Season 2 Episode 48: Mary Jo Malo on a Poet’s Calling

A word has power
Whether mined by
demagogues
for control
or carved into stone
for memorial
It can carry us
into exile
From ourselves
From our homes
A word can steel
the heart
or build an edifice
of faith in the future
It sifts or unites
and defines
Yet
destroy the word
You steal
time.

Mary Jo Malo, Stele

Welcome to Tea Toast & Trivia.

Thank you for listening in!

I am your host, Rebecca Budd, and I am looking forward to sharing this moment with you.  There are times when it is impossible to connect across the miles via technology.  Today, Mary Jo Malo and I are establishing a new dynamic in podcasting in the form of letter writing, which many consider a lost art.  And yet, Mary Jo and I believe that letter writing has not been forgotten.  

Together, Mary Jo and I designed a new way of letter writing by creating this podcast.   While Mary Jo cannot be present in the form of her actual voice,  her thoughts and insights are captured in a letter between friends  So put the kettle on and add to this vibrant discussion on Tea, Toast & Trivia. A very special thank you to Mary Jo, for heading into a new adventure in podcasting. 

Thank you dear listeners,  for joining Mary Jo and me on Tea Toast & Trivia. And a very special thank you and shout out to Mary Jo.  I invite you to meet up with Mary Jo on her blog, This Shining Wound, Original Poetry by Mary Jo Malo.  It is a place where the music of words dwell. Until next time, stay safe, be well.

Martha’s Story Tea. Toast. & Trivia.

  1. Martha’s Story
  2. The Trio on Dunbar’s Number
  3. Klausbernd Vollmar on Colours of Life
  4. Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene on Writing Steampunk
  5. Mary Jo Malo on a Poet’s Calling

26 Comments Add yours

  1. elisabethm says:

    Looking forward to this conversation between two dear blogging friends!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I would love to have your thoughts on this new way of connecting. Sometimes our technology does not stretch to capture a conversation. Mary Jo has been a brilliant guide on how to embrace our poet’s calling. Whether we write poetry or are a reader of poetry – we enter into a profound exchange. I think of Alexander Pushkin’s decision to use poetry in Eugene Onegin. I cannot imagine it to be in any other format. Don and I are still talking about Eugene and Alexander – thanks to a remarkable translator! Have a wonderful day. Sending hugs!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. elisabethm says:

        Good morning, Rebecca! I listened to the podcast this morning and was pleasantly surprised. It worked very well, not least because you have the perfect voice for it.
        Just like the decision to use poetry, I think that the decision to use a letter exchange changes the whole concept. I think of famous letter novels, like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for instance. It really changes the reader’s experience. Poetry often leaves more room for interpretation, but also more freedom for the poet to play with words, meanings, feelings. It’s a fascinating subject.
        This was an inspiring and sparkling conversation, that gave me plenty of food for thought!
        Hugs for you and Don!

        Liked by 4 people

      2. Mary Jo Malo says:

        I agree 🙂 Rebecca really does have the most lovely voice and carried the podcast herself this time with her customary insightful questions and grace.

        Liked by 4 people

      3. Clanmother says:

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful feedback, Elisabeth. Over the past months, I have been going through my Father’s notes and letters, which has given me a sense of his life. His early letters had a strong cursive writing that had the boldness of youth starting out in life. As the years progressed, there were changes in strength until the last years, when his writing was almost illegible. But he never gave up on cursive writing. Your thoughts on Bram Stroker’s Dracula has sent me on another research project – and you know how much I love researching a new idea. A big thank you!!! Will be in touch! Hugs coming back with all speed from Don and me! Always an adventure.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. Mary Jo Malo says:

    I really do love this encouraging, creative community ❤️❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  3. YogiMa says:

    I love letter writing and am always seeking to find and to be a steady pen pal. These days I do most my letter writing through email. But I think there is something profoundly intimate in letter writing. Poet’s Calling resonates with me. I love your bold, new adventure. I’m inspired. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      I am delighted that you listened in and for your heartwarming comments. You have made my day. Thank you. This winter my project is to go back to cursive writing. I have started the process and YIKES – I can’t read my own writing. I have become accustomed to typing and printing so that even my thought the process has changed. I did not know this would a consequence of taking a long, long, decades break from cursive writing. Always an adventure…

