Tag Archives: poetry

The poetry of everday life. I talk with Swedish journalist and author, Marit Kapla on AEWCH 193!

16 Jul

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In the midst of the Hawk Mountain book tour, visiting cities and longing for the pastoral. In Swedish journalist Marit Kapla’s absolutely stunning book Osebol, she chronicles the lives of the 42 people who live in Osebol, a tiny village in Sweden. And she transmutes their words – already poetic – into poetry. Line breaks, important pauses, stray and lovely observations. In Osebol, you get the slow life beauty of the remote, where a chance meeting on the road can be a day’s major event. Marit shares what she’s learned from talking to all of Osebol’s inhabitants, and we talk time, depth of experience, nature, and more.

I hope you love this episode as much as I loved having this conversation.


I read a poem on the episode from Arun Kolatkar’s absolutely beautiful book, Jejuri – and I highly recommend you get and read it.

Before he was a Twitch sensation, Hasan Piker and I talked about growing up surrounded by bullies on AEWCH 36. I’m reminded of it here as a flipside to the romanticism of small town life.

Here’s a good interview with Marit/review of the book. And a lovely consideration of all of it in The Times Literary Supplement. Most of Marit’s work is in Swedish, so the best thing to do is just look her up and read via google translate.

Until next time, friends, find Osebol, read it, and pay loving attention to your neighbors. CH

If the world is ending, write a poem. Daniel Poppick on AEWCH 157!

21 Jul

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Buy Daniel’s books, and all the books mentioned on/related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 157 on Bookshop.org. Bookshop.org sources from independent bookstores in the US, not a big corporate shipping warehouse where the workers are treated like machines. Plus when you click through here to order, the show gets a small affiliate kickback! (Since Daniel’s books are on backorder on the site, I’m also including links to The Police and Fear of Description here, via amazon, until they’re back in stock on bookshop.org).


I’m so excited to welcome poet and editor Daniel Poppick onto the show.

To start, Daniel reads “Rumors” which is in the style of a haibun (in the style of Bashō), which blends prose and haiku. Here’s an excerpt: “Back at Kristen’s house, staring into this oceanic jigsaw piece, I wondered how or if my friends would recount this evening to one another at some later date: who would remember things correctly as they happened, and what we would all get wrong, if we would ever verify it accurately among one another, being our only witnesses, before we slowly melted down to be sipped up by worms, the whole scene as we remembered or forgot it blown away and buried in the architecture of our dust.”

He also reads “Paradise” and “A Rubber Lion” as well as an excerpt from “The Hell Test (Seven Springs)


  • Poetry as concussion
  • How do images become words?
  • How poetry allows for many many worlds and reincarnation helps us solve problems
  • Why a robot pterodactyl matters
  • How a podcast is like a poem
  • The poems we don’t get and why we still read them
  • Experimental poems as threatening generosity
  • Why poets are always writing poems about poetry
  • Hell as a technology for understanding the world
  • Two thoughts exercises on how to live


• For more on Daniel, here’s his website, which has links to lots of great stuff – interviews, poems, essays – on it. • Some more AEWCH episodes with poets:

• Here’s an intro to Bashō, the 17th Century Japanese travel poet who was a huge influence on Daniel’s book, Fear of Description.

• If you didn’t catch the wheelbarrow reference Daniel dropped, it was to William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” which you can read (and read about) here.

• “I write poetry because I want to be alone and I want to talk to people.” – Allen Ginsburg

• Since Kathryn Davis’s novel, Hell, isn’t available on bookshop.org currently, here’s a link to it.

• “Poems in a way are spells against death. They are milestones, to see where you were then from where you are now. To perpetuate your feelings, to establish them. If you have in any way touched the central heart of mankind’s feelings, you’ll survive.” – Richard Eberhart

Until next time pals,


64-bit poetry and spells with Stephen Sexton on AEWCH 145!

23 Mar

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Stephen’s book about Super Mario World and death, If All The World And Love Were Young is unfortunately not available through bookshop.org yet, but you can get it here. You can get the rest of the books (including Stephen’s first collection, Oils), as well as books related to this episode via my booklist for AEWCH 145 on bookshop.org.


One of my best friends, a poet, once told me that her first word was no. She said that that was a huge part of how she became a poet – that the world wouldn’t stay in place for her without her help. There was something about seeing things differently, about the world opening up for her through a refusal to see it as fixed just by the words that had been handed to her, the explanations, the definitions and lines.

Today’s episode with poet Stephen Sexton, which features his reading of poetry from his book If All the World And Love Were Young about death and Super Mario World – each poem is named after and loosely follows a level in the game – helped me understand just how deeply poetry can go. We also talk about light, and surfaces, and the dead, and the way repetition works. He also reads from his book Oils, and his forthcoming book (out in August!) Cheryl’s Destinies.

