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The Metaworker Podcast | 004 The Poetry of Kate Shannon

Episode Description:

Editors Matthew, Elena, Marina, and Darin talk to Kate Shannon about her wonderful poetry! We touch on the history of the form, some of the brutal inspirations that Kate uses for her work, and what we love about beautiful poetry of all kinds.

Referenced in this Episode:

ghazal for aguas del sur by Kate Shannon on The Metaworker website;

thick crusts of midnight in the late Ordovician, a wilderness of morning elsewhere by Kate Shannon on The Metaworker website 

a quote by Richard Siken, from his poetry collection Crush

Hip-Hop Ghazal by Patricia Smith

The American Cavewall Sonnets  by C.T. Salazar

Author Bio:

Kate Shannon is a farmer, editor, and poet from Upstate NY where she lives with her partner and too many dark secrets. She writes speculative poetry and fiction and hopes to not be eaten by one of her hideous creations. Her publication history includes The Mithila Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and High Shelf Press.

Episode Transcript:

Matthew Maichen: Hello, my name is Matthew Maichen. I am editor-in-chief of The Metaworker.

Elena L. Perez: I’m Elena Perez, the managing editor.

Marina Shugrue: I’m Marina Shugrue, the communications coordinator.

Darin Milanesio: I’m Darin Milanesio, another editor. I don’t know if I have an official title. I may have relinquished it to Mel, but right now I’m just another editor.

Kate Shannon: I’m Kate Shannon, poet.

Matthew: Yeah. We’re actually going to be discussing Kate’s work this meeting and Mel [Reynolds] normally would be here, but she had a “comeuppence”. So, we’re going to start with Kate reading from/talking about her work. Kate actually published two poems with us, both “ghazal for aguas del sur”, and also for “thick crusts of midnight in the late Ordivician”—probably pronounced that wrong—“a wilderness of morning elsewhere”. Okay. So, go ahead and take it away whenever you are ready.

Kate: All right. “ghazal for aguas del sur” is a bit shorter, so I’ll read that one first. “ghazal” is an Arabic form [of] poetry, and I once heard a poet say that it comes from the sound of a gazelle’s cry as the hunter corners it, and it knows it’s about to die and I immediately wanted to break it upon hearing that. And it’s not a true ghazal. I do lie and say it is in the title, but it’s broken at the end because the women I write—my subjects—they aren’t prey. They’re protectors warding off predators. And it’s also kind of a creation myth piece about coral reefs. I’m a speculative poet. So, 

“Ghazal for Aguas Del Sur”:

once, mothers waited for their dead children in damp bodies until
no more noises crept from their wind-polyp’d throats, until

a dozen moons passed, a skinned and rising tide
that never overtakes them until

they mean to be taken, a hundred crooked men at their feet
blood-gravied bodies bobbing helplessly until

they are devoured by stranger beasts than them who try to make bones
of the mothers too but are torn to shreds by their sea-crepe’d skin until

there are none left, a helplessness of viscera in the murky water
and the mothers, as though by a stimulus of levers, sink deeply until

they meet the unbloodied floor,
their arms locking with all of the other mothers who once waited until

there was nothing left to wait for and who waited longer still
with nothing left to them but a slick & porous grove of shale’d un-fragileness until

more of them come, the sea-monster’d men, a wickedness of ships
that do not make it to shore, who do not steal more babes in the night until

weeping mothers become to calcite harpoons, a terror of sharpness
in the calm water, making uneasy corpses of the diseased and bloated men until

there are none left to stir the sleeping children, their scared mothers.

Matthew: By the way, claps. I just want to interrupt real quick to say it’s a really good poem and I just want to let you know that.

Elena: Yeah, that was an awesome reading.

Marina: Yeah, claps for Kate.

