VS

VS

www.poetryfoundation.org
The VS podcast is a bi-weekly series where poets confront the ideas that move them. Hosted by poets Danez Smith and Franny Choi, produced by Daniel Kisslinger, and presented by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness.


Carl Phillips vs. the Erotic
Oct 13 • 70 min
Carl Phillips swings by the zoodio (zoom studio) for a ticklish and insightful convo on this episode. The poet and professor talks about the power of interiority, how his relationship to the erotic has changed as he’s grown older, and much more. NOTE:…
Ross Gay vs. Entanglement
Sep 29 • 67 min
Ross Gay joins VS with his boisterous laugh and brilliance on hand. The poet and professor breaks down the ways we’re all entangled, the elegant lessons mycelium can teach us for a post-capitalist world, getting undergrads to write sock puppet operas, and…
Airea D. Matthews vs. What Haunts
Sep 15 • 64 min
Airea D. Matthews knows her ghosts. The poet and professor talks with Franny and Danez about the spectres and phantasms that live in her work, the ways she wants her poems to exist beyond paper and ink, the journey back to her original name. Plus, a…
Aurielle Marie vs. Audacity
Sep 1 • 71 min
Aurielle Marie hops on the line, and the line will never be the same. The poet and organizer talks about the ways that her poetics and movement work are interwoven, her decision to walk away from a book deal, and much more! See more of Aurielle’s work:…
John Murillo vs. The Business
Aug 18 • 64 min
Danez and Franny hop on the ole zoom zoom with legendary poet and beard icon John Murillo. John talks about his new book Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry, learning how to focus on the work instead of po-biz, remembering who he writes for, and much more. Plus,…
Michael Lee vs. Grief
Aug 4 • 50 min
After Franny’s episode talking with Cam Awkward-Rich, Danez goes one-on-one with their buddy Michael Lee, a Norwegian-American writer, youth worker, and organizer in Minneapolis. The dynamic duo talks about grief’s place in poems, Michael’s traumatic…
Cameron Awkward-Rich vs. Ambivalence
Jul 21 • 53 min
On this very special one-on-one episode of VS, we get a peek inside the blanket fort that Franny has built and get to listen to her chat with poet and professor Cameron Awkward-Rich (who also happens to be her boo). They talk about the pros and cons of…
Statement from the VS Team
Jul 21 • 5 min
Paige Lewis vs. Tiny Things
Jun 2 • 71 min
Recorded back before COVID-19 sent the VS team home to different corners of the country, Franny and Danez sat down with poet Paige Lewis for a good ole fashioned in-person chat. Paige breaks down Beta Fish, the nonbinary epic they’re writing, the power of…
Chris Abani vs. Entanglement
May 19 • 87 min
You’ve just enrolled in one of the best classes anyone could ever take. This week’s guest, Chris Abani, is a master teacher, poet, screenwriter, and thinker who is ready to help you understand, even if the process kicks your butt a little. In this…
You vs. the Prompts
May 5 • 34 min
Y’all are some good-ass writers! When we put out the call for poems in response to our prompts, we didn’t know we were going to get such a wonderful collection of pieces from you beautiful listeners. We couldn’t include them all in Episode 6, so we put…
Franny and Danez vs. the Mailbag
May 5 • 52 min
On this #VSfromHome episode, Danez and Franny dip into a chock-full mailbag full of your wonderful questions! Plus, we hear seven poems that listeners wrote and submitted in response to the prompts that Danez and Franny shared two episodes ago. Want more…
Tara Betts vs. the Mask
Apr 21 • 66 min
