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Andrew Singer: Gaia seems pretty cool


Goodbye, dear friend, you might be gone, but merely on a trip. We shall eagerly await the moment when your talent will delight us once again. Until then, bon voyage across the seas of time, may you have a journey as full of poetry as yourself!

Bianca Zbarcea: Dear Andrew, how do you see the coronavirus from the perspective of a poet?

Andrew Singer: As a poet, I can answer with a poem: “Mother’s Day / Pandemic". This was written for US Mother’s Day, which was last Sunday 10 May.

BZ: Where in Europe (what city) would you like to spend your summer vacation (maybe in a parallel universe where deadly viruses don't exist)?

AS: There’s so many nice cities! I like Amsterdam and Berlin, Lviv and London; just visiting friends anywhere would be nice.

BZ: What is the basis and structure of your literary podcast? What inspired it and what are your hopes in relation to it?

AS: Trafika Europe Radio is a platform open to partner-producers widely, for any number of podcast series presenting on different aspects of literature and literary communities across the 47 countries of Council of Europe and beyond. We’re launching with 5 podcast series in our first season: Dalkey Archive Press: Black on White; Swiss Literature Today; Women in Translation; Turkish Sofa, and Bowery Poetry Speaks. We are working to expand these offerings in our second season. Ideally we’re happy to consider series proposals from anyone with the energy, literary focus, English-language communication skills, resources and technical savvy to make a podcast series suitable for our platform. We also have capacity for one-off and special events in our livestream, for covering literary news, presenting “literary music" and so on. This is really community radio for literature from Europe. Here is a link to a brief introductory video giving more of the background, scope and ideals for this Radio project:

As for future hopes, there’s opportunity to integrate the Radio with our other Trafika Europe components – to publish a piece in our journal, speak with the author on our Radio, list their upcoming events in our Calendar, and promote their books in our Shop online. As well, I hope our Radio content can be seamlessly searchable in future together with other site content, to support academic and other research. These are some hopes for the project going forward from here.

BZ: How do you turn a prestigious journal such as Trafika Europe into a radio? Any magic involved?

AS: It’s been a long process and a steep learning curve, coming better to know at least some of the many literary communities across Europe, as well as about technical aspects of making an online radio, of course. Anyway, when it works this growth has felt organic – when all the needed elements for some piece of it have come finally into place, we’ve been able to progress pretty smoothly. It’s great to find a lot of people out there who share this ideal, of making literature more accessible and visible internationally, and nurturing a new media space – a kind of fresh page online – where this conversation can continue to grow in openness and mutual regard.

BZ: What’s the first thing on your to do list after the pandemic passes?

AS: There’s a NYC branch of an old favorite Boston ice-cream shop, which makes amazing ice-cream sundaes.

It would also be great to travel again in Europe, to bring Trafika Europe Radio more directly in service to European literary festivals, to cover what they’re doing and hopefully arrange further cooperations for our Radio going forward. It’s a wide-open medium with a lot of time to fill – and there’s an awful lot of great literature and literary activity out there which could work so well on our platform. So it’s a creative process of further establishing the project, and travel is a very useful way to go about this.

BZ: What verse crosses your mind right now? Maybe a special one from one of your poems?

AS: I think of Derek Walcott’s poem, “The Season of Phantasmagorical Peace", which begins:

Then all the nations of birds lifted together

the huge net of the shadows of this earth

in multitudinous dialects, twittering tongues,

stitching and crossing it. (…)

BZ: What’s your favorite mythological creature?

AS: Gaia seems pretty cool.


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