Kate: Thank you. This was a prompt by a friend, actually, to write from the perspective of bones in the mud. I liked the idea of time to the dead meaning nothing, and that it doesn’t matter if it’s in the Ordivician or now. And yeah, this is

“Thick Crusts of Midnight in the Late Ordivician, A Wilderness of Morning Elsewhere”:

other things live easy, you know
I suppose I, too, live easy in some ways.
a domination of oceans gathering
a braying of old bones, dust and then nothing
a quietude of less wrathful nights,
formations of strange wilds left to drift into and out of each other
mountains making melt of the steaming skies
and dreaming out over the calcite seas
oh, the things that will boil over here
dribbling onto the far shores,
walking slowly in trembling or shambling lurches
new to these weak and crooked legs
once, I may have walked
or else shambled or trembled or even collapsed
in on myself, a triumvirate of birds circled
and I was whole beneath the stark moon.


all I survey is mine: a horrible forlorn of morning, mistlocked and peering out over thick fog,
the early ease of an unhurried sun
yawning over the breadth of a nice day;
barns cascade up and down mountains
and dapple the distance between us a faded red,
a dulcet template of birdsong trilling for those who hear it
for those who see it, the trees turn an autumnal amber
and begin to leave, or else stay
the sun leaves too, or else does not
the farmers in their fields bury themselves alive with their tools,
or they do not— they likely do not
bless the creatures that do breathe deep the early loam
who sting and scurry and inch across
the troubling roots of my troubled bones,
sunk long and goodly in this strange earth, how I peak and curve in her arms

Elena: That was awesome.

Matthew: Thank you so much. Ah, man, there’s so much power in hearing people read poetry aloud. It really reminds me [of] back when, you know, the before times when I used to go to slam poetry stuff. There would be this kind of praise of really loud poets, a lot, who would express their emotions very…with a lot of strength. But sometimes there is strength in just reading the words and feeling the power of those words. And, I really appreciate you for sharing with us because these are really powerful words.

So, I guess the first question we always like to address when we have these discussions is, what about this made the difference and made this something that we really wanted to feature on The Metaworker? And I think for me personally, both in my own work and in other people’s work, I’m really into nature.

I’m not interested in, like, lying about nature and saying that it’s harmonious, you know? Nature is very, very brutal and it’s vicious. And when I read “ghazal for aguas del sur”, I just knew right away, this is the kind of depiction of nature that I’m interested in. It’s so fascinating that you share that insight about the gazelle, like, that’s where the form of the poem comes from. I love that because it fits the ideas of the poem so much. I just love that poem and I love Ordivician. It’s hard to talk about two, isn’t it? But we’re going to try.

Marina: Well, how about we start with “ghazal”? Cause you kind of started talking about that first.

Matthew: Yeah. That’s fair. That’s a good idea. What do you think about it then? What was it for you that kind of made the difference? ‘Cause I feel like this was one of those ones…sometimes we auto-accept pieces if we really like something and we all give it really high marks, it just automatically becomes accepted. And I actually think that was what happened with both of these poems because they’re really—

Marina: I think so. Yeah, I think the only thing we discussed is that none of us had come across the Ghazal as a poetic form before. So, it was fascinating to hear you kind of talk about that, Kate, and get some insight there ‘cause I remember we were all on the call and literally every single one of us, just kind of did a silly, like, “So did you Google what that was”? And we all said yes. But knowing how you kind of stumbled across it is fascinating.

But yeah, kind of speaking back to what Matthew was saying. I guess for me, what strikes in Ghazal is the starkness of nature described in such a beautiful way. I think that’s what’s fascinating about Kate’s writing in general. I think “thick crusts” is the same way. There’s such a bleakness to it, but it’s being told in this gorgeous, gorgeous way and even hearing Kate talk about it, like the way it flows, how she spoke.

And there’s just so many unique things in this too, that I just have never seen in poetry before. What really struck me when Kate was reading was “blood-gravied bodies”. I feel like it didn’t hit as hard when I was just reading it in my head, but hearing it out loud was like, “ooh, that’s, like, so gross” [laughs] but so weirdly gorgeous. It’s such an interesting way to describe that image. So, I think that’s what struck it for me, was just how beautiful it managed to be and how unique it managed to be. How strong the voice is while still describing something really unsavory overall.

