Speedway & Swan Episode 7: Ander Monson

Poet, essayist, and literary editor Ander Monson joins host Brian Blanchfield for an episode demonstrating the range of what contemporary poetry can do. Can and will do. With unlikely subjects (body checking in hockey, graphomania) and unlikely speakers (Lake Superior, Alice the Goon) and unlikely methodologies (Fibonacci sequencing, composition while lap swimming—flip-turns at linebreaks) the program features new work by Joanne Kyger, Aaron Kunin, and Anne Boyer, and poems by Inger Christensen, Thom Gunn, Richard Harrison, Catie Rosemurgy, Jason Bredle, and Paul Guest. Special voca archival performance by N. Scott Momaday from 1992.

With musical selections by Axel Krygier, The Ukrainians, Willie Nelson, Beck, and more.

Jason Bredle | “Planning a Career in Alternative Medicine,” A Twelve-Step Guide, New Michigan Press, 2004.

Anne Boyer | “Bon Pour Brûler,” Garments Against Women. City Lights Books, 2015.

Inger Christensen | from Alphabet. tr. Susanna Nied. New Directions, 2001.

Joanne Kyger | “Barely Viewed Lunar Eclipse,” On Time: Poems, 2005-2014. City Lights Books, 2015.

Thom Gunn | “My Sad Captains,” My Sad Captains, Faber and Faber, 1961.

Aaron Kunin | “Albert and David,” Cold Genius, Fence Books, 2014.

Catie Rosemurgy | “Lake Superior Confesses the Shore of Keweenaw Bay,” My Favorite Apocalypse. Graywolf, 2001.

N. Scott Momaday | Three epitaphs: “The Minor Writer,” “On Chastity” and “The Death of a Ceramicist.” voca archive selection: Reading, The University of Arizona Poetry Center, Tucson, March, 1992.

Richard Harrison | “Using the Body,” Hero of the Play. Wolsak and Wynn, 1993.

Paul Guest | “The Last Words of Alice the Goon,” The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, New Issues Press, 2003. 


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.