Tara Betts is on a mission to be herself. The poet, editor, and professor comes through to talk about celebrating your people, her relationship with wearing the mask of respectability, the economic challenges of working as a poet, and much more. NOTE:…
Franny and Danez vs. the Couch
Apr 7 • 44 min
Well, turns out the world can turn upside down. In the midst of social isolation and self-isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Franny and Danez tapped in from their homes in Massachusetts and Minneapolis, respectively, to talk about how they’re…
Aricka Foreman vs. the Depths
Mar 24 • 59 min
Aricka Foreman is going deep. The formerly aspiring marine biologist and current excellent poet talks about her love of the ocean, her new collection Salt Body Shimmer, how she digs into the emotional depths and then pulls herself back out, and much more.…
Toaster vs. Big Kid Energy
Mar 10 • 53 min
This week’s guest, Toaster Henderson, is a poet, teaching artist at Young Chicago Authors, and cofounder of Big Kid Slam, an all-ages slam in Chicago that’s subverting the form’s expectations and carving some really great space for poets
Parneshia Jones vs. 2020
Feb 25 • 63 min
Season 4, y’all! Danez and Franny kick off the new year with Parneshia Jones. Parneshia is the author of Vessel, and serves as Editorial Director for Trade and Engagement at Northwestern University Press. They talk about the unique potential of art-making…
VS Live with Patricia Smith at Chicago Humanities Festival
Dec 10, 2019 • 62 min
Season 3 of VS goes out with a bang! Franny and Danez take the stage as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival with the true gawd of this poetry world Patricia Smith. They talk about the most bone-chilling prompt ever, discuss form as a way to invite…
Beyza Ozer vs. Taking Time
Nov 26, 2019 • 51 min
Beyza Ozer brings love into the room and into their gorgeous poems on this episode, the penultimate episode of Season 3! The squad talks about taking time away from poems until they feel urgent and necessary again, writing love poems, Katya from Drag Race…
Xandria Phillips vs. Digging vs. Running
Nov 12, 2019 • 67 min
Franny and Danez dig real damn deep with Xandria Phillips. They discuss their collection Hull, learning how to write and revise with beginners’ eyes, painting and color theory, and much more. This one is a deep dive in the best possible way. NOTE: Make…
VS Live at the Asian American Literature Festival with Cathy Linh Che, Joseph Legaspi, and Sarah Gambito
Oct 29, 2019 • 54 min
Live from the Asian American Literature Festival, it’s VS! Danez and Franny talk with Cathy Linh Che, Joseph Legaspi, and Sarah Gambito about the remarkable work they’ve done building and maintaining Kundiman. Plus we hear some beautiful poems by all…
Wo Chan vs. Drag
Oct 15, 2019 • 40 min
If hearing the brilliant Wo Chan talk with Danez and Franny about the mystical ritual of drag isn’t enough for you, maybe the spoiler alert that this episode is the first in VS history to need a crying break for all participants will get you to push that…
Cathy Park Hong vs. Triumph
Oct 1, 2019 • 53 min
Cathy Park Hong has some thoughts for you, and some thoughts on how best to share them. The poet and essayist talks about her newest essay collection Minor Feelings, waking people up from the American Dream, practicing poetry in the real world, and more.…
Yanyi vs. the Personal
Sep 17, 2019 • 49 min
Recorded at the Asian American Literature Festival in DC, Danez and Franny get a glimpse inside the pages and brain of wonderful poet and human Yanyi. They talk bringing their thoughts to the page, the magic of a prose poem, clarity and directness, and…
VS x Poetry Magazine Podcast Live in Portland with Eloisa Amezcua and Brenda Shaughnessy!