Elena: What I liked about this poem was it’s this universal struggle, right? Between mothers trying to take care of their babies, their children, and just the world—war and the dirtiness and grittiness and sometimes evilness of the world. And like Marina said, the beautiful descriptions—they’re beautiful, but at the same time you can feel this ugliness that the mothers are trying to protect their children from. And when I was reading this, it made me think that the children that are being talked about are not only, you know, babies literally being held by their mothers, but also the people in these wars and creating these wars, you know. They’re children, too. And that was a different way of seeing these people. Then the other thing that was interesting was this repetition of, “until”. “Until a dozen moons passed”, “until they mean to be taken”, “until they’re devoured”. It kind of hints at this cycle, I guess, of the world going around and around and around. Everyone has a goal and sometimes they reach that goal and sometimes they don’t and you keep going.

Matthew: Yeah. It’s the cycle of constant violence, right?

Elena: Right.

Matthew: Yeah, and what I think is really interesting is just…you mentioned, Kate, that it’s a speculative poem and that in a sense you are a speculative poet. I think that adds a whole other layer to it, right? That layer of: this is a creation myth. This is about the origin of the world. Look at that progression when you see it from that perspective. Look at how it starts with these tiny little things and then they get eaten, right? And it moves in this progressive fashion down until you start talking more about, you know, more about humans, more about ships. It feels—it gets even darker, I guess, because it feels like we are doomed to violence because there is violence inherent in the beginning. On the base level of the world, there is this violence and we’re just acting it out because that’s what’s there. That’s what’s always been there.

Marina: It reminds me, there’s this quote from another poet who I love, Richard Siken. You’ve probably seen him on every Instagram poet page in the world. But he’s excellent. There’s a quote he has, something along the lines of, “the gentleness that comes not because of the violence, but despite the abundance of it” or something like that? That was kind of, like, what it feels like to me, is that there is so much violence, but there is so much gentleness, too.

Matthew: Yeah. I feel that. Darin, do you have anything to say about this? ‘Cause I also want to touch on Ordivician.

Darin: Well, what strikes me about both poems, just to echo a lot of what you guys are already saying about how the language is kind of—there’s a dirty and grossness about nature, but what’s beautiful about it is how it completely envelops the human body and kind of overtakes it. And both poems, whether it’s the bloody bodies floating or the farmers burying themselves in the dirt, that’s the stuff that’s most evocative to me in both of them, and why I really liked both.

Matthew: Thank you, because  that gives us a really good segue to move on to Ordivician, which is just what I’m going to call it. I’m sorry, but it’s a very long title and I don’t—I only have—

Marina: How did you say it, Kate? What is it? Did we say it right?

Kate: The Ordivician, or the ordivician. You can say it either way.

Matthew: Okay. Okay. All right. Good, good, good. I’m going to cheat right now. I’m sorry. Ordovician means: it’s a geologic time, It’s the second period of the Paleozoic era. So, once again, we are talking about older things, right? We are talking about very old…getting into that base level of nature that exists primal, before us. Which is so interesting when we’re talking about farmers, right? Because you think of a farmer as someone who’s taming nature, I guess, to try to make it work for human consumption. But I think it’s really interesting that this one is in first person. There is a definite speaker. And I’m curious, who do we think that speaker is? Because I can’t quite nail it down myself.  I’ve been thinking about it and it’s one of the questions that I planned on asking, and I still can’t really—ack. What do you think? What do we think that the speaker is?

Marina: Well, Kate did mention…you said it was a prompt to write from the perspective of a bone? But even then it feels broader than that to me. It just feels so all-encompassing in some way. I don’t even know. I don’t know that I could nail it down except that it feels universal somehow.

Elena: Yeah. To me, it was kind of somebody, just a regular person kind of contemplating their place in time, I guess, as Kate mentioned. Just thinking about how, you know, you exist compared to other centuries and other people in other times. You have it so easy, kind of. It’s more of a tamed time, I guess.

