Final Podcast Episode: Making “American Conversations” in Kentucky

Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith conducts a reading and discussion at the Men’s Addiction Recovery Campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky. March 16, 2018. Credit: Shawn Miller.

We hope you’ve enjoyed exploring the origins of Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s “American Conversations” project with us on the From the Catbird Seat podcast these past few weeks. Today’s announcement is bittersweet: The third and final episode of our “Making ‘American Conversations’” series is now online. You can listen and subscribe via our podcast pageiTunes, or your favorite podcasting app.

On this episode, we revisit Tracy K. Smith’s “American Conversations” pilot trip to rural Kentucky last March—the last stop before her official project launch trip to Alaska in August. She covered a lot of ground in just two days, with events at the Men’s Addiction Recovery Campus (MARC) in Bowling Green, the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center in Glasgow, and the New Haven Branch of the Nelson County Public Library in New Haven.

Tracy K. Smith peruses book shelves at the New Haven Branch of the Nelson County Public Library in New Haven, Kentucky. March 17, 2018. Credit: Shawn Miller.

You’ll hear Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center, reflect on these trips around Kentucky with Tracy last spring, and we’ll introduce you to some of the folks they met on the road: Phillip Justice, program director and campus manager of the Men’s Addiction Recovery Campus; Ashton Ricketts, a client at MARC; and Kentucky poet Maurice Manning. You’ll also hear excerpts from Tracy’s reading and discussion at the New Haven Branch of the Nelson County Public Library.

To close out this episode and the “Making ‘American Conversations’” podcast series, we welcome back Anya Creightney—the Poetry and Literature Center’s programs manager, who you’ll remember from the New Mexico episode—to help celebrate and sum up the impact of “American Conversations.”

Of course, we couldn’t possibly celebrate “American Conversations” without hearing from our laureate herself—so, you guessed it: Tracy K. Smith will give the final word on this episode with her own reflections on the significance of the project.

Make sure to explore bonus content from the Kentucky trip on the “American Conversations” website, too.

As always, remember to subscribe to the From the Catbird Seat podcast on our podcast page, on iTunes, or on the podcasting app of your choice. We’ll be back next year with another season. Thanks for joining us!

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