We talk about the playing of console games as spells and as a sort of suppressed pornography, about writing an elegy of poems to put grief into a game and turning it into a monument, about the tarot and how to make a time-horse – a bridge between all forms of time – through poetry.

Stephen’s poetry gives you a doorway in, or maybe a green pipe, a portal – to a strange world that is our own world.I know that people who are interested in poetry often sing its praises to the bafflement of those who don’t read it. And I also know that so many people talk about poetry by defending poetry.But it doesn’t need a defense or de-bafflement. It just needs to be heard, read, written, gathered.


  • Stephen reads his poems, “Gnarly” “Groovy” “The Death of Horses” Donut Ghost House” “My Second Favourite Locked Room Mystery” “Terror”
  • How to look at the world of console games like a natural historian
  • Should we do and Siamese of Super Mario World
  • Playing video games as magic, or video games as stand-in pornography
  • A poem as a curse
  • Indexes as a map of a writers’ unconscious
  • The ghosts in Super Mario World as an approximation of our relationship to the dead
  • Does writing console us? (Also, I like the word “consolation” and console)
  • Creating a monument to the dead out of Super Mario World
  • Ekphrasis
  • Poetry that folds space and time
  • Can Nintendos understand punctuation
  • The significance of 100 year anniversaries


• For more on Stephen, here’s his lovely acceptance speech when he won the Rooney Prize, Irish’s oldest literary prize. And here he is on a video game podcast

• And – why not? – here’s a walkthrough of Super Mario World, which helps give an interesting window on Stephen’s book and poetry, as well as digital landscape.

• “The light by which we see things is only a symbol. At the point of seeing the light, we lose it. Pur loss of the light is what we see as light.” – Massimo Scaligero

• I love that Stephen refers to Mario as a “single person in an overwhelming world.”• Have you read Annie Dillard’s great essay “Seeing” ?

• Remember Game Genie? My favorite digital djinn. Here’s how it worked.

• I had poet Zachary Schomburg on waaaay back on AEWCH 40. It’s still one of my favorite episodes. And be sure to read his essay, “Poetry As Violence” is one of my favorite essays about poems ever. It’s stunning.

• Also, here’s AEWCH 91, probably the most special episode to me; it’s the episode I made with my mentor Lynn Margulis.

• No comment on the below.

• For two examples of ekphrasis, here’s Auden’s beautiful poem, “Musee des Beaux Arts“. And John Burnside’s beautiful poem about Brueghel’s “Hunters in the Snow” is in his book Black Cat Bone, which is a lovely and dark book of poetry all around.

• Stephen’s forthcoming book, Cheryl’s Destinies – which features Yeats in conversation with Billy Corgan – inspired me to listen to Smashing Pumpkins again. Anyway, here’s one of their biggest hits, “Today” from Siamese Dream.• Go here for more on Peter Doig, plus a lot of his paintings.

• I really love the movie Older Than Ireland, so watch the trailer and then watch the movie!

Until next time friends, reach for the star,

Breathing in the end of the world – Franco “Bifo” Berardi on Against Everyone With Conner Habib

17 Sep

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I’m so happy to share my conversation with the radical philosopher, Franco “Bifo” Berardi.
I think it is not only a good conversation, but a truly productive one. My deepest hope is that it is helpful for you.
Bifo is one of the most important and creative thinkers of our time; I find many of Bifo’s thoughts in line with the occult philosophies of the Western esoteric traditions I’ve spent so long studying, and for me, that is so enlivening. That is to say, when two people or traditions come up with similar conclusions from totally different angles, we must (as Special Agent Dale Cooper says) pay strict attention.
Bifo is the author of many books, including what I view as his two most important books, Breathing: Chaos and Poetry and Heroes: Mass Murder and Suicide (which is a much easier read, and deeply informed my own thinking on the issue, which I discussed on AEWCH 11: SHOOT TO LIVE). He was the founder of Radio Alice, a radical broadcast station in Italy, as well as the anti-authoritarian activist group, Autonomia.
The discussion is wide ranging and, I think, extremely potent. It’s a commingling of occult, anarchist, socialist, and artistic ideas.
We discuss:
  • How rhythms dissolve political oppression
  • Capitalism as a dynamic of change, acceleration, and expansion that cannot understand limit
  • Why information and possibilities are not enough; we need the ability (“potency”) to transform them into reality
  • Why solidarity is dead and we are trapped in competition
  • Why poetry, sex, and magic matter now more than ever
  • The failure of communism, and why we need it anyway
  • Moving away from politics and towards therapy
  • How poetry is our doorway towards a new world
  • Why the “post-truth” world is an opportunity
  • Reincarnation: the only narrative that can remake the future
  • The shattering of the critical mind
  • Why (and how) we must accept all conspiracy theories
  • The spectating unconscious (and how it wishes for Trump)
  • Why everyone’s suffering belongs to everyone
  • What Trump’s victory gives to us
  • How sex work erodes work
  • Why no one should ever be paid for their labor

Lots of great SHOW NOTES here.

