Speedway & Swan Episode 44: Maggie Smith


The poet Maggie Smith joins us in the KXCI studios to talk about parenting, poet-ing, Madame Secretary, and “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” ("Picture yourself in a boat on a river/ with tangerine trees and marmalade skies" –a great example of “dactylic hexameter”). Together we’ve made you a beautiful mixtape of poems and music.


Featuring Lucinda Williams, Courtney Barnett and Dionne Farris.


Victoria Chang | “OBIT,” Poem-a-Day, Academy of American Poets,  2018.


Paul Guest  | “Before,” Because Everything is Terrible, Diode Editions, 2018.


Alicia Jo Rabins | “Beautiful Virus” and “Boy, Girl, Angel, Golem”  Fruit Geode, Augury Books, 2018.


Camille Dungy | “The Average Mother,” Poem-a-Day, Academy of American Poets,  2018.


Craig Morgan Teicher | “Gnostic,” The Trembling Answers, Boa, 2017.


Cecila Vicuña | “Letter to the Ruins,” New and Selected Poems of Cecila Vicuña (ed. Rosa Alcalá), Kelsey Street Press, 2018.


Claire Wahmanholm  | “Relaxation Tape,” Wilder: Poems, Milkweed Editions, 2018.


Emily Barry | “Allegiances,” Poetry, November 2018.


Eileen Myles | “Loss,” Evolution, Grove, 2018.


Ruth Ellen Kocher | “We May No Longer Consider the End,” Poem-a-Day, Academy of American Poets, 2018.


Carl Phillips | “Brothers in Arms,” Wild is the Wind, FSG, 2018.

Maggie Smith is the author of three prize-winning books: Lamp of the Body, The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison, and Good Bones, the title poem from which went viral internationally and was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by PRI (Public Radio International). Smith has received a Pushcart Prize as well as fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, Tin House, APR, The Believer, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, Best American Poetry, and on the CBS primetime drama Madam Secretary.



SPEEDWAY & SWAN is a monthly, 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 her partners, the University of Arizona Poetry Center and KXCI 91.3 Tucson Community Radio, host Susan Briante 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.

Susan Briante’s most recent book The Market Wonders (Ahsahta Press) was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. The Kenyon Review calls it “masterful at every turn.” She is also the author of the poetry collections Pioneers in the Study of Motion and Utopia Minus (an Academy of American Poets Notable Book of 2011), both from Ahsahta Press. Briante has received grants and awards from the Atlantic Monthly, the MacDowell Colony, the Academy of American Poets, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund and the US-Mexico Fund for Culture. She is an associate professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Arizona.