Knots of a Woman (PoemTalk #145)

Tonya Foster, 'A Swarm of Bees in High Court'

Tonya Foster


Stephanie Burt, Bonnie Costello, Anna Strong Safford, and Al Filreis met up at the Woodberry Poetry Room in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to record a special episode of PoemTalk about Tonya Foster’s A Swarm of Bees in High Court. A section of that book, published in 2015 by Belladonna*, is a sequence of haiku pairs. The group focused on five pairs — those on pages 38, 39, 42, 46, and 50. The haikus on page 50 form the final entries in a long part of the book titled “In / Somniloquies.” Tonya Foster made a special recording of these poems just for use in this PoemTalk episode; they will also be added to her PennSound page.

Chris Martin and Zach Carduner traveled with us to Boston and made the usual audio podcast recording for the PoemTalk series, but also filmed the discussion. That video is available below.

We extend special thanks to Christina Davis and Mary Graham of the Woodberry Poetry Room for being so accommodating to us as always. Our thanks, also, to Nathan and Elizabeth Leight for their very generous support of PoemTalk. In our next episode, Anna and I will be back in the Wexler Studio at the Writers House, and will be joined by Ahmad Almallah and Stephen Metcalf (long-time host of the Slate Culture Gabfest) to talk about that always vexing poem “Mending Wall” by Robert Frost.