In Episode 9 of The Air/Light Podcast, we host a conversation with two incredible poets: Diane Mehta and Jordan Smith, whose poems were published in Air/Light Issue 3.
Diane was a student at Union College, where Jordan teaches, and even though they were never in the classroom together the resonance between their work is obvious. Both are poets of the particular, of the moment; the world around them provides entryways into deep memories both personal and historical. Diane and Jordan write poems that bend time and space and the ancient world is a constant presence in the now–in Jordan’s poem “Good Morning,” burnt coffee in Schenectady sits alongside the ferry to Piraeus in classical Athens. Tree trimming, in Diane’s “Rock Garden,” connects us to The Iliad and the blood sacrifices of early religion.
Jordan Smith is the author of eight full-length books of poems, most recently Little Black Train, winner of the Three Mile Harbor Press Prize, Clare’s Empire (The Hydroelectric Press), a fantasia on the life and work of John Clare, and The Light in the Film (University of Tampa Press). He has also worked on several collaborations with artist Walter Hatke including What Came Home and Hat & Key. The recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, he lives with his wife, Malie, in upstate New York, where he is the Edward Everett Hale Jr., Professor of English at Union College.
Diane Mehta is the author of the poetry collection Forest with Castanets (Four Way Books). She received a 2020 Spring Literature Grant from the Café Royal Cultural Foundation for her nonfiction writing. Her poems and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Agni, American Poetry Review, The Common, Harvard Review, and Southern Humanities Review. She’s completing an essay collection and a novel set in 1946 India.