Although zombies are still typically encountered on the big and small screens and in novels, this episode will continue to explore the fascination that zombies hold for poets, and particularly in today’s poetry, which is showing signs of a serious zombie turn. In this episode, I travel to New Jersey to talk to the US poet and novelist Laura Sims, whose most recent poetry collection, Staying Alive, was published in 2016 by Ugly Duckling Presse—and inspired the name of this series. She’s also an unabashed fan of the popular zombie show The Walking Dead, and readers of her series Walking Dead Love Songs will find traces of its characters and ever-winding plot there. Zombies typically can’t do more than feed and groan and roam, so Sims’s poems focus, as most zombie texts do, on the living and their survival. In her words, “Survival/ Takes time.” But while the living race against the clock to salvage what is left for them to rebuild their lives, zombies, on the other hand, have all the time in the world.
In this episode, I travel to New Jersey to talk to Laura about our favorite zombie show, the role of art—if there is a role for art—in the post-apocalypse, and her bestselling debut novel Looker, which was published in late 2018 by Scribner.
Poems read in this episode:
“Walking Dead Love Song #32” (The New Republic)
“When the train” (Conjunctions 67)
“The city teems” (Staying Alive, UDP)