My first guest is the US poet Mike Smith, whose most recent collection Pocket Guide to Another Earth includes a section of zombie poems. With Brandon Nelson, Mike curates Zombie Poetry Project, which they describe as “an experiment in machine-assisted composition.” From TV shows to video games, zombies circulate widely in contemporary popular culture. But for all of their entertainment value, their appearance also coincides with and respond to times of global conflict and crisis—epidemics, migration, climate change, the global economic crisis, to name a few—and the fears and anxieties that they provoke. In this episode, which we recorded in a sound studio in Memphis, Mike and I talked about zombie poetry, why Trump’s tweets improve through zombification, and Mike’s memoir And There was Evening and There was Morning, a series of essays on family, illness, and grief.
This episode features poems that appear in Mike Smith’s Pocket Guide to Another Earth, published in 2018 by Dos Madres Press, as well as an excerpt from And There was Evening and There was Morning, also published in 2018 by WTAW Press.