Lit from the Basement

Lit from the Basement

litfromthebasement.com
This is a podcast in which Professor Deulen introduces poetry to her irreverent husband, Max. Each show is a close reading of a single poem. They discuss it for a bit, allowing the conversation to take on a life of its own.


Show 047 “A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican” by Dixon Lanier Merritt
Oct 7 • 61 min
We tackle the limerick form with poetry scholar Mike Chasar as he leads a deep dive into two versions of “A Wonderful Bird is the Pelican” by Dixon Lanier Merritt. Topics include: humorous poetry, “children’s” literature, the pleasures of rhyme, and the…
Show 046 “Things that Leave an Aching Feeling Inside” by Lee Ann Roripaugh
Sep 16 • 60 min
Danielle introduces Max to the list poem form with Lee Ann Roripaugh’s “Things that Leave an Aching Feeling Inside.” Topics include: list form, The Pillow Book, the importance of poetry during the Heian period, and breaking your own heart.
Show 045 “Sensual Vocabulary” by Karyna McGlynn
Sep 2 • 62 min
Danielle introduces Max to the concept of Ars Poetica with Karyna McGlynn’s poem “Sensual Vocabulary.” Topics include: Ars Poetica, Marianne Moore, September Women Poets, modernists, and George Washington as a school marm.
044 “Who Would I Show It To?” by Sally Ball
Aug 19 • 59 min
Addressing a recent loss in her own life, Danielle shares with Max an elegy by Sally Ball that helped with her grieving. Topics include: elegies, suicide, stages of grief, Virginia Woolf, W.S. Merwin, and Dancer pose.
043 “The Immigrants (Winter Wear)” by Rane Arroyo
Aug 5 • 66 min
We have another guest in our creepy basement; the author Scott Nadelson! He shares Rane Arroyo’s poem “The Immigrants (Winter Wear)” with us. Topics include: tercets, Wallace Stevens, and Santa tempting Jesus in the desert.
042 “Unmailed Letter” by Joy Harjo
Jul 15 • 63 min
In celebration of her appointment as the United States Poet Laureate, Danielle shares Joy Harjo’s poem “Unmailed Letter” with Max.
041 “Map” by Bruce Snider
Jul 1 • 70 min
We open season three (and celebrate 4th of July) with a fistful of Americana as Danielle introduces Max to Bruce Snider through his poem “Map.”
040 “A Citizen” and “Immediate Song” by Don Bogen
May 6 • 62 min
For our last show of season two, we have a twofer! Danielle shares Don Bogen’s “A Citizen” and “Immediate Song” with Max. Talking points include lyric sequences, persona poems, an empire’s twilight, and phrenology.
039 “Something New” by Carmen Giménez Smith
Apr 29 • 56 min
Danielle shares Carmen Giménez Smith’s “Something New” with Max. Talking points include love as work, marriage as labor, plushy chambers, and the etymology of mortgage.
038 “Ambition” by Gary Soto
Apr 22 • 58 min
Danielle shares Gary Soto’s “Ambition” with Max. Talking points include friendship, Seneca, Cicero, zoomorphism, pleasure, and Max’s time as a disgruntled shoe salesman.
037 “Lightening” by A. Molotkov
Apr 15 • 56 min
Danielle shares A. Molotkov’s “Lightening” with Max. Talking points include the prose poem, Aloysius Bertrand, fig trees, eye surgery, and Duncan MacDougall’s dead-weighing experiments.
036 “[but the rain is full of ghosts tonight]” by dawn lonsinger
Apr 8 • 53 min
Danielle shares “[but the rain is full of ghosts tonight]” by dawn lonsinger with Max. Talking points include Danielle’s coining of the term “maximalism,” Edna St. Vincent Millay, ghosts of lovers past, and rain, rain, rain.
035 “Animals” by Frank O’Hara
Apr 1 • 58 min
Guest host dawn lonsinger shares Frank O’Hara’s “Animals” with Danielle and Max. Talking points include: idioms, the New York School, personism, dune buggies, time, and square things vs. round things.
034 “The Romantic Lead” by Ian Williams
Mar 25 • 56 min
Danielle shares “The Romantic Lead” by Ian Williams with Max. Talking points include contemporary sonnets, sextets and octaves, Swan Lake vs. Ladyhawk, reaction shots, and finding displeasure with Aquaman.
