The Wildstory: A Podcast of Poetry and Plants launched in August 2023. I am the host of the show, which I produce with Master Gardener Kim Correro for The Native Plant Society of New Jersey.
Art and nature intercept in each episode to bring listeners inside the world of poetry about the natural world and to introduce them to other well-known voices from the world of ecology. This show challenges us all to think about our own relationship with nature.
Episode 5: Poet Susan Glass and Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society
Poet Susan Glass, who has been blind since birth, speaks with Ann Wallace about the integral role birds have played in her life—and in her poetry—as she uses their songs and calls to locate herself, spatially and metaphorically, in the natural world. She also brings listeners into the creative process of completing her chapbook The Wild Language of Deer, published in 2022 by Slate Roof Press. It is a collection filled with delight, birdsong, and wonder. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann in conversation with Don Torino of the Bergen County Audubon Society and author of Life in the Meadowlands. Don, who has spent a lifetime exploring New Jersey’s Meadowlands, shares his deep knowledge of the habitat’s birds, and the plants they depend on, and he reminds us of the steps we can take to protect the birds in our communities.
Episode 4: Poet Christine Klocek-Lim and Jennifer Jewell, Cultivating Place host & author of What We Sow
In this episode, poet Christine Klocek-Lim talks with Ann Wallace about the ways in which her work engages with nature, whether she is taking us onto the trail with her or creating the sequence of persona poems in her new chapbook Nomenclatura, forthcoming from Glass Lyre Press. Christine reflects on the human history held within seemingly wild spaces, the precarity of life, and the communal element of the being outdoors. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann in conversation with Jennifer Jewell, host of the podcast Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden in advance of her appearance at the Garden Futures Summit in New York City hosted by The Garden Conservancy on September 29. Jennifer speaks with us about her new book What We Sow, from Timber Press, a book germinated in the early months of the pandemic, when the widespread seed shortage led Jennifer into a fascinating and moving reflection on the cultural, environmental, and metaphoric meaning of seeds.
Episode 3: Poet January Gill O'Neil and Edwina Von Gal of the Perfect Earth Project
Poet January Gill O’Neil speaks with Ann Wallace about her new collection, Glitter Road, forthcoming from CavanKerry Press in February 2024. January discusses her year as the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, and her immersion in the difficult cultural history of the south, as laid against its rich and fertile landscape. She also reflects on the ways in which the pandemic, which began toward the end of residency, allowed time for family, writing, and observation of the natural world. We then hear from Dr. Randi Eckel for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann Wallace in the final segment for an important conversation with renowned landscape designer Edwina Von Gal in advance of her appearance at the Garden Futures Summit in New York City, which is hosted by the Garden Conservancy on Sept 29. Edwina speaks about sustainable design and the Perfect Earth Project, as well as her Two Thirds for the Birds initiative, which offers an easy-to-remember strategy for incorporating native plants into our gardens.
Episode 2: Poet Lisbeth White and Botanical Illustrator Katy Lyness
Lisbeth White, a poet from Washington State and author of American Sycamore (Perugia Press, 2022) speaks with Ann Wallace about how ancestry, myth, and stories are contained within the American landscape, reflecting on the simultaneous beauty and historic violence evoked and held within the trees and waterways of this nation, and how ritual might help restore connection to the land. We also hear from Dr. Randi Eckel, President of the Native Plant Society of New Jersey, for a new installment of Ask Randi. And co-host Kim Correro joins Ann Wallace for a lively conversation with botanical illustrator Katy Lyness, delving into the past roles and present joy of the art form.
Episode 1: Poet Sati Mookherjee and Kim Rowe of the Independent Garden Center
Sati Mookherjee, a poet from the Pacific Northwest, speaks with Ann Wallace about her new collection Ways of Being, published by MoonPath Press in 2023. Sati delves into grief, language, and the quiet observation of the landscape of the Sailish Sea where she lives in Washington State. In the second segment of this episode, co-producer Kim Correro joins Ann for a conversation with Kim Rowe of the Independent Garden Center Initiative.