Welcome to “The Beat,” a poetry podcast by Knox County Public Library. Today, you’ll hear two poems read by the poet Chris Tonelli. A review in Publisher’s Weekly described the experience of reading Tonelli’s work as “wading through and wandering in an active mind.” I like Tonelli’s ability to take the everyday images around us and create a new reality, a world in which almost anything can happen. Something about his humor and quick leaps of imagination remind me of Buster Keaton. Here are the poems “Wide Bird” and “Pluto” by Chris Tonelli.
A robin hops around in the grass
near where I’ve sat down. Holds
his ear to the ground—listening
for worms I assume. What if he hears
the rumbling beneath us, plunges in
his beak, and pulls out the train?
If everything is wrong
is wrong now.
I was the planet
in a play once;
I will make the best
That was “Wide Bird” and “Pluto” by Chris Tonelli. He was kind enough to record these poems for us at his home in Raleigh, NC. Chris Tonelli is a founding editor of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC; co-director of the North Carolina Book Festival; and author of five chapbooks and two full-length collections of poetry. He works in the Libraries at North Carolina State University and is the co-owner of So & So Books in downtown Raleigh, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and two kids, Miles and Vera. You can find Tonelli’s books, The Trees Around and Whatever Stasis, in our online catalog, or call us at the Reference Desk at Lawson McGhee Library. Also look for links in the show notes. Please join us next time for “The Beat.”
Thank you for listening to and sharing this podcast from Knox County Public Library in Knoxville, Tennessee. Music for this podcast is by Chad Crouch. Find all our podcasts at pods.knoxlib.org, and explore life-changing resources at www.knoxlib.org. That's "knox l-i-b." Go to our "keep in touch" page to sign up for newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make us your essential connection for life-long learning and information.