033 “The Soils I Have Eaten” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
Mar 18 • 58 min
Danielle shares “The Soils I Have Eaten” by Aimee Nezhukumatathil with Max. Talking points include strophes, memories of place, prospecting by taste, and the 1980s arcade game Dig Dug.
032 “Dangerous for Girls” by Connie Voisine
Mar 11 • 61 min
Danielle shares “Dangerous for Girls” by Connie Voisine with Max. Talking points include dead girls, associative leaps, capitalist consumption, and watching infomercials while depressed.
031 “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees
Mar 4 • 57 min
Danielle and Max discuss “Cities in Dust” by Siouxsie and the Banshees. Talking points include Pompeii, verse-chorus form, March Vladness, Pliny the Younger, and Goth! Goth! Goth!
030 “The Same City” by Terrance Hayes
Feb 25 • 50 min
In this episode, Danielle shares “The Same City” by Terrance Hayes. Talking points include revision poems, cold and flu season, crappy weather, and mixing up biblical stepfathers.
029 “The Cinnamon Peeler” by Michael Ondaatje
Feb 18 • 56 min
In this episode, Danielle shares Michael Ondaatje’s “The Cinnamon Peeler.” Talking points include encounters with wild bears, how specifics make life interesting, persona poems, and Dune spice.
028 “Litany” by Rebecca Lindenberg
Feb 11 • 55 min
In this episode, Danielle shares Rebecca Lindenberg’s “Litany.” Talking points include Gal-entine’s Day, the classical formula of god summoning, lethologica vs. aphasia, and sabotaging people’s efforts to break up with you.
027 “What Myth Is” by Carl Phillips
Feb 4 • 55 min
In this episode, Danielle shares Carl Phillips’s “What Myth Is.” Talking points include what myths we identify with, Sonnet 130, the blazon, objective correlatives, and languid fingering.
026 “Letter from New York” by Erika L. Sánchez
Jan 28 • 55 min
In this episode, Danielle shares Erika L. Sánchez’s “Letter from New York.” Talking points include, well, New York, obviously, the epistolary form, our flooding basement, and poet Richard Hugo literally dropping bombs on five-year-old poet Charles Simic…
025 “Report from the Daughter of a Blue Planet” by Yona Harvey
Jan 21 • 47 min
Danielle shares with Max Yona Harvey’s “Report from the Daughter of a Blue Planet.” Talking points include Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Audre Lorde, and perfect line breaks.
024 “[ode]” by D.A. Powell
Jan 14 • 57 min
In this episode, Danielle overcomes Max’s resistance to D.A. Powell’s “[ode].” Talking points include Pindar vs. Horace, odes, hyacinths, trochees, and blue movies.
023 “Meditation at Lagunitas” by Robert Hass
Jan 7 • 60 min
For her 40th birthday, Danielle has selected Robert Hass’s “Meditation at Lagunitas.” Talking points include Platonic ideals, blackberries, the linguist Saussure, and mastodon steaks.
022 “Kindness” and “Burning the Old Year” by Naomi Shihab Nye
Dec 31, 2018 • 48 min
Danielle and Max slam the door on 2018 by reading Naomi Shihab Nye’s poems “Kindness” and “Burning the Old Year.” Talking points include the new year, empathy, cruelty, and metaphorical landscapes.
021 “Visitation” by Mark Doty
Dec 24, 2018 • 55 min
For this Christmas week, Danielle introduces Max to Mark Doty’s “Visitation.” Talking points include the holidays, the Christmas Whale, and complicated joy.
020 “Nightingale” by Paisley Rekdal
Dec 17, 2018 • 58 min
Danielle and Max celebrate the 2018 winter solstice by reading Paisley Rekdal’s “Nightingale.” Talking points include handling a rude guest lecturer, John Keats, Odysseus/Ulysses, dwelling in doubt, and autolysis.
019 “Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus” by Kaveh Akbar
Dec 10, 2018 • 57 min
Danielle introduces Max to the poet Kaveh Akbar with the poem “Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus.” Topics include addiction, the sublime, and why we love people in recovery.
018 “Visions and Interpretations” by Li-Young Lee
Dec 3, 2018 • 60 min
Danielle shares the poem “Visions and Interpretations” by Li-Young Lee with Max. Topics touched upon include elegies, miscommunications, and Mercury in retrograde.
