RMSYL 42: The Strange Hours Travelers Keep by August Kleinzahler (read by Niall O’Sullivan)

NiallOSullivan1Imagine a small tribe living on the edge of the savannah.

A tribe with it’s requisite, antler festooned Poet-Philosopher-Shaman doing her shape shifting, neologising, bewilderment making best to entertain us.

What he or she presents to the tribe on a daily basis is fruit of a kind of psycho-poetic labour. Maybe couched in a technically tricky and arcane form like a sestina, or terza rima, stuffed to the gills with near and slant rhymes, the individual quest is synthesized for collective consumption.

So important is this work for those who gather to listen or read that the creator of these poems is rewarded with the highest accolades. For her cooking pot: the tastiest morsels from the hunt. For her feet: incredibly warm and cosy winter slippers made from aardwolf pelts.

Fast-forward a million years, and we (the tribe) still need and thankfully have such people amongst us, such as Niall O’Sullivan, and his Mundane Comedy project (which alas, is no more, but all the work remains online).

For me the Mundane Comedy was a 1o pm thing. Each night, just before going to bed, Niall’s daily posting about fatherhood, Herne Hill, fair trade houmous, Star Wars, monarchism, the London riots, or whatever he thought needed to be processed that day for himself and us would pop into my inbox, and suddenly I’d be made a few stanzas more savvy about the world and my place in it.

[Read the poem before listening to the podcast + some more info about Poetry Unplugged which Niall hosts each Tuesday at the The Poetry Café
in London]

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