Woven Stories and Open Letters: Readings by Jericho Brown, Deesha Philyaw, Lisa Suhair Majaj, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Aysha
From Micro, a Podcast for Short But Powerful Writing
Micro is a podcast for short but powerful writing. Each episode features a few short pieces of fiction, creative nonfiction, and/or poetry read by the author.
Galloping and grief, woven stories, an open letter, and a pop quiz feature in our first episode of Micro Season 3. Make yourself comfortable, because this episode travels to some uncomfortable places.
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This first piece, although it’s brief, is as complex as the time and distance it weaves through. It’s called “A Continuous Thread.” It was written by Lisa Suhair Majaj and published in the New York Times’ Tiny Love Stories, a series of autobiographical stories of love that are 100 words or less.
Our second piece can only be described as thunderous, with a rhythm akin to its buffalo subjects. It’s called “Buffalo Poem.” Written by the poet Jimmy Santiago Baca, this piece was published in The Buffalo Way, a project from the Wildlife Conservation Society that seeks to use art as a vehicle for social change.
You may have heard of our third piece, called “Ganymede.” Winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Award in 2017, it appears in a collection titled The Tradition (Copper Canyon Press, 2019), which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2020. And, honestly, any poem by Jericho Brown is the version we prefer.
Our fourth piece is the pop quiz of our time, and an incredible use of the hermit crab form, where a piece takes the form or structure of something else, like a grocery list, or a crossword puzzle, or in this case, a quiz. It’s called “A Pop Quiz for White Women Who Think Black Women Should Be Nicer to Them in Conversations about Race.” It was written by Deesha Philyaw and published by Brevity.
Our fifth and final piece is a message from a woman named Aysha—we can’t use her full name out of concern for her safety—but it describes her experience being trapped in Kabul through the final US withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s return to power. Aysha used poetry to express how she was feeling. It’s called “I Dare You.” This poem was shared with us by Reveal, from The Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX. For more about Aysha’s story, listen to the full episode from Reveal. It’s called “For 20 years, I saw no peace.”
Micro is edited and curated by Dylan Evers and produced and hosted by Drew Hawkins. Theme song is by Matt Ordes. Follow the show on Twitter at @podcastmicro.
Lisa Suhair Majaj, a Palestinian-American writer living in Cyprus, is the author of the prize-winning poetry volume Geographies of Light, published by Del Sol Press. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram at Lisa Suhair Majaj, or on Twitter at @lmajaj.
Jimmy Santiago Baca is a Chicano and Apache poet living in New Mexico. He learned to read and began writing poetry in prison, and his new book is called No Enemies. You can find him on his website at jimmysantiagobaca.com.
Jericho Brown is the author of three collections of poetry, including The Tradition, which was a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award and the winner of the 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. You can find him on Twitter at @jerichobrown, or on his website at jerichobrown.com.
Deesha Philyaw is the author of the award-winning short story collection, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at deeshaphilyaw, on Facebook at @deeshaphilyawwriter, or on her website at deeshaphilyaw.com.