Speedway & Swan Episode 12: Brenda Hillman

“…Now the people / passing me in the cars, faces red and / pink swollen like the climbing bittersweet / berries bouncing up and down like dice / in trustless boxes, might just as well be me / caught in a body nowhere completely / at home” –Christopher Gilbert

Poet Brenda Hillman joins host Brian Blanchfield for an episode of poetry that stages the private transformative moment and also insists on direct action in the public sphere—sometimes in the same gesture. Featuring work by by poets Christopher Gilbert, César Vallejo, Emily Dickinson, Denise Levertov, Ana Cristina Cesar, Nate Klug, Marjorie Welish, Amiri Baraka, Barbara Guest, Chris Martin, and Wallace Stevens. With musical selections by HNNY, Marcia Griffiths, The JBs, Nina Simone, El Vy, and more.

Emily Dickinson | “[The Zeroes taught us Phosphorus],” The Pocket Emily Dickinson. Shambhala, ed. Brenda Hillman. 2009.

Christopher Gilbert | “Tourist,” Turning Into Dwelling. Graywolf Press Re/View Series, 2015.

César Vallejo | Poem 45 from Trilce, tr. James Wright.

Denise Levertov | “Life at War” The Sorrow Dance. New Directions, 1966.

Nate Klug | “Sound from Sound,” (after Virgil’s The Aeneid 2), Anyone, University of Chicago Press, 2015.

Amiri Baraka | “Monday in B Flat,” Exaltation of Forms, ed. Annie Finch and Kathrine Varnes. University of Michigan Press, 2002.

Marjorie Welish | “Design with Drawing,” Casting Sequences. University of Georgia Press, 1993.

Barbara Guest | “The Brown Vest,” The Red Gaze. Wesleyan University Press, 2005.

Ana Cristina Cesar | from A Teus Pés. 1982, original translation by Brenda Hillman, 2015.

Chris Martin | “Time [Snow is the conversation],” The Falling Down Dance. Coffee House Press, 2015.

Wallace Stevens | “The Motive for Metaphor.” Transport to Summer. Alfred A Knopf, 1947.


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.