Rodrigo Toscano Reading at Duke University

Rodrigo Toscano is an experimental poet, playwright, and labor activist. He is the author of several collections of poetry, among them: _Explosion Rocks Springfield_ (Fence Books, 2016); Partisans (O Books, 1999); _The Disparities_ (Green Integer, 2002); _Collapsible Poetics Theater_ (Fence Books, 2008), which was chosen for the National Poetry Series; and _Deck of Deeds_ (Counterpath Press, 2012). Toscano’s oeuvre, as his biographical note in the Poetry Foundation website emphasizes, “often takes the form of conversation and physical movement that interrogates, and crosses, borders: the border between poetic and political action, between the made thing and its making, between speech and theater, between languages, between social change and its provocation.”

This video contains highlights of Toscano’s reading on 5 September 2016. It includes parts of Joseph Donahue’s dynamic and insightful introduction of Toscano. Donahue, poet, critic, and Helen L. Bevington Professor of Modern Poetry at Duke University, remarked that Toscano “hears how the world talks to itself when he thinks no one is listening. What I find so deeply satisfying, and so frankly inspiring, is how the poet’s mouth channels his ear. […] He catches the words that make the world work.” The clip also features a question and answer session. Toscano offered some guiding and stimulating responses to such queries as: how do you handle voicing the polyphonic perspectives of your poetry (7:32); what is your editing process (8:46); and how do you navigate from the written poem to the spoken poem (9:59)?