Speedway & Swan Episode 25: Mary-Kim Arnold

“Provenance is to Providence...” Poet and visual artist Mary-Kim Arnold joins host Brian Blanchfield for an episode of poetry that explores lineage and considers fate and declares self-determination. New poems by Patrick Rosal, Sara Nicholson, Tyehimba Jess, Francine J. Harris, and Kate Schapira, and older, even foundational work by Bernadette Mayer, Keith Waldrop, Carole Maso, and Wong May—and, in tribute, a poem by the late Bill Berkson.


With musical selections by Cat Power, Estelle, Tora, Lyn Collins, and more.



Carole Maso | from “Morning,” Ava. Dalkey Archive Press, 1993.


Sara Nicholson | “I Get It,” What the Lyric Is. The Song Cave, 2016.


Keith Waldrop | “The Ruins of Providence,” Selected Poems. Omnidawn, 2016.


Wong May | “Regardless,” Picasso’s Tears: Poems, 1978-2013. Octopus Books, 2014.


Bernadette Mayer | “X on Page 50 at Half-Inch Intervals,” A Bernadette Mayer Reader, New Directions, 1993.


Bill Berkson | “Broom Genealogy,” Portrait and Dream: New and Selected Poems. Coffee House Press, 2009.


Francine J. Harris | “The Storm Took Goats,” Play Dead. Alice James Books, 2016.


Kate Schapira | from Handbook for Hands that Alter as We Hold Them Out. Horse Less Press, 2016.


Patrick Rosal | from “Brooklyn Antediluvian,” Brooklyn Antediluvian. Persea, 2016.


Tyehimba Jess | “Edmonia Lewis, Provenance,” Olio. Wave Books, 2016.


The FCC made me do it: I omitted a radio-unready word from the early lines of Sara Nicholon's "I Get It." The poem begins: The cherries on my tree / Are too sour to eat. / The embankment smells / Like salt, fruit, shit. / My hair is black / And so is the sun / When I hold it up to it / And wave it (my hair) beneath / It (the sun)..."


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. 

Most episodes also feature 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 archives 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. HIs third book, Proxies: Essays Near Knowing, was the winner of a 2016 Whiting Award in Nonfiction. Contact: speedwayandswan@gmail.com.