Every few weeks I invite someone I like to read me a poem that they absolutely love. After reading, we chat about the poem. I then read them a poem I love, and if the guest is a poet, I also invite them to read a poem from their latest collection which we also talk about.
For the first couple of years, RMSYL had a wider remit of short stories and essays too, but I soon came to realise that there was something about sitting together and reading/talking about poetry that brought the most pleasurable and connective conversations.
I have always loved conversations where readers use literature in a Rorschach-y way to reveal something new or interesting to and about themselves. This project was inspired initially by something called Reader Response Criticism, which was big in the 60s and 70s, but is not, alas, practiced that much anymore.
I was also introduced into this kind of reading by participating and then leading Shared Reading Groups with The Reader Organisation: a deeply personal and person-centred way of engaging with literary texts and other people.
I really do believe that this is the best way to get the most interesting & fun stuff out of a text as well as each other. That’s what I continue to try and do with this podcast, and also with a Poetry Book Club which meets once a month online as well as in person. As far as I know, it’s the only poetry book club in the UK!
Our Scatterlings remit is to reading work that “speaks to the diplaced, diasporic & dervish soul in all of us”. I hope something of that spirit is also shared by this podcast.
To contact me: stevewasserman AT gmail.com