Poems for Company – May 22nd, 2023

“Posing Questions”: “Who hangs a birdhouse from a sapling?”  How would you answer that question?  One poem featured on today’s episode places that question in a startling context.  Questions shape all of the poems on today’s episode.  Some are addressed; others are left for us to sort out.  Today’s episode features these poems: Christina Rossetti, “Up-Hill.”  Phillis Levin, “Unsolicited Survey,” from Mercury (Penguin Books, 2001), read with kind permission of the author.  Terrance Hayes, “I’m not sure how to hold my face when I dance,” from American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin  (Penguin Random House, 2018).  Langston Hughes, “Harlem,” from The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes, Arnold Rampersad, ed. and David Roessel, Associate ed. (Vintage, a Division of Random House, Inc., 1994).  Carrie Etter, “A Birthmother’s Catechism” (“How did you let him go?“), from Imagined Sons (Seren [www.serenbooks.com], 2014, rpt. 2019), read with kind permission of the author.  The show’s theme music is Philip Aaberg’s “Going-to-the-Sun,” from his CD Live from Montana (Sweetgrassmusic.com).