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Dave Astor says:

    Listening to this “epistolary” podcast was like reading an excerpt from a great epistolary novel. Such thoughtful eloquence about poetry, and life. Thank you, Rebecca and Mary Jo!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dave Astor says:

      I would add that the combination of Mary Jo’s wonderful poetry and Rebecca’s wonderful reading of that poetry is an amazing listening experience!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Clanmother says:

        I love of feeling of words in my mouth. They seem to come alive and float out into the universe. I read somewhere that Maya Angelou said that one day technology would be able to uncover words that have been spoken in the past. Something about words sticking to walls. So let’s keep on reading poetry and books out loud, even to an empty room. By the way, I am checking maps of Venice……

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Mary Jo Malo says:

        Thank you, Dave. I enjoyed listening to it myself!

        Liked by 3 people

      3. I, too, love the feel of words in my mouth. Many times, I have revised sentences and lines of poetry based on mouth feel.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Clanmother says:

        Oh Liz, how interesting! I have often wondered about how poets bring together words. When I recite poetry words seem to have a life of their own, as if they are in some way singing to each other.

        Liked by 3 people

    2. Clanmother says:

      Dave – thank you so much for your comments. There are a source of great encouragement to me, as is your generosity in sharing your insights on Tea Toast & Trivia. We live in a complex and uncertain world that continually challenges us to bring out best to the “global table.” This is what Mary Jo and you do – you give our readers a place to have life-affirming conversations that feed our souls and remind us that within community, we can learn, be comforted and healed.

      Liked by 3 people

  5. Ah, Rebecca and Mary Jo what a beautiful dialogue and how wonderful to listen to Rebecca’s sweet voice reading your letters and creative conversation, speaking from the heart. I loved listening both your ‘letters’ and Mary Jo’s ‘Navigate’. A thank you from my heart and hugs to both!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Thank you so much for listening in and for your heartwarming comments, Marina! I was thrilled that Mary Jo shared her insights and poetry with us. Her generous spirit spreads joy within our community. Welcome to a new week of possibilities! Sending hugs back with all speed!

      Liked by 4 people

      1. Oh, you say it so well, Rebecca, she does indeed spread her generous spirit with joy, as you do too! Ever grateful for that. A beautiful week to you and amplified hugs! 🙂 xoxo

        Liked by 4 people

  6. I wasn’t expecting an epistolary podcast! It worked beautifully as a conversation.

    I was so surprised to hear my interpretation of “Navigate” discussed. I’m glad to hear I was able to provide an additional perspective on one of my favorite poems of Mary’s.

    After Mary’s discussion of her own creative process, I was delighted to hear her turn the table and ask Rebecca about hers. (I was delighted with Rebecca’s response as well.)

    Another comment that resonated with me was that some experiences can only be expressed in poetry. I do so belief that. In fact, I would go so far as to say that every experience has its ideal form in which it needs to be expressed–poetry, short story, creative nonfiction, painting, jazz–the list goes on. We just have to find our way to it.

    Now, I have an ask. Rebecca, you asked Mary Jo what makes poetry poetry, and I was intrigued by her answer. Being able to truly understand what makes poetry poetry and not prose broken into lines has eluded me for years. I can immediately tell the difference when I see it–but I can’t explain it. Would it be possible for you to have Mary Jo back to discuss the question in depth?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Clanmother says:

      Liz – you have the very very best ideas. I have sent off an “epistle” to Mary Jo and will await her reply. Thank you for your insightful comments – you add so much to my knowledge of poetry. I continue to learn and learn and learn. And that makes life interesting and meaningful. Sending many hugs!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you for the hugs, Rebecca. They’re always appreciated. I look forward to Mary Jo’s response to your epistle.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Clanmother says:

        Mary Jo has agreed to come back to discuss your question. ! I’m beyond thrilled. Stay tuned…..

        Liked by 2 people

      3. How wonderful!!! I’m very excited!

        Liked by 2 people

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