Transcript: Poems on Air, Episode 84 - Eloise Klein Healy

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: A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a book launch and reading hosted by Red Hen Press for two of L.A.’s most beloved poets. One of those poets was Eloise Klein Healy, the first Poet Laureate for the City of Los Angeles. The founding Chair of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Antioch University as well as the founder of Red Hen’s Arktoi Press, Healy is the author of eight books of poetry, including a new collection, A Brilliant Loss, which chronicles her battle to overcome aphasia, a condition that affects "the production or comprehension of speech and the ability to read or write."(National Aphasia Association).

LYNNE THOMPSON: Today’s poem is "Just in Case" by Eloise Klein Healy

"Just in Case"

I had to remember
I had always loved you,
and something I’ve remembered about you
is now about me, too.

The one small line I kept missing
I thought my words were fine.
The language I was speaking was wrong,
but you gave me everything to save me, keep me.

I spoke sideways, hedged my meanings,
my brain no longer working.
Learning was what I worked with:
daily walking, smiling, laughing, trying.

My findable nouns and verbs
practiced language to get my “messages.”
Walk every day, wake early.

Even what I missed before,
I love you still.

Remembering everything more.

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]

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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.