Five Things I’ve Learned About Podcasting (and what I still need to do to improve)

podcasting microphone
Photo by Daniel Rubio on Unsplash.

Podcasting was not a challenge I ever expected to take on. When I approached the New Books Network with a request to be interviewed on their New Books in Poetry podcast about my recently published collection of poetry, the founder and editor-in-chief, Marshall Poe, confessed that the company did not have a host for the poetry podcast at the time. He then asked if I would be interested in adopting the role.

After some further conversations with Marshall, a fellow poet and writer Athena Dixon and I decided to jump onboard and accept cohosting duties for the New Books in Poetry podcast. Although I can’t speak for Athena, I confess that I personally had zero podcasting experience prior to taking on this challenge. Since New Books in Poetry was an existing channel with a following, I was fortunate that my first foray into the process was not started from scratch (with all the steps that that requires), allowing me to ease my way into learning how to plan, record, and edit an episode at my own pace through trial and error.

Thus far, cohosting a podcast has been a fun and interesting journey. In the time since Athena and I started hosting, I’ve had the honor of speaking with a number of amazing poets about their books, their work, and their writing process. I’ve learned a lot, both from the poets I’ve spoken with and about the podcasting process.

I am by no means a podcasting expert. However, on the chance that it may help someone else starting out in their own podcasting journey, here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned about podcasting thus far—along with many more things that I still need to work on.

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New Books in Poetry: A Camera Obscura by Carl Marcum

Carl Marcum-A Camera Obscura

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up. I had an amazing conversation with Carl Marcum about his new book A Camera Obscura (Red Hen Press, 2021).

A Camera Obscura is a lyrical exploration of external and internal worlds. The heavens described in these poems could be the stars glittering above our heads, the pathways of faith, or the connection between human beings. Playing with scientific understandings of the world, along with the linguistic conventions of the poetic form, A Camera Obscura is a compelling journey that simultaneously drifts through the cosmos while being rooted to the ground beneath our feet.

“When the sun rose it was smaller
than in my dream. I had been asleep
for what felt a long time, and woke
confused and claustrophobic.
The texture of the sky still magnetized me,
a desert bright day. But the light is streaked
like too much everything pulled to the edges
of a window in storm.”

— from “A Science Fiction”

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.

New Books in Poetry: Broken Ballads by Nicole Danielle

Broken Ballads by Nicole DanielleA new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up, in which the fabulous Athena Dixon speaks with Nicole Danielle about her book Broken Ballads (2019).

Athena writes:

For as often as it may seem to be the case, life doesn’t exist in extremes. Whatever pain, love, desire, or hurt, moving through life is a balancing act. We learn to hold onto what is important for our own growth, but we also learn that sometimes we must carry bits of the world for those who walk beside us and those yet to come. This balancing act teaches us to jettison what no longer serves us just as much as it teaches us to grip tightly to what matters most.

In a collection that is equal measures an exploration of pain after her uncle’s passing and an honoring of her own heart, Nicole Danielle’s book Broken Ballads (2019) asks who gets to be innocent? How do we move towards the life we want? What legacy do we leave for future generations? In her debut book, Nicole Danielle finds a way to unearth joy without using blinders to hide the tender spots of the heart that need to heal. She mosaics together the shattered bits of life and shows they can still be beautiful. They can still be a reflection of who we are, what we want, and where we are headed.

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.

New Books in Poetry: Hotel Almighty by Sarah J. Sloat

Sarah J Sloat-Hotel Almighty

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up. I had a riveting conversation with Sarah J. Sloat about her new book Hotel Almighty (Sarabande Books).

Visually arresting and utterly one-of-a-kind, Sarah J. Sloat’s Hotel Almighty (Sarabande Books) is a book-length erasure of Misery by Stephen King, a reimagining of the novel’s themes of constraint and possibility in elliptical, enigmatic poems. Here, “joy would crawl over broken glass, if that was the way.” Here, sleep is “a circle whose diameter might be small,” a circle “pitifully small,” a “wrecked and empty hypothetical circle.” Paired with Sloat’s stunning mixed-media collage, each poem is a miniature canvas, a brief associative profile of the psyche―its foibles, obsessions, and delights. (Description by the publisher.)

“When I was doing [Hotel Almighty] and even now when I work on projects, a lot of what I find I’m doing is just expressing a love of reading and of books themselves,” says Sloat in discussing her new book. “I mean, I just love paper. To take a book and be able to make it into something — that was really fun and exciting for me.”

Here’s a sample of Sloat’s writing and art from the book:

[Darkness prologued darkness...] by Sarah J. Sloat
[Darkness prologued darkness…] by Sarah J. Sloat
You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.

New Books in Poetry: Catrachos by Roy G. Guzmán

Catrachos-poems by Roy G Guzman-New Books In Poetry

A new episode of the New Books in Poetry podcast is up. I had a riveting conversation with Roy G. Guzmán about their new book Catrachos (Graywolf Press).

Guzmán’s Catrachos is a stunning debut collection of poetry that immerses the reader in rich, vibrant language. Described as being “part immigration narrative, part elegy, and part queer coming-of-age story,” this powerful collection blends pop culture, humor, with Guzmán’s cultural experience to explore life, death, and borders both real and imaginary.

“This isn’t supposed to be a history book, and yet it is,” says Guzmán in discussing Catrachos, explaining that the book is not supposed to be anthropology, sociology, or a testimonial either, and yet it is. “Those are the contradictions, especially when you’re a marginalized writer, your words are always operating on so many different frequencies at once.”

Here’s a sample of Guzmán’s writing from the book:

“It is not a fallacy that the pulpería owner who wakes up
dressed in a tunic of warriors’ pelos, or the milkman

pressing his rough hands against the cow’s tectonic body,
remembers the skirted boy with an ovarian lipstick for a tongue,

the boy who offered a tenth of his knees to the teeth
of a country with dentures.”

— from “Finding Logic in a Crushed Head”

You can listen to the interview here or on the podcast app of your choice.


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