Transcript: Poems on Air, Episode 75 - Michelle Bitting

The following transcript is provided for accessibility only. Layout, formatting, and typography of poems may differ from the original text. We recommend referring to the original, published works when possible to experience the poems as intended by their authors.

[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: One of the joys of being a member of the poetry community is the opportunity to read one’s work in the company of other poets one admires. I had such an opportunity this past July when Los Angeles’ Craft Contemporary Museum hosted Michelle Bitting, Matthew Dickman, and me for a reading and reception. Michelle Bitting is a Lecturer in Poetry and Creative Writing at Loyola Marymount University and Film Studies at U of Arizona Global. She’s the recipient of multiple awards including the 2020 Montreal International Poetry Prize, the 2021 Fish Poetry Contest, the 2018 Fischer Poetry Prize, and Quarter After Eight’s 2018 Robert J. DeMott Short Prose Contest. Bitting’s latest collection, Nightmares and Miracles, won Two Sylvias Press’ Wilder Award.

LYNNE THOMPSON: Today’s poem is "Labyrinth" by Michelle Bitting


Here we are at the entrance again.
Depending on how much sleep I lost last
night it will eventually act like an exit. All
the debacles—political, familial—are
health-related. In fact, this spiral is really
a stethoscope pressed to my heart
wrapped in tissue with half a Tiger’s Milk
bar and some thread. Also inside the
pocket, a severed red lipstick and a
minotaur I’d better feed soon. Between the
two of us, it’s hard to say who’s more
stumped and terrified by circles. Somehow
the walls manage to know when we’re
hungry and claustrophobic at the same
time. They shift back a little, like clouds.
And we eat them clean to the center.

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 is available wherever you get your podcasts. Thanks for listening!

[Music outro]

  • Back to Poems on Air: Episode 75

  • 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.