017 “What is the Body” by Hannah Dow
Nov 26, 2018 • 46 min
Danielle shares Hannah Dow’s poem “What is the Body” from her debut collection with Max. Topics touched upon include René Descartes, nesting instincts. and tape worms.
016 “I Watch Her Eat the Apple” by Natalie Diaz
Nov 19, 2018 • 56 min
Danielle shares Natalie Diaz’s poem “I Watch Her Eat the Apple” with Max… who gets the poem very, very, very wrong. Topics include Thanksgiving, Oedipus, and some ugly facts about the Pilgrims.
015 “Drift” by Brenda Shaughnessy
Nov 12, 2018 • 51 min
Danielle shares Brenda Shaughnessy’s brutally clever poem “Drift” with Max. Topics touched upon include metaphysical poets, paradox, and staying in bad relationships.
014 “Door” by Dana Levin
Nov 5, 2018 • 58 min
Danielle explains her personal connection to Dana Levin’s “Door,” working for a mean art dealer, and the dream that lead her to teaching. Max laments too many choices and, once again, brings up Watership Down.
013 “Ghazal of Dark Death” by Federico García Lorca
Oct 29, 2018 • 53 min
By sheer coincidence, our 13th show falls on Halloween week! Danielle sets the Halloween mood with Lorca’s “Ghazal of Dark Death.” Max is a little disappointed to find it has nothing to do with the Ghostbusters antagonist.
012 “Departure” by Ocean Vuong
Oct 22, 2018 • 48 min
Danielle explains what an aubade is to Max by sharing Ocean Vuong’s wonderfully dark poem “Departure” with him. Max is thrilled. Maybe too thrilled.
011 “Wishbone” by Richard Siken
Oct 15, 2018 • 52 min
Danielle is in Washington, DC with friend Shaun Daniels to discuss Wishbone from Richard Siken’s crazy, sexy thrill ride of a book.
011 “Wishbone” & “Planet of Love” by Richard Siken
Oct 15, 2018 • 75 min
In this extended episode, Shaun and Danielle discuss two poems from Richard Siken’s “Crush” and how they work together in that crazy, sexy thrill ride of a book.
010 “Rodin’s Fallen Caryatid” by Lindsay Bernal
Oct 8, 2018 • 47 min
While discussing Lindsay Bernal’s poem, Danielle tries to explain “ekphrasis” to Max.
009 “Be Ahead of All Parting” by Rainer Maria Rilke
Oct 1, 2018 • 55 min
We have our first guests! Portland-based Douala Olivia Murphy brings Rilke’s poem to the show and tells us why she loves it. Max pays Danielle the best compliment she has ever received.
008 “Manistee Light” by Samiya Bashir
Sep 24, 2018 • 55 min
We discuss how Samiya Bashir’s poem can be an anti-pastoral work, our poor gardening, and Danielle explains some math terms to Max.
007 “Obedience, or the Lying Tale” by Jennifer Chang
Sep 17, 2018 • 56 min
Jennifer Chang’s poem leads to a discussion of the “flatness” of fairy tale characters, and how her poem defies it with the complexity of her speaker.
006 “The Explosive Expert’s Wife” by Shara Lessley
Sep 10, 2018 • 52 min
Lessley’s poem prompts D&M to contemplate the geopolitical complexities of love and where to meet in the afterlife.
005 “White, White Collars” by Denis Johnson
Sep 2, 2018 • 55 min
To celebrate Labor Day, we share a Denis Johnson poem sure to make you further hate your office job.
004 “Researchers Find Mice Pass On Trauma to Subsequent Generations” by Lisa Fay Coutley
Aug 31, 2018 • 40 min
Danielle and Max try to have a glib, upbeat conversation about Lisa Fay Coutley’s poem on inherited trauma…and fail.
003 “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden
Aug 30, 2018 • 50 min
This Robert Hayden poem leads D&M into a conversation about parental love and sacrifice.
002 “Thirst” by Tracy K. Smith
Aug 29, 2018 • 51 min
D&M discuss this Tracy K. Smith coming-of-age poem “Thirst,” disagreeing on their interpretations.
001 “Closing Time - Iskandariya” by Brigit Pegeen Kelly
Aug 28, 2018 • 39 min
Danielle uses Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s poem to change Max’s opinion of a discovery that he initially found to be unsettling.