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PODCAST: There's a Poem in That

Todd's podcast turns strangers' most intimate stories into poetry.

Combining Todd's love of collaboration with his 15-year practice of writing on private commission, There's a Poem in That is a first-of-its-kind call-in show that closes each episode with the reveal of an original poem written for each guest.

Launched March 1, 2023, it's available wherever you get your podcasts.

Co-produced by Bronwen Clark, with original jazz by Esh Whitacre, the project currently has five episodes in production, thanks to a successful $5,000 Kickstarter campaign. The podcast is now looking for production partners and sponsors.

Not your typical poetry podcast, TAPIT aims for a mass audience. Its goals are:

  • to introduce a new kind of poetry process to the literary community,

  • to create new opportunities for poets, and

  • to position poetry as a dynamic way for non-poets to make meaning of their lives.

The podcast straddles Todd's interests in both literary and public art, while responding to his instinct for social activism.

Todd Boss gave voice to my life.

  Joan, guest, Episode 1

The answer to a prayer.

— Holly, guest, Episode 3

Fascinating. I don’t know anybody else who’s doing what [Todd’s] doing.

So often poetry falls under the umbrella of academia. If you have the dream

of being a poet, you’ll try to get a book published, and then you’ll

try to get a teaching post. Nobody ever thinks of soliciting clients to

write poems for them. That’s pretty inventive.

— poet Spencer Reece

Todd has long written poems on private commission — to celebrate a friendship, save a marriage, manage a crisis of faith, or mark a milestone. Fees have historically ranged from $1,000 - $1,500, but the podcast promises free access, offset by the podcast's sponsors. Anyone who thinks there's a poem in their story can call TAPIT's Haiku, Hawaii, guest line, (808) 300-0449 and leave a pitch message. Guests commit to as many as 3 one-hour phone calls, and can expect a poem within 3 months. Todd's goal is to "call-laborate" with guests to create poems that stand alone as great works of art in their own right. Early examples of pre-podcast commissioned poems are here and here. Commissioned poems sometimes land in Todd's published poetry collections. Clients give them as gifts or preserve them as letterpress broadsides and heirlooms.

After the inaugural season, Todd plans to invite poets of diverse backgrounds to take on clients, record their interviews, and co-host with him, discovering for themselves the immense rewards of this work, and bringing their own perspectives to it.

Beyond a general audience interested in storytelling and the creative process, TAPIT is designed to inspire conversation among poetry practitioners about the role of poetry in society and its therapeutic, collaborative, communal powers.

More at the official project website here.

Writing poems for others has long been one of the most rewarding elements of my writing practice. It's like a sacred trust, this intimate sharing of poetic feeling, and I'm grateful to be allowed into strangers' stories in such a big-hearted way.

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