Until next time,



The Queer Esoteric Power of Poetry! It’s D.A. Powell on AEWCH 73!

11 Jun



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So excited to share what is one of my very favorite episodes of AEWCH with you, discussing poetry, the esoteric, the strange, and the occult with poet D.A. Powell (AKA Doug)!

Doug is the author of multiple books of poetry, and is best know for his Repast trilogy, including the books Tea, Lunch, and Cocktails, which have all be described as potent AIDS-era poetry. But what makes Doug such a profound thinker and poet (aside from his incredible poetry, of course!), is that he refuses to have his poems reduced to political polemic, even as they evince politics. Instead, Doug’s poems and Doug himself insist on the myriad of meanings each poem presents, and in that way, transmutes poetry into an alchemical act.

In addition to talking, Doug reads many of his poems, starting with the excellent “The Kiwi Comes To Gridley, CA” which is in his (also excellent) collection, Useless Landscape: A Guide For Boys. He also reads “Why We Have No Future,” “Mass For Pentecost: Canitcle for Birds & Waters”, “[strange flower in my hands. porphory shell. clipped wool.]”, “Don’t Touch My Junk”, and “Slut”.

We talk about

  • how poetry can’t be reduced to its contents or our current political situation
  • why plants are tops (really!)
  • those plaintive sighs at poetry readings
  • how the political overtakes and consumes all other meanings
  • loving and hating what you write
  • why poetry is not metaphor
  • how poems destroy the focus on a single point and expand the cosmos
  • how are relates to the Holy Ghost and the angels
  • the problem with the lack in psychoanalysis
  • how to hex people and cure people with words
  • what rhymes are
  • The secret poetry of the 1960s Batman and Robin TV series
  • Christ’s foreskin (really!)
  • poem-ography




Zachary Schomburg vs The Refrigerator General: AGAINST EVERYONE with CONNER HABIB attacks poetry

4 Sep


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On the 40th (!!!) episode of Against Everyone with Conner Habib, I met with poet Zachary Schomburg in an old bakery* in Portland to talk all about poetry.

Zach’s poetry is profound, frightening, eerie, and absurd. His book Scary, No Scary, which he reads a bit from on this episode, is a masterpiece, and a great bridge into poetry if you’ve never really gotten into it.

In this episode, we talk about:

Not-knowing and writing; the identity of a writer; what style is; ghosts, deer, and hummingbirds; the way certain words arouse us and why; how poetry is like a computer trying to come to life; poetry and Lacanian psychoanalysis; the index as your analyst; how writing is violence; light and death; how the poem on the page is not the poem; recreating reality, and more. 

Zach also reads poems from Hear Oars, and Scary, No Scary.

Show notes for the show are now available to the general public again, so go to my patreon to get them!


“Animal Door” – A poem by Conner Habib

1 Feb

ADHi friends,

Did you know I write poetry? Probably not, because I’ve never published a poem! But now my poem “Animal Door” has been published and you can read it here and listen to me read it!

The poem was published by Nomadic Coffee, a coffee subscription service that puts poems in its coffee bags every year. The poetry series is curated and edited by a different well-known poet ever quarter. The editor for this quarter is the amazing, award-winning DA Powell. When you get a bag of their coffee, you open it up and there’s a poem! My poem starts appearing today.

Click here to read the poem, and call the number and extension to here me talk about and read it!

No chickens were harmed in the making of this poem about animals.

“Tower of Power: A Poem for Donald Trump” by Martin Pousson

13 Jan

martins-armsMy friend Martin Pousson is an amazing writer. Author of, among other things, the profoundly strange and disturbing magical memoir Black Sheep Boy (Rare Bird Books, 2016).

Plus, look at Martin’s arms.

Also, Martin’s an amazing poet, and when he gives readings of fiction, memoir, or poetry, it’s always performative in the best possible way.

When I heard he’d written a, um, rather graphic poem about Donald Trump, how could I resist? I had to have him come over to and  read it so we could share it with you. It’s part of my push in 2017 to show all the irreverent ways we can resist, create, and radiate power to one another, which culminates this month in my online course, Radical Undoing: Decolonize Your Mind with Sex, Science, the Occult, and Philosophy, which you should sign up for so we can do this work together.

The poem originally appears here in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Follow Martin on twitter, and buy his latest book, Black Sheep Boy, here.