This is a guest post by Anne Holmes of the Poetry and Literature Center.
As April winds down, our celebration of National Poetry Month at the Library of Congress is still going strong: Today we launch “From the Catbird Seat,” a new poetry podcast series from the Poetry and Literature Center. Each Thursday for the next eight weeks, we’ll explore poetry’s past, present and future.
Join us—Rob Casper, head of the Poetry and Literature Center, and yours truly, Anne Holmes—as we pull archived recordings from nearly 80 years of literary events featuring poets reading and discussing their work at the Library of Congress. Starting in 1943, these events were largely recorded on magnetic reels as part of the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature (which we’ve begun to digitize and stream online); since about 2001, events have been videotaped and archived as webcasts available to stream on the Library’s website.
With such a rich history of literary events, and with so much of that history archived and at our fingertips, why not start a podcast?
On this first season of “From the Catbird Seat,” we’ll explore eight of our signature events or series from the last five years. Each week will include highlights from a single event or series. As an added bonus, each episode will also feature a special guest who can provide some behind-the-scenes context to the event.
Since this month marks the end of Tracy K. Smith’s first term as 22nd poet laureate consultant in poetry—maybe you attended her closing event last week—we’re kicking off our “From the Catbird Seat” podcast series today with Tracy as our first guest. Tune in as our laureate sits down with Rob Casper to reflect on her first term and look ahead to her second term; then we’ll play some highlights from her September 2017 inaugural reading—a fitting way, we think, to celebrate our inaugural episode.
In the upcoming weeks, we’ll feature recordings of chats with Natasha Trethewey, Juan Felipe Herrera, Kwame Dawes and many more. Stay tuned.