Speedway & Swan Episode 1: Jane Miller

The first episode. With host Brian Blanchfield, poet Jane Miller brings some of her favorite poems, reflects on registers of tragedy in contemporary poetry, muses about the impact of Adrienne Rich, and speculates about a bull on a boat in the rain in a 19th-century haiku. Musical selections include the Trio Esperanca, Kristen Hersh, and Bill Frisell.

“How hard is it raining?”

Masaoka shiki | Untitled haiku [“With a bull on board”], c. 1890. reprinted and translated by R.H. Blyth in Empire of Signs, by Roland Barthes, Hill and Wang.

Wallace Stevens | “Two Figures in Dense Violet Light,” Harmonium. Knopf, 1923.  (Included in Collected Poems.)

Rachel Zucker | “The Meanest Thing I Ever Said,” The Pedestrians. Wave Books, 2014.

Chelsea Minnis | from “Prefaces,” Bad Bad. Fence Books, 2007.

Paul Violi | “On an Acura Integra,” Selected Poems of Paul Violi, 2015.

Zbigniew Herbert | “Elegy of Fortinbras,” Study of the Object, 1961. tr. Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott. Selected Poems. Penguin, 1968.

Christopher Davis | “Jojos’s,” The Tyrant of the Past and the Slave of the Future. Texas Tech University Press, 1989.

Adrienne Rich | “Diving Into the Wreck,” Voca recording from January 1974, The University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Linda Gregg | “The Letter,” The Sacraments of Desire. Graywolf, 1992.

Jennifer Moxley | “Dividend of the Social Opt Out,” The Open Secret. Flood Editions, 2015.

Paul Celan | Untitled [“Count up the almonds”]. Poppy and Memory. tr. Michael Hamburger, 1952.


SPEEDWAY & SWAN is a fortnightly one-hour free-format radio program that presents contemporary poetry against a context of variously compatible and offbeat musical selections.  Culling from the exceptional libraries of his partners, the University of Arizona Poetry Center and KXCI 91.3 Tucson Community Radio, creator and host Brian Blanchfield is joined in conversation each episode by a rotating guest co-host who brings to the hour a selection of poetry from his or her personal canon, which, along with the freshest and best from the "new shelves," they read live. 

Each show also features a recorded performance from Voca, the Poetry Center's audio archive of its legendary poetry readings since 1963.  SPEEDWAY & SWAN represents a partnership between the Poetry Center, which will archive the show in listenable format with an annotated playlist, and KXCI, where the show streams live.   

Since 1983, KXCI 91.3 FM has been committed to connecting Tucson and Southern Arizona to one another and to the world with informative, engaging, and creative community-based radio programming.

Brian Blanchfield is a poet and writer whose two books of poetry, Not Even Then and A Several World, have won him The James Laughlin Award, a Howard Foundation fellowship, and recognition as longlist finalist for the National Book Award. A poetry editor of Fence, he teaches creative writing at the University of Arizona and runs the downtown Tucson reading series Intermezzo. Contact: speedwayandswan@gmail.com.