Marina: But speaking of ‘easy’, too, God, can we talk about those first two lines in [Section] i? What a way to start a poem. “Other things live easy, you know. I suppose I, too, live easy in some ways.”

I think that’s where maybe I get the universality. That’s not a word—that can’t be a word. But that’s where I get kind of that vibe from, is just—you instantly feel sort of exhausted when you read those lines.

Matthew: So I’m going to admit something. I’m very sorry to you, Kate, but I was focusing on a lot of things and I heard that it was a prompt, but I forgot that you said that it was a bone. But I’m actually really happy that I forgot that and here’s why: because now that I know it’s a bone, I’ve been reminded, it’s really interesting ‘cause I was thinking about it and we had this whole discussion about what it might be. And that’s kind of what we’ve talked about with having these discussions, you know? The artist can interpret it in a certain way and have their intent, but once someone has consumed it, they bring their own experience with them. It’s a question of whose interpretation matters more—and maybe it doesn’t matter more whose interpretation is the right one, I guess—was what I’m trying to say in a garbled way. 

Marina: I feel like, too, it’s always interesting to see when that overlaps. Sometimes it’s less of a circle and more of a Venn diagram of, oh, the reader felt these things and the author was going for these things and there was some overlap and maybe it’s really, really close and maybe it’s a little broader, but I always find it so fascinating to see, like you said, what each individual brings from their own perspective to something like this.

Matthew: Yeah. Kate, when you hear us talking about your poetry like this—and this kind of ties into the interpretation thing I mentioned earlier—what are your reactions? What do you feel? Is there any, “ah, they’re getting it wrong!”? What do you think or feel in response to that?

Kate: Well, absolutely. I don’t—I mean—I think the reader’s interpretation matters much more than mine. Mine was a prompt that at the time meant nothing, and I developed it into something that I found meaning in. I never think about what people interpret in a negative way. I think it’s so interesting ‘cause my work as a speculative poet is usually just this exploration of language and time, and I like seeing what people make of it.

Matthew: So, I have a question, actually. You—well, that’s the point of this entire section, actually. Why did I say I have a question actually? You called yourself, you said you’re a speculative poet. Can you define that? What does that mean to you?

Kate: To me? Well, I tend to write into the slipstream and sometimes the vague horrific. But I try to stay true to literary roots and I kind of write in an antiquated way, I think, in some ways. I like older structures and I like playing with them. But that, to me, that’s what a speculative poet is. Or for me, my definition of a speculative poet, I tend to go into the slipstream, into the other realities a little bit.

Matthew: I see.

Marina: Kind of speaking of structure, I would love to hear you talk more about how you first came across the Ghazal as a form of poetry, because it absolutely fascinated all of us. I could hear you talk about that forever. I think it’s because none of us had ever come across the form before. So, tell us more about the poet who you heard do it, I guess.

Kate: Well the poet, the poem, that I first heard the ghazal in was “Hip-Hop Ghazal” by Patricia Smith. I became infatuated with the form and I started researching it a bit. And then that’s where I discovered the interpretation of it, or the description of it being the sound a gazelle makes. This repetition? The ghazal has the couplets that the second line ends with a repeating word. I usually explain that with a drawing in front of me.

Matthew: Yeah, I see, I see how that, yeah, it’s funny.

Marina: All of the, “until” in it, so that’s where that comes from. Oh, that’s so cool.

Matthew: Yeah, super cool. So, when you write these poems, it just feels like you have some very deep thoughts going on inside your head as you put them to paper, because these are poems about the world, right? They are about the continuum of life. I’m just curious to hear you talk about either one, “ghazal” or “Ordivician”—I tried—what were you thinking about as you put the metaphorical pen to paper and started tackling these themes?

