Poetry Slam finalist and her collaborative spoken word show with the Loud Poets received several five-star reviews. Her one-woman spoken word show ‘Sorry I Don’t Speak Culture’ was awarded Best International Spoken Word Show at the Edinburgh Fringe (PBH).

Török is premiering her newest project ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It – Take This Survey’, a one-woman show about the science of happiness, at the Edinburgh Fringe on the 16th – 24th of august. The show is an expansion of her TED talk on studying happiness. http://agnestorok.org/

Jessica Johannesson Gaitán grew up in Sweden and Colombia and currently lives in Bath. Her poems and stories have appeared in Gutter and The Stinging Fly among other publications. She writes about translations at therookeryinthebookery.org

Many thanks to James Iremonger for the music in this podcast. https://jamesiremonger.wordpress.com/tabla/

Christine De Luca
August 12, 2015 12:17 AM PDT
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Edinburgh's Makar, or poet laureate, Christine De Luca wasn't born in the capital. In our latest podcast, she tells us about her childhood in Shetland, and how she's taken her native dialect around the world. She recalls the unexpected impact her poem about the Scottish Referendum 'The Morning After' had, and she talks about translating the Finnish epic The Kalevala.

[LineBreak] Mary Ruefle: Get Lost
August 05, 2015 12:00 AM PDT
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For our third episode, Ryan talks to the American poet Mary Ruefle about finding the joy in the solitary act of writing poetry, the need to talk to yourself, and we hear Mary read from a selection of her incredibly distinctive work. And there’s more poetry sparks for you to try out, re-working found text with Tippex, and getting lost in language.

Listeners to The Line Break can also join the The Line Break group on CAMPUS, the Poetry School’s free online community for poets.

This episode is produced by Culture Laser Productions @culturelaser with thanks to the Scottish Poetry Library for their support.

John Dennison
July 23, 2015 08:48 AM PDT
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In this podcast Jennifer Williams talks to New Zealand poet John Dennison about his new book Otherwise (Carcanet, 2015). They discuss the poem as microeconomy, what it means to be human, where God fits in to modern poetry and much more. This podcast was recorded at and in association with StAnza International Poetry Festival 2015.


John Dennison was born in Sydney in 1978. He grew up in Tawa, New Zealand and studied English literature at Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Otago. Having recently completed a PhD at the University of St Andrews, he now lives with his family in Wellington.

Music by James Iremonger (https://jamesiremonger.wordpress.com/tabla/).

Sheena Blackhall
July 08, 2015 08:19 AM PDT
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Sheena Blackhall is a poet, novelist, short story writer, illustrator, traditional story teller and singer who is the author, as the podcast explores, of over 100 poetry pamphlets. In 2009, she was made Aberdeen’s Makar or poet laureate you might put it. She writes in English, Scots and Doric. As a child and native speaker of Doric she faced the same prejudices and challenges that speakers of minority languages around the world have faced. In this podcast, Sheena talks about her love of Aberdeen, the worse place she’s ever written a poem and why she’s written so many pamphlets.

[LineBreak] Kwame Dawes: This Is Our Heart
June 30, 2015 03:07 PM PDT
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This month on The Line Break, Ryan re-visits an interview with poet and journalist Kwame Dawes and discusses the challenges of writing poetry about often painful world events, and how to find beauty, happiness and truth in the 'cesspools of experience' that follow. And Ryan sets out more of his 'poetry sparks', including how to write a blues poem.

Listeners to The Line Break can also join the The Line Break group on CAMPUS, the Poetry School’s free online community for poets. http://campus.poetryschool.com

This episode is produced by Culture Laser Productions http://www.culturelaser.com @culturelaser with thanks to the Scottish Poetry Library for their support.

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