Speedway & Swan Episode 21: Laura Maher

Poet and Tucson public radio pro Laura Maher joins host Brian Blanchfield for an episode that makes a liberal sampling of contemporary lyric poetry and lyric essaying, including very new poems by Solmaz Sharif, Zack Savich, Diane Seuss, and Robyn Schiff, as well as work by Anne Carson, Robert Hass, Tracy K. Smith, Maggie Nelson, Laura Kasischke, and Mary Ruefle.   


With musical selections by The Arcs, Fleetwood Mac, Cosmo Sheldrake, Britta Phillips, Barbara Lewis, and more.



Mary Ruefle | “Kiss of the Sun,” Selected Poems, Wave Books, 2010.


Maggie Nelson | Two excerpts from Bluets, Wave Books, 2009.


Zach Savich | “Heaven for a Dollar” and “Cactus on a Metal Stair,” The Orchard Green and Every Color. Omnidawn, 2016.


Solmaz Sharif | “Deception Story,” Look, Graywolf Press, 2016.


Tracy K. Smith | “Joy,” The Body’s Question, Graywolf Press, 2003.


Robert Hass | “Meditation at Lagunitas,” Praise, Ecco Press, 1979.


Diane Seuss | “Beauty is Over,Four Legged Girl. Graywolf Press, 2015.


Laura Kasischke | “At the Public Pool,” Space, in Chains, Copper Canyon Press, 2011.


Robyn Schiff | “Gate,” A Woman of Property. Penguin, 2016.


Anne Carson | from “The Glass Essay,” Glass, Irony and God. New Directions, 1995.



The FCC made me do it: Apologies to Diane Seuss, whose poem “Beauty is Over” doesn’t deserve the omission made in the recording. The full lines in the middle of the poem read: “An unbeautiful woman is her own / antidote. Her own black grantie basilica. Go ahead. Walk in, though you must // enter via her unshaved vulva, oh the vines, the vines, the brambles that break / all axe heads and mastheads!..."



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.