The History of Literature #204 – Living Poetry (with Bob Holman


Fellow poet Naomi Shihab Nye says that Bob Holman’s “life gusto and poetry voice keep the world turning.” In this episode of The History of Literature, we tap into that voice, as Bob Holman joins us for a rollicking conversation about the poetic life he’s led, from his birth in a small town in Kentucky to his decades living in New York City, where – in the words of Henry Louis Gates Jr. – he’s “done more to bring poetry to cafes and bars than anyone since Ferlinghetti.” Holman’s latest works (Life Poem and The Unspoken, published recently by Bowery Books, were written fifty years apart. We’ll ask Bob how he’s changed as a poet and person in those years, and to give us his sense of where poetry has been, where it is now, and where it’s headed.

Poets and writers discussed or mentioned include ee cummings, William Blake, Gregory Corso, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Mayakovsky, the Russian futurists, Kenneth Koch, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Philip Roth, Donald Lev, Jackie Sheeler, Alan Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Jayne Cortez, Papa Susso, Pablo Neruda, Homer, Sappho, and Sekou Sundiata.

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Music Credits:

“Bass Walker” and “Bluesy Vibes Sting” by Kevin MacLeod (
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 4.0 License

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