WORDSMITH the poetry podcast

Miriam Hechtman and Kelly Van Nelson

WORDSMITH - the poetry podcast, is presented by hosts Miriam Hechtman and Kelly Van Nelson, in conversation with Australian and international poets.

All Episodes

Episode eleven is here, bringing a discussion about page verses performance poetry, the art of bringing the energy into spoken word, and advice for artists on how to cope with the dreaded rejection letters, all with the incredible Scott-Patrick Mitchell. Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM) is a non-binary (they/he) poet who lives on Whadjuk Noongar Booja. A veteran of the WA slam scene, SPM’s style ranges from empowering narratives to the outright experimental. In recent times, SPM has won The Martin Downey Urban Realist Poetry Award, The Wollongong Short Story Prize plus is responsible for the one-person show The 24 Hour Performance Poem. In 2020, SPM was shortlisted for Red Room’s National Poetry Fellowship.

Feb 16

46 min 28 sec

In this episode Miriam interviews Juan Garrido-Salgado.  Juan Garrido-Salgado immigrated to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. He has published eight books of poetry and his work has been widely translated. He has also translated works by a number of leading Australian & Aboriginal poets into Spanish, including five Aboriginal poets for the anthology Espejo de Tierra/ Earth Mirror (2008).With Steve Brock and Sergio Holas, Garrido-Salgado  also translated into English the Trilingual Mapuche Poetry Anthology. The book When I was Clandestine was part of a poetical tour at the Granada International Poetry Festival in Nicaragua, Mexico and Cuba (La Habana City) in 2019. Hope Blossoming in their Ink is Juan Garrido-Salgado’s sixth poetry collection published in Australia in 2020. It is a collection of poems written over more than ten years in his new home.

Feb 10

58 min 13 sec

In episode nine, Kelly Van Nelson talks to Elizabeth McGeown about all things grief, gaslighting, guns, and ice cream. Elizabeth McGeown is a poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland and has featured in publications including Banshee, Abridged, Riggwelter and Ink, Sweat & Tears. As a spoken word artist she has been a finalist in the All-Ireland Poetry Slam four years in a row, and represented Northern Ireland at the 2019 Hammer & Tongue UK Slam Finals in the Royal Albert Hall. She has received funding from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and The National Lottery to work on her first full-length spoken word show.

Feb 3

45 min

t.r.h. blue is a writer, poet, artist, photographer, and advocate. She writes poetry and runs her business all from her little green home office in Nashville, where she lives with her wife, Alex, their son and their two dogs. As a queer Jewish woman who was raised in the church, torri is committed both to advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community, particularly as it pertains to inclusion in places of worship, and in interfaith work and relationships. When she isn't working on any of these things, you can probably find her reading, watching movies, or working on her pet writing projects.

Jan 27

44 min 20 sec

In today's episode of Wordsmith, Kelly Van Nelson interviews Jeff Cottrill. Jeff Cottrill is a journalist, fiction writer, and performance poet based in Toronto, Canada. His performance style is influenced by slam conventions, but he subverts them with wit, ironic humour and a satirical tone. He has headlined in countless literary series throughout Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. over the past twenty years. Jeff has authored four chapbooks and recorded three CDs, and he is currently working on his seventh or eighth attempt at a first novel. 

Jan 20

40 min 16 sec

This week Miriam interviews poet and professor Joshua Bennett.  Dr Joshua Bennett is the Mellon Assistant Professor of English and creative writing at Dartmouth College. He is the author of three books of poetry and criticism, 'The Sobbing School' published by Penguin, 'Being Property Once Myself', published by Harvard University Press and his most recent book of poetry 'Owed' also published by Penguin. His writing has been published in The New York Times, The Paris Review and elsewhere. His first work of narrative non-fiction, ‘Spoken Word – a cultural history”, is forthcoming from Knopf.

Jan 12

58 min 13 sec

In today's episode of Wordsmith, Kelly Van Nelson interviews international superstar, Lang Leav. Lang Leav currently resides in New Zealand and is the author of six poetry collections and two works of fiction. Her first book, Love & Misadventure (2013) was a break out success, and her subsequent poetry books have all been international bestsellers. In 2016, Lang turned her attention to fiction, and her debut novel Sad Girls shot to #1 on the Straits Times and other bestseller charts internationally. With a combined social media following of two million, Lang’s message of love, loss and female empowerment continues to resonate with her multitude of readers. Lang has been featured on CNN and SBS Australia, and in various publications, including Vogue, Newsweek, the Straits Times, the Guardian, and the New York Times. She is also the winner of the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award, and Goodreads Choice Award.  www.Langleav.com

Dec 2020

33 min 35 sec

Raina J. León, is a Black and Afro-Boricua Philadelphian. She is a mother, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, and teacher educator. She believes in collective action and community work, the profound power of holding space for the telling of our stories, and the liberatory practice of humanizing education. She is the author of three collections of poetry, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn and sombra: dis(locate) and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self. Her poetry, nonfiction, fiction, and scholarly work has been published in well over 100 journals and anthologies. https://rainaleon.com/ 

Dec 2020

57 min 6 sec

Thabani Tshuma is Zimbabwean born and raised, living abroad for the greater part of the last decade. His work is influenced by the myriad identity challenges of the diaspora, expatriates and immigrants, while also addressing awareness around addiction, mental health and generational trauma.

Dec 2020

42 min 15 sec

Today on WORDSMITH Miriam interviews Ali Whitelock.  Ali Whitelock is a Scottish poet and writer. Her new poetry collection, ‘the lactic acid in the calves of your despair’ is published by Wakefield Press and her debut collection, ‘and my heart crumples like a coke can’ (Wakefield Press 2018) has a forthcoming UK edition by Polygon, Edinburgh. Her memoir, ‘Poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell’ was launched at Sydney Writers Festival to critical acclaim in Australia and the UK.  She’s read her work at festivals & events around the world including The Edinburgh Fringe 2018 & 2019. You can read more about Ali right here: www.aliwhitelock.com


Dec 2020

1 hr 1 min

WORDSMITH - the poetry podcast, is presented by hosts Miriam Hechtman and Kelly Van Nelson, in conversation with Australian and international poets. This special edition episode, which first aired at the 2020 MELBOURNE FRINGE FESTIVAL, showcases several poets including international superstar Lang Leav, poetry legend Joshua Bennett, Scottish sensation Ali Whitelock, poetry editor and writer Raina León, and Melbourne slam champion, Thabani Tshuma. Miriam Hechtman is a writer, creative producer and poet. She is the founder and creative director of POETICA, a creative initiative and monthly live poetry and music event. She has been commissioned to write and perform her poetry for several organisations and was invited to perform her poetry at Woollahra Council’s prestigious Poetry Picnic 2020. Her poetry can also be seen and heard in a commissioned poetry video series for online publication Plus61J. Kelly Van Nelson is the #1 bestselling author of Graffiti Lane and Punch and Judy, shining a spotlight on social issues through contemporary poetry. Her books are frequently gifted to Hollywood celebrities, including Oscars winners. She is a KSP First Edition Fellowship recipient and winner of the AusMumpreneur ‘Big Idea Changing the World’, Roar Success Best Book and Most Powerful Influencer Awards.

Nov 2020

1 hr