Friday, 4 December 2015
Not your usual poetry podcast
Decades ago – truly – I read a piece by Peter Levi in which he argued that a test of good poetry is whether it can be read, and still claim its space, in any place, situation, context: not just sitting comfortably at home ‘with your nine drinks lined up on the side table in soldierly array’ (that’s from a Donald Barthelme story) but on an overcrowded train, in hospital, at work, at play …
A test case is here. The link is to a podcast from LA in which Dan O’Brien (above) is a guest on a podcast whose other guests – three women, one man – are all American comedy actors. It’s long: an hour and 13 minutes. Dan reads poems (from Scarsdale, War Reporter and New Life, all from CBe) at roughly 6 minutes in, 16 minutes, 34, 45 and 57 minutes. The rest of it is quick-fire banter: funny, daft, obscene. No one has time to even blink. There are riffs on racoons, dildos, the poetry-reading hmmm. The whole is a mash-up of different registers: super-witty improvised joshing and the stark, deliberated poems. You may hate it. I think it’s wonderful.