Sep 3, 2019 • 47 min
Listen in on a very special LIVE VS x Poetry Magazine Podcast crossover episode, live from Portland, Oregon! Danez and Franny are joined by Lindsay Garbutt, the cohost of the Poetry Magazine Podcast, and have a blast talking with poets Eloisa Amezcua and…
Ilya Kaminsky vs. The Republic
Aug 20, 2019 • 56 min
Ilya Kaminsky can weave beautiful sentences out of thin air, then build a narrative tapestry from them that is unlike any story you’ve ever read. The author of Dancing in Odessa and new book Deaf Republic talks with Danez and Franny about how narrative…
Diana Khoi Nguyen vs. Silence
Aug 6, 2019 • 62 min
Diana Khoi Nguyen is tackling silence. The poet and multimedia artist talks with Danez and Franny about writing into the spaces left by her late brother, splicing family videos, teaching MBA students to codeswitch, and interviewing the Vietnamese diaspora…
Morgan Parker vs. Now
Jul 23, 2019 • 62 min
Morgan Parker has some through-lines. The poet, editor, and YA novelist has been making and shaping literary work since third grade, when she launched her own publishing house (and hilarity ensued). She talks about follow-through, trying to do everything,…
VS Live in Mississippi w/ Helene Achanzar, Beth Ann Fennelly, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Jul 9, 2019 • 48 min
VS wraps up its visit to Oxford, Mississippi with a dynamite live show featuring the wonderful poets Helene Achanzar, Beth Ann Fennelly, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Recorded at Off Square Books in Downtown Oxford, the squad shares their poems as well as…
Aimee Nezhukumatathil vs. the Garden
Jun 25, 2019 • 49 min
Get your hands in the dirt on this wonderful episode with Aimee Nezhukumatathil. The brilliant poet and Ole Miss professor gives a status update on her garden, her son’s sock budget, writing without a veil, and literary friendships. Plus, a tattoo…
Julian Randall vs. Forgiveness
Jun 11, 2019 • 55 min
On our next dispatch from our visit to Oxford, Missisippi, our fearless hosts get into it with poet Julian Randall. Julian talks about wrestling with forgiveness, searching for records of his family in the nearby town of Water Valley, and how a workshop…
Derrick Harriell vs. the Clock
May 28, 2019 • 62 min
Franny and Danez kick it with Derrick Harriell, poet and Director of the MFA program at the University of Mississippi, where this episode was recorded. They talk remaking masculinity, flipping timelines through quantum theory, the anxiety of millennial…
Joshua Nguyen vs. Hometown Heroism
May 14, 2019 • 54 min
The VS Podcast squad pops down south to Oxford, MS for a handful of episodes featuring students and professors in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi. First up is hero Joshua Nguyen, who talks about bringing his hometown of Houston to the…
Daniel Borzutzky vs. the Desert
Apr 30, 2019 • 50 min
Daniel Borzutzky isn’t afraid of the fire–he’s determined to call it what it is. The poet, professor, and translator talks about the links between Chicago and Chile, the desert as a site of incarceration, how translating shapes his poetry, and facing the…
Tasha vs. the Nest
Apr 16, 2019 • 57 min
If you don’t fall head over heels with Tasha by the time you finish this episode, run this pod back and give it another shot because she is to die for. The singer, guitarist, songwriter, poet, and organizer stops by to talk nest-building, badass moms, and…
Camonghne Felix vs. Romance
Apr 2, 2019 • 60 min
Camonghne Felix is our president, a damn good poet, and a wonderful human. She sits down with Franny and Danez to talk about romance, heartbreak, flowers and phalanges, and her BRAND NEW collection Build Yourself a Boat, which is in stores now! NOTE: Make…
Pat Frazier vs. Solitude
Mar 19, 2019 • 52 min
Pat Frazier is the National Youth Poet Laureate of these here United States, and alone. Franny and Danez talk with Pat about the fertile soil of solitude, falling in love with horror movies, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and more. Plus, a poem…
Don Share vs. 150,000 Poems
Mar 5, 2019 • 63 min
Don Share is the editor of Poetry Magazine, a poet and translator, and a gem of a human. He chats with Danez and Franny about the mechanics and ethos of his job, Allen Ginsberg editing his first poem, what to do when reading a poem harms someone, and much…
Paul Tran vs. the Past
Feb 19, 2019 • 49 min
We back and we back and we back with Season 3! We start off a whole new season of the same ole shindig with the brilliant poet Paul Tran. They talk about learning history to ask the questions they had about their family, creating new a new poetic form,…
VS Live with Fatimah Asghar, José Olivarez, and Paul Tran
Jan 29, 2019 • 59 min
Happy new year y’all! VS returns with a special bonus episode to tide you over until Season 3 drops in February. In the meantime, savor and enjoy this live episode with the squad Fatimah Asghar, José Olivarez, and Paul Tran, recorded as part of the…
Jamila Woods vs. The Remedy
Dec 13, 2018 • 52 min
Can we fanperson out for a goshdarn second? We have the one and only Jamila Woods in the building! She talks about her family’s penchant for healing, sampling loopholes, lactose tolerance, bad interviews, and more.
