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On the Podcast: Making “American Conversations” in South Carolina

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U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn joins Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith and Rob Casper backstage before a reading and discussion at Summerton High School in Summerton, South Carolina. February 23, 2018. Credit: Shawn Miller.

Good news for your ears: Episode two of the “Making ‘American Conversations’” series on our From the Catbird Seat podcast is now online! Tune in and subscribe via our podcast pageiTunes, or the podcasting app you prefer.

On this episode, you’ll learn more about the origins of Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s “American Conversations” project through her pilot trip to rural South Carolina in February 2018. Over two days, our laureate facilitated readings and conversations in three public events in three locations—at the Lake City United Methodist Church in Lake City, Summerton High School in Summerton, and the James E. Clyburn Wiltown Community Center in Adams Run.

Tracy K. Smith on the road between Lake City and Adams Run, South Carolina. February 23, 2018. Credit: Shawn Miller.

Join Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center, as he reflects on these trips around South Carolina with a few guests—including U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn, who coordinated and attended all three South Carolina events with the help of his fantastic staff. You’ll also get a chance to travel on the road and back in time with Tracy K. Smith as she chats about her experiences in the car between rural stops with Ruth Franklin of The New York Times Magazine (Ruth’s article based on these South Carolina conversations was published online in April).

To accompany this podcast episode, we’ve also added bonus content from the South Carolina trip to the “American Conversations” website. Make sure to explore the photo gallery, read local press about the visit, and listen to more conversations in the car with Tracy K. Smith.

Tune in next Thursday for the third and final installment of this short podcast series as we follow our laureate’s travels to Kentucky in March 2018! And, as always, remember to subscribe to the From the Catbird Seat podcast on our podcast page, on iTunes, or on your favorite podcasting app.