Transcript: Poems on Air, Episode 11 - F. Douglas Brown

[Music intro]

LYNNE THOMPSON: Hello! My name is Lynne Thompson, Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles and I’m so happy to welcome listeners to this installment of Poems on Air, a podcast supported by the Los Angeles Public Library. Every week, I’ll present the work of poets I admire, poets who you should know, and poets who have made a substantial and inimitable contribution to the art and craft of poetry.

LYNNE THOMPSON: Continuing the celebration of Cave Canem’s 25th anniversary, I’m pleased to have the op-portunity to spotlight F. Douglas Brown, an L.A.-based poet who I’m pleased to call a friend. Doug was selected as a Notable Debut Poet in 2014 by Poets and Writers after his collection “Zero to Three” was selected by former Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith as the winner of Cave Canem’s Poetry Prize. Brown is a Fellow of both Cave Canem and Kundiman, an organiza-tion dedicated to nurturing Asian American poets, and he teaches English and African American poetry at Loyola High School of Los Angeles.

LYNNE THOMPSON: Today’s poem is “This Name / His" by F. Douglas Brown.

This Name / His

Your name forms
The moment your lungs grab
Air out of air—An open
Window, cold building
On the back wall of your throat.
Frances says “Isaiah” her southern
Rooted voice swallows
The weight of your birth—
“Isaiah, he sounds important.”
And when I nod, there is a flock
Of pigeons I’m letting free.
Their flaps mark the meter
In your name. If there is a feather
Where I am standing, I know Frances
Will see it and know special—
The kind of special that appeared
To your mother long before
Your first breath. How the two
Of you talked through
Skin, fluid, placenta still baffles me.
Your conversation,
A code of kicks and her speech.
“Isaiah.” It falls to floor
And bounces every time—
The way any good word should.

LYNNE THOMPSON: The Los Angeles Poet Laureate was created as a joint program between the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Public Library and this podcast will be available on the Library’s website. In the future, episodes will be available on iTunes, Google, and Spotify. Thanks for listening!

[Music outro]

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  • DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a certified or verbatim transcript, but rather represents only the context of the class or meeting, subject to the inherent limitations of real-time captioning. The primary focus of real-time captioning is general communication access and as such this document is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended for use in any type of legal proceeding. Transcript provided by the author.