Kate: Well I have a background of angry, queer, political poetry. [laughter] And I’m a farmer, funnily enough, and I tend to stay in the political. “ghazal” started off as a piece about colonialism and modern colonialism even, and I—

Matthew: Oh!

Kate: Yeah, yeah.

Matthew: That makes so much sense.

Kate: Yes. For “thick crusts”, I tend to write environmentalist poetry a lot and to some extent that’s what that was inspired by. I think about how awful we’ve let things become. And I wonder what it would be like to not have to think about that. It’s very hard for me to capture, but I think that that’s really the inspiration for that one. Though I was sending these two out in a batch, whenever I was submitting them to places, and I did that because they share a lot of the same language. Like calcite, which isn’t, you know, not the most common of words, and I liked that they shared the language. In a way they just belonged together to me because they both explored these horrible happenings, and not poetry that involves my own personal trauma or whatever, as usual. [laughter]

Matthew: Yeah. As usual. It’s funny ‘cause you made that sound so minor, like, ‘my own personal trauma as usual’, you know? And I think I love that because if this does really capture your own personal trauma, you have totally crossed that hurdle of taking something that emotionally affects you, right, that is tied into you, and making it something that feels essential and integral to all of us. Because that’s what I felt reading these poems. I felt like it was about the universe, you know? You have done so well in making that a universal thing rather than just purely a personal thing.

Kate: Well, thank you.

Marina: I feel like we’ve been talking a lot, just throughout other submissions we’ve received as well, about the idea of death and memory, too. I feel like I even get that vibe here with “ghazal” being that creationist myth of almost the oral history type of story, death and memory playing with legend, in a way. And death and memory in “thick crusts”, I mean, I think it’s pretty clear there, but just how…with it being from the perspective of a bone. It’s just this thing in the ground no one remembers, but kind of sees everything too.

Matthew: Yeah. We are getting a lot of submissions about death and memory lately. It’s almost like those are things that a lot of people are thinking about for some reason. I don’t know why. [laughter] 

Marina: Yeah, who’s to say? But it’s fascinating, especially hearing that you were intentionally submitting these together, too. I’m really glad we took both in that case.

Matthew: Yeah. And I think it’s really interesting. I wonder how much this world kind of affects both the art that we are seeing and the art that we are publishing, right? I don’t know. Here’s a question. Did you write these before or after the big seismic change in every single person’s life?

Kate: I wrote them at the beginning of last year, around March. It was right before, at least for “ghazal”. And then “thick crusts” was actually a friend I met during the—what did you call it? Seismic change?

Matthew: The big seismic change in everyone’s lives. Yes.

Kate: Yes. So, it was at the beginning when that kind of uneasy unknowing was happening.

Matthew: Hm. Do you think that—do you think that’s affected your work at all?

Marina: Even beyond these two poems? Just in general.

Kate: As a chronically ill person, definitely.

Matthew: Oh, I’m sorry.

Kate: Oh, no, it’s completely fine. I am someone with an autoimmune issue and I’ve barely left beyond going to work in a year. Left home, I mean. I think that definitely my work has gotten much darker and leaned more into, often, the body horror, I think.

Matthew: Oh, it’s…so you’re saying it’s gotten darker than this, then. [laughter]

Kate: Sometimes.

Matthew: Wow. Wow. Okay. I’m kind of curious, actually. I don’t know. That’s kind of…

Marina: Submit again, Kate!

Darin: There’s definitely a hint of body horror in these poems. That’s the stuff that I liked the most.

Matthew: Oh yeah, totally.

Marina: Yeah, when you do it, you do it really well.

Matthew: I want to ask about one particular line, actually. So, you said “the farmers in the fields bury themselves alive with their tools”—in “Ordivician”—“or they do not. They likely do not.” I just find that so interesting. To me, that’s one of the most interesting lines in the poem. I don’t know why? It just jumps out to me. The, “or they do not, they likely do not”. Would it be possible just to have you kind of talk about that particular line? When you write that,  how would you—I’m trying to find a right way of saying it that’s not like, how should we interpret this? But what is your insight in that, I guess, is a good way to say it.

