Episode Two: The River & The City…& Persona part 1

This week we have the wonderful poet, J.S. Lee, author of the poetry collection somersaults I did as I fell. She takes us down to the river, the Mighty James river in the heart of Richmond, VA. We talk about the meaning of place, building a poetic community, and collaborative writing. In the second half, I discuss experiencing death and loss, and begin what will be a continuing discussion on Poetic Persona. Also, through the lens of Batman, we experience the work of John Berryman. There’s laughter, there’s the wonderful Joanna S. Lee, there’s a river, even some sadness. So please kick back and give it a listen.

This episode is dedicated to the memory of Reginald Thomas Davis, known to all as Duke, who passed away this week, October 2nd, 2013. Duke was known for his kind smile and gentle heart to his friends, family, and all who had the pleasure to share his company even if only for a moment or two.

Check out Joanna S Lee’s website for her work and Poetry happenings in the Richmond area: http://the-tenth-muse.com

Also the upcoming River City Secrets

river city s

Below are the two Berryman poems discussed in the second half.

John Berryman’s Dream Songs

Dream Song 14

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.

After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,

we ourselves flash and yearn,

and moreover my mother told me as a boy

(repeatingly) ‘Ever to confess you’re bored

means you have no


Inner Resources.’ I conclude now I have no

inner resources, because I am heavy bored.

Peoples bore me,

literature bores me, especially great literature,

Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes

as bad as achilles,


who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.

And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag

and somehow a dog

has taken itself & its tail considerably away

into mountains or sea or sky, leaving

behind: me, wag.


Dream Song 76

Nothin very bad happen to me lately.

How you explain that? —I explain that, Mr Bones,

terms o’ your bafflin odd sobriety.

Sober as man can get, no girls, no telephones,

what could happen bad to Mr Bones?

—If life is a handkerchief sandwich,


in a modesty of death I join my father

who dared so long agone leave me.

A bullet on a concrete stoop

close by a smothering southern sea

spreadeagled on an island, by my knee.

—You is from hunger, Mr Bones,


I offers you this handkerchief, now set

your left foot by my right foot,

shoulder to shoulder, all that jazz,

arm in arm, by the beautiful sea,

hum a little, Mr Bones.

—I saw nobody coming, so I went instead.


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