Podcast Episode 13: When someone says the world is a fish

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Welcome back to the Reckoning Press podcast. It’s been ages, but we’re ramping up to a lot of cool new stuff in the coming year and beyond, including lots more podcasts, a fundraiser to increase payrates to 10c/word, $50/page for poetry and pay staff better too, t-shirts, pins, who knows what else. Homebrew recipes. Foraging instructions. Bespoke lectures about culling invasive species. We’re flush with ideas, as we should be, but we’re always looking for more. Drop us a line if you’ve got any?

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Thank you very much for listening.

This week’s episode features Nancy Lynée Woo reading her poem “When someone says the world is a fish” from Reckoning 6. You’re going to wish you had Catherine Rockwood here to help ground you in this delightful, funny, nesting puzzle of a poem, but she’s off for a bit, so you’re stuck with me. I’ll make it quick. The way I read it, this is a poem about metonymy, the endlessly regressing act of replacement that we’re always performing when we engage in language. We use language to situate ourselves in the world, in nature, but each time we interpose a word describing a thing—a silk worm, a rat, a wisteria—we distance ourselves from that thing by introducing another layer of interpretation. It doesn’t take many iterations of a poem interpreting a children’s science book interpreting science interpreting nature before we arrive at something that feels and works a lot like decadence. How do we find our way back? Can we? What gets lost on the way?

[Bio below.]

When someone says the world is a fish by Nancy Lynée Woo


Author: Nancy Lynée Woo

Nancy Lynée Woo is a poet, educator, and community organizer. As a 2022 Artists at Work fellow, she brings arts programming to community gardens. Previously, she has received fellowships from PEN America, Arts Council for Long Beach, and Idyllwild Writers Week. Nancy has an MFA in poetry from Antioch University and a BA in sociology from UC Santa Cruz. Find her cavorting around Long Beach (Tongva), California, and online at nancylyneewoo.com or @fancifulnance on social.

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