Kate: I love that line, actually. It was meant to be tongue-in-cheek. But I thought about it a lot and I’m—I work on a vegetable farm and I often have, you know, thoughts when I’m alone in the field, especially because of COVID, if I’m allowed to say that.

Matthew: No, no, no. I was, I was kind of joking and being tongue-in-cheek myself when I didn’t say it.

Kate: Ah, okay. But because of COVID I went from working with a lot of people to working alone and spending eight hours alone or more in a field. It kind of makes you go insane a little bit, especially if you don’t have anything to listen to. You’re just alone with your thoughts. Sometimes I’ve just been, like, what if I just dug a hole and sat in it? It’s quite literal to me, that line, because your mind wanders so, so far when you’re out in the middle of a zucchini field or something.

Matthew: No, I totally get that because I’ve had one of those jobs before, too, where it’s literally just you and you’re not working with anyone else and you have this really weird thought of like, I could just not do my job right now and, I don’t know, do something completely stupid. No one would be there to chastise me in the moment. Obviously, if I did nothing for eight hours, people would notice that no work was getting done, but yeah, you have that thought. You really do.

Elena: That’s so interesting. I went so much deeper with that line. I was thinking about the farmers who come from other other countries and that’s how they make their living to try and make a better life. And so sometimes they’re just stuck doing that for the rest of their lives and, you know, the conditions are not very great. So, I was thinking, in that sense, deeper, like this toil that they’re struggling through, which actually ties into a question I wanted to ask you, Kate, about your other poem. Maybe again, I went a little too deep. So, in Googling the title “ghazal for aguas del sur”, I was wondering if the title had any significance. I looked up—I Googled the history and I found this: it’s called the Aguas Blancas Massacre in Mexico. I kind of read into that, into the poem, and I was just curious if maybe I was reading too much into it, or if you actually had something like that in mind when you were writing this poem.

Kate: Well, first of all, I just want to say that I like your interpretation much better, and pretend I said that for the last one. [laughter] And for the second one, yes. I was, like I said, I was inspired by colonialism and just the marring of the oceans by European conquests, mostly. I was thinking about that a lot. The name actually came from a friend who read it, and I was really stuck on the name. I knew it was going to be “Ghazal for—“ something. And one of my friends was just like, well, what about this? And I said, that’s amazing. Thank you. Well, her idea was just “Ghazal for Aquas”, but that just sounded bad in my head, but I went with that.

Matthew: Well, that means that we can never dismiss—because honestly, I remember, actually, Elena, you did mention that, and I was, like, ‘but this is so much about nature. There’s no way’. Well, now the funny thing is, the moment that you said colonialism, Kate, I was like, oh, oh, oh no, wait, you had it really right. Nevermind. I like this. This makes perfect sense.

Marina: It comes back again, right? Kinda that Venn diagram. It is about nature in a lot of ways, but it’s also about colonialism and this origin myth and stuff like that. It’s that little Venn diagram of what we interpret and what the author intended. It’s fascinating stuff.

Elena: Yeah. I love that.

Matthew: Well, thank you. And we are a ways in, and it really says a lot about this work that I didn’t realize it because it’s just so fun talking about these poems, even though the poems themselves are not about fun topics. So Darin, you usually have a few closing-out questions that you like to ask.

Darin: I do. You know, what, before we even get to that, I have something that I just have not been able to stop thinking about “Ordivician”. So, I cannot believe that the poem was written as a prompt from the perspective of a bone—of a bone or all bones?

Kate: Well, I am fascinated with mass extinction. That sounded much darker than I meant it to.

Matthew (36:55): No, that’s okay. That’s an okay thing to be fascinated with.

Elena: That’s great.

Kate: Yeah. And so I really went with it when my friend said a set of bones, originally. But it can be from just one bone if you’d like.

Darin: Well, I’m trying to figure out the first line of the second part of the poem, which is “all I survey is mine”, and I’m like, why would a bone say that? Cause it sounds like almost something that a comic book villain would say.