Kara Jackson vs. Titles
Dec 4, 2018 • 57 min
This episode’s guest Kara Jackson is a poet, and she’s got the honorary prefix to prove it. She talks with Danez and Franny about being Chicago’s third Youth Poet Laureate, family nicknames in the South, introversion, and JONI MITCHELL. OH YES, JONI…
ReVS with Eve Ewing: Apocalypse Now
Nov 20, 2018 • 34 min
Hop in the wayback machine with us for our very first ReVS episode, in which we return to an already-released VS conversation and catch up with the ideas and themes that were discussed. On this ReVS, we jump back to our first episode ever, with the…
Jonathan Mendoza vs. The Movement
Nov 6, 2018 • 53 min
Jonathan Mendoza is a poet, performer, and organizer who’s just getting his feet under him here in Chicago. He previously did his organizing thang in Boston and San Antonio, and now works as a housing rights organizer with Pilsen Alliance, a nonprofit…
Kimiko Hahn vs. Portals
Oct 23, 2018 • 54 min
Kimiko Hahn joins Danez and Franny as they go down some rabbit holes, and maybe even through a few portals. They talk her tenth book, poetic auntie status, Japanese poetry as inspiration, and closure. Follow VS on twitter: http://twitter.com/vsthepodcast!
Jacob Saenz vs. The Block
Oct 9, 2018 • 50 min
VS hits the block with Jacob Saenz, whose APR/Honickman Prize-winning collection Throwing the Crown just dropped on Copper Canyon Press. He chats with Franny and Danez about writing back to his childhood street in Cicero, IL, the fantasy series he wrote…
H. Melt vs. Trans Liberation
Sep 25, 2018 • 53 min
H. Melt comes through the VS studio for a wonderful conversation about their work, how they build trans futures through rereading their past, and the paths they’re taking on their way to liberation. Plus, our first Chaco shoe reference. Which is exciting.…
Emily Jungmin Yoon vs. Femininity
Sep 11, 2018 • 42 min
Poet and translator Emily Jungmin Yoon comes through the studio for a deep dive into her work translating contemporary and modern Korean poetry, her new collection A Cruelty Special to Our Species, and a beautiful conversation reimagining femininity in…
Nate Marshall vs. Fear
Aug 28, 2018 • 49 min
VS hosts Danez and Franny chop it up with poet, editor, professor, and bald-headed cutie Nate Marshall. They discuss the terror of a new book, white supremacist Nate Marshall, masculinity and hero narratives, Voldemort vs. the Joker, and much more. Be…
Angel Nafis vs. Observation
May 29, 2018 • 68 min
Angel Nafis is paying attention. She talks with Danez and Franny about learning to rescale her sight, getting through grad school with some new skills in her pocket, activated charcoal, and her two Franks (Ocean and O’Hara).
Safia Elhillo vs. Shame
May 15, 2018 • 62 min
Safia Elhillo is a goshdarn timespace-suspending poet. She’s also this week’s guest. Danez, Franny, and Safia talk unraveling shame, opening the door to a queer Muslim literary community, caesuras and contrapunctals, and much much more!
Kaveh Akbar vs. Bewilderment
May 1, 2018 • 67 min
Danez and Franny dive deep with Divedapper creator, poet, professor, and voracious reader Kaveh Akhbar. The squad talks Twitter, trees, memorizing poems while in love, and the Milwaukee Bucks, plus much more.
Britteney Black Rose Kapri vs. Black Queer Hoetics
Apr 17, 2018 • 59 min
Britteney Black Rose Kapri joins Danez and Franny for a hoot of a podcast, in which the squad breaks down Hoe Poetics, the joys and challenges of mentorship, and much, much more. Britteney’s upcoming book Black Queer Hoe, featuring a foreword by Danez, is…
Jamaal May vs. The Multiverse
Apr 3, 2018 • 58 min
Jamaal May blasts off into hyperspace on this episode of VS. Danez and Franny run with the poet, MC, professor, and thinker as they talk waves, matter, neurology, future, and even a few poems.
Hanif Abdurraqib & Angel Nafis vs. AWP Live!
