I'm a big fan of Jess Walter and Sherman Alexie's podcast, A Tiny Sense of Accomplishment. Many conversational podcasts don't work because they feel unstructured, but Tiny regularly delivers smart and funny conversation on a few tightly focused subjects.
Just this morning, a very special episode of Tiny was published. This one was taped live at Bumbershoot a week or so ago, and it features special musical guests Rachel Flotard and Neko Case. And Walter and Alexie read new work, too. Alexie shares one of the 145 poems (!!!) he's written since his mother's death in July. It's about grief and recovery and ritual, and it's maybe one of the best recordings of Alexie's live performance that I've ever heard. If you've never seen Alexie read live, this recording will give you a rough approximation of why he's one of the best readers in the business.
Jess Walter's poem is about Seattle. Specifically, it's about the apocalyptic summer that Seattle just lived through, and his poem is one of those wonderful stews that just gathers bits and pieces from the culture around itself and lets them melt into each other. Chances are, if you worried about it this summer it's in this poem: gentrification, Amazon, the Subduction Zone earthquake, bad traffic, Uber, lines at pot shops, the proliferation of Duck Tour boats. The poem itself feels cathartic, as though Walter is relieving the pressure that Seattle has been under for the past year. Like any poem stuffed full of references it's got some corny moments, but brief flashes of corniness can't destract from the poem's value. It's really something quite remarkable.