Four Poets Read Poems and Talk Poetry

On Wednesday night, I had a wonderful opportunity to sit down with four poets who read poems and talked poetry. The poets were Aaron Belz, Mary Biddinger, Jeannine Hall Gailey, and Nate Pritts.

If I seem a little distracted at the beginning, it’s only because I had the YouTube stream open at the same time and the feedback threw me off. What can I say? It was my first Google Hangout.

A bit about the panelists:

Aaron Belz is the author of Lovely, Raspberry and The Bird Hoverer.

Mary Biddinger is the author of O Holy Insurgency, Saint Monica, and Prairie Fever.

Jeannine Hall Gailey is the poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, and author of Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, and Unexplained Fevers.

Nate Pritts is the author of several poetry collections, including Right Now More Than Ever, Honorary Astronaut, and Sweet Nothing.

A few highlights:

  • Mary compares her poetic process to demonic possession. For her, writing poetry is about losing control.
  • Jeannine and Nate share a love of comic books. Nate even writes and draws them.
  • Aaron goes against the “be nice” grain, though I wouldn’t say that he’s mean. He also said he feels like he often feels like he doesn’t really belong when he reads poetry.
  • Jeannine reads a poem from the upcoming edition of Poet’s Market.
  • Mary shares that it’s never a good idea to jump up and down in an elevator–even when celebrating a poem acceptance.
  • The group is split on reciting their own poems in public readings.
  • Nate tries to get sounds and motions of sounds to come together in his first draft–going after tempo and beats.
  • And so much more!

For all of us, this was our first ever Poetry Hangout. I’m looking forward to doing more in the future.


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


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3 thoughts on “Four Poets Read Poems and Talk Poetry

  1. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    Thank you for this Robert. I enjoyed listening to everyone on this panel, especially the poetic advice given. Everyone was awesome and brave. I absolutely loved Jeannine’s poem “I forgot to tell you the most important part,” especially these lines: “forget about your shoes, people will judge you by your shine,” “Cinderella’s shoe came off at midnight because it hurt” and “long bangs hide a multitude of sins.” I have bangs and that just cracked me up. I simply loved Mary’s reading voice and poems and hope I can get to that point of perfection in my own reading. “Unexplained Fevers” and “O Holy Insurgency” are definitely on my to-buy list.


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