Mar 20, 2018 • 54 min
VS gets live at AWP, where Danez and Franny hosted a packed show featuring the magnificent Hanif Abdurraqib and Angel Nafis. Hear some poems, some nipple-related discussion,and some rooftop giggles on this episode, recorded in front of a live audience on…
Tarfia Faizullah vs. Beauty
Mar 6, 2018 • 53 min
We’re back, baby! We kick off season 2 of VS with brilliant poet Tarfia Faizullah for a helluva convo about balancing the beautiful and the grotesque, finding silliness, and much more! Listen and subscribe now for a whole upcoming season of goodness!
Knockouts
Feb 27, 2018 • 5 min
Just because the podcast was in between seasons doesn’t mean that Franny and Danez stopped being wrecked by the words and ideas around them. Peep some art that’s been knocking them out, and subscribe to VS now. Season 2 premiere on the way next Tuesday…
Franny and Danez’s Season 1 Favorite Moments
Feb 20, 2018 • 4 min
With Season 2 of VS on the way, Danez and Franny think back to some of their top Season 1 moments. Subscribe now, and listen to VS Season 2 when it premieres on March 6th!
VS Season 2: Coming March 6!
Feb 13, 2018 • 2 min
Franny and Danez get ready for Season 2 of VS, the podcast where poets confront the ideas that move them! Get familiar, and subscribe so that you get the Season 2 premiere when it drops on March 6th!
Krista Franklin vs. Time Travel
Nov 14, 2017 • 60 min
VS wraps up its wonderful first season with the gawd Krista Franklin. The squad hops through time, collapses the continuum, shares some laughs, and ends the first season in style. Plus a very special treat at the end of the episode…
Kuumba Lynx vs. Transformation
Oct 31, 2017 • 48 min
VS gets communal with Jacinda Bullie and Darius Parker of Kuumba Lynx, a youth-focused radical arts organization based in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. The squad talks transformative spaces, becoming an institution, writing joyful poetry, and much more.…
avery r. young vs. the Page
Oct 17, 2017 • 51 min
Chicago legend avery r. young comes through the VS studio and takes poetry off the page with Franny and Danez. The discussion bounces from writing in an enclave, to pain and survival, to holding his mule. Plus, a very special performance.
Raych Jackson vs. the Good Books
Oct 3, 2017 • 50 min
Raych Jackson swings through the VS studio to talk her win at NUPIC (The National Poetry Individual Competition), the brilliant kidlets in the third grade class she teaches, and remixing biblical tales in her first book, which is in the works. Plus, a new…
Erika L. Sánchez vs. High School
Sep 19, 2017 • 56 min
Erka L. Sánchez stops by the show around the release of not one, but two new books–her poetry collection Lessons on Expulsion and her Young Adult novel I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter. She talks finding her rituals, teenage Erika, and more.
Natalie Diaz vs. the Lexicon
Sep 5, 2017 • 57 min
´╗┐Natalie Diaz joins Danez and Franny to talk the talk on love, language, and words creating worlds on episode 5 of VS.
Casey Rocheteau vs. the Deck
Aug 22, 2017 • 45 min
Danez and Franny head to Motown and talk with poet, artist, playwright, and self-described sea witch Casey Rocheteau. Together, they write themselves into myth, learn some hidden history, shuffle some cards, and even talk some poetry.
Fatimah Asghar vs. the People
Aug 1, 2017 • 55 min
Fatimah Asghar is a poet and creator of the hit web series Brown Girls, which received a development deal from HBO. She talks about the show’s evolution, finding her people, and loving her mediocrity.
José Olivarez vs. Grownups
Jul 18, 2017 • 51 min
Poet, educator, and Young Chicago Authors Marketing Director José Olivarez explores adulting and gives some podcast-veteran advice to Danez and Franny.
Eve Ewing Vs. the Apocalypse
Jun 15, 2017 • 52 min
Poet, scholar, and community builder Eve Ewing joins cohosts Danez Smith and Franny Choi to talk survival, Samurai Jack, desire-based thinking, and more on the first episode of VS.
Vs. Ep 0 - Preview
Jun 14, 2017 • 2 min
Check out a preview of the new VS podcast.