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 guest interview show that culminates in the reveal of a poem written expressly for the guest. Co-produced by Bronwen Clark, with original jazz by Esh Whitacre, the project is now in pre-production, thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, with a January 2023 launch goal.
Not your typical poetry podcast, TAPIT aims to introduce a new kind of poetry process to the literary community, positioning poetry as an active way for non-poets to make meaning of their lives.
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 offers free access, offset by a sponsor. Would-be guests who think there's a poem in their story can call TAPIT's Haiku, Hawaii, guest line at 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 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, this podcast is designed to inspire a significant conversation among poetry practitioners about the role of poetry in society and its therapeutic, collaborative, communal powers.
In future episodes, listeners will be invited to submit their own poems in response to each guest’s story before hearing the reveal of the poem Todd wrote. Listeners’ poems might be read on-air, or delivered to the guest. This element turns the podcast into an opportunity for deep engagement with the practice and its methods, challenges, and rewards. More 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.