Kate: I think of it as, like this—like I said, thinking about this idea of not having to worry about the environment and not having to worry about anything. And this loss of time itself was what I was really kind of—just like this lack of worry. And how if we had nothing to worry about, maybe things would be ours. And it is kind of this reclamation of power, even for the dead.

Darin: Wow. Okay.

Matthew: Reclamation of power specifically.

Marina: I love that. I got chills.

Matthew: No, that is my favorite thing because it’s that idea that, you know, because we are in a mass extinction now. We’re currently undergoing one. And it’s that idea that the bone has claimed this power by being at the end of a mass extinction. It doesn’t have to deal with it anymore in its death, you know? Oh, that’s so cool.

Darin: Yeah. Bones are all that’s left. They fossilize. It’s—yeah.

Matthew: Thank you for asking that. Thank you for giving us that, Kate. That’s probably what I’m going to come away with, honestly. That’s really cool.

Darin: Yeah, so I can ask the closing questions. One of them we always ask is—it’s a very selfish question, but these are the few chances we get to talk to the writers we publish and we like to ask: One, how did you find The Metaworker; and two, why did you submit the poems that you submitted to us and not to another publication?

Kate: Well, don’t even remember. Someone I follow on Instagram was published in The Metaworker and I selfishly stalk the publication history of people that I really enjoy reading and attempt to get into the same places as them.

Elena: That’s an awesome strategy to have.

Kate: Yeah. And for the reason—what sold me on The Metaworker was when I looked through your guideline page, I found it, one, charming and funny. But also, I really enjoy places that are open to both literary and genre, because I feel like my work is often in between.

Darin: Yeah. Matthew wrote that, those guidelines, so that’s all on him.

Matthew: I was very snarky. I was a young man. I had just graduated from college. We’re not getting rid of it, though, because half the time when we talk to people, they’re like, ‘oh, we really liked those’. I don’t know if I have that snark anymore, so I’m not going to bother editing it ‘cause then the snark will be gone.

Elena: Oh, I have that snark. I’ve been updating it.

Kate: Also, could I just say that I really enjoyed a lot of the—well, I mostly look through the poetry—but I enjoy the work that you publish, also. And I just liked that a lot of longer poems were getting through and that’s not necessarily always the case right now. I appreciate that, because my work is a little bit longer.

Matthew: Thank you

Elena: Yeah, awesome. Thanks.

Darin: And then the last closing question we usually ask is if you want to talk about anything that you’ve read or watched that you recommend and we’ll put it into the group chat for everyone on Discord to read.

Kate: Oh, well. I’ve been reading CT Salazar’s “The [American] Cavewall Sonnets” and I recommend them. That book is amazing. All of the sonnets are gorgeous

Matthew: Woah, okay. Wait, just by that title…what is it?

Kate: Oh, “The American Cavewall Sonnets”, my bad.

Matthew: What is a cavewall sonnet?

Kate: So, my understanding…I’ve only gotten through a few because they’re very hard to—they’re not hard to read, but they’re very powerful. “The American Cavewall Sonnets” are—I think that he describes them as poems fighting against erasure and acknowledging a cultural history. And they’re gorgeous. He’s amazing. Everyone should follow him on Instagram because he’s a librarian and he posts a lot of poetry that he’s reading from smaller poets. And it’s really nice to see.

Matthew: Oh, wow. Yeah. Thank you for sharing that. That seems really awesome. And it also kind of adheres to that mission of, you know, hopefully fighting back against the thing…the destruction that colonialism has wrought. So, we’ve got a strong throughline here. Thank you.

Kate: Thank you for having me.

Marina: Yeah. This was awesome.

Elena: Thanks so much, Kate. This was an awesome conversation.

Matthew: Yeah, yeah. We really appreciate you being here. And we hope that everyone who’s listened enjoyed listening, and thank you just for being on with us.

Kate: It was nice to be here.

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