S7E5 Robin Coste Lewis and Bongani Kona in Conversation: “Exploding the Myth of Time”
06 Apr 2023
Photo credits: Robin Coste Lewis by Abigail Rudner
Bongani Kona hosts Robin Coste Lewis for a discussion of her award-winning poetry collections To the Realisation of Perfect Helplessness and Voyage of the Sable Venus.
This capacious conversation includes a reckoning with mortality and a homage to the dead, brain damage and memory loss, poetry and metaphor, mentors, time as a tool of oppression, the life of Black Arctic explorer Matthew Henson, diaspora, Western art and visual culture, Robin’s grandmother’s photo album, unknowability and new ways of looking.
Bongani Kona is a PhD candidate and lecturer in the Department of History at the University of the Western Cape. He’s also on the board of PEN South Africa.
Robin Coste Lewis won the National Book Award for her first collection of poetry Voyage of the Sable Venus and Other Poems (Knopf, 2015). Her second book, To the Realisation of Perfect Helplessness (Knopf, 2022) won the 2023 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection. Robin is the former poet laureate of Los Angeles. She holds a PhD in Poetry and Visual Studies from the University of Southern California
In this episode we stand in solidarity with İlhan Sami Çomak. He has been imprisoned in Türkiye for 28 years. You can read more about his case here. A selection of his poems Separated from the Sun was published in September 2022 by Smokestack Books.
As a tribute, Robin reads İlhan Sami Çomak’s “I Give Praise to Flight” translated by Caroline Stockford and “There but for the Grace” by Wisława Szymborska.
Listen to the episode here: