PODCAST: Beth Platow Will Help You Get Over Your Fear of Poetry

Bryan Parys
March 20, 2018
Poet Beth Woodcome Platow
Book cover of Little Myths by Beth Woodcome Platow
Poet Beth Woodcome Platow, assistant professor of liberal arts at Berklee
Cover of Platow's debut collection of poems, 'Little Myths,' published by the National Poetry Review Press
Image courtesy of the artist

When the poet Beth Woodcome Platow, assistant professor of liberal arts, teaches poetry, she doesn’t want you to have flashbacks to high school English with its thous and forsooths, secret meanings, and the defeated feeling that comes with thinking, “I just don’t get it.”

Instead, Platow works alongside her students, freely admitting that even poets like herself still struggle with not getting it, despite her many poetry publications and awards such as the PEN/New England Discovery Award and the Grolier Prize. This “guide on the side” approach to teaching—as opposed to the more traditional “sage on the stage” lecture style—allows her students to find and open doors to vibrant language that surprises, inspires, and strengthens an artist’s ability to engage with the world—from aspiring writers to songwriters looking to deepen their craft.

In this episode of Sounds of Berklee, Platow speaks about teaching writing to musicians, talks about her own process as a poet, and reads two poems from her debut collection of poetry, Little Myths (National Poetry Review Press). She also speaks to the practical value of studying the liberal arts, saying, “the liberal arts can help you in your job, in your relationship; it can help you sign a contract, or buy a house—lots of practical things can come from learning how to analyze things and not immediately jump in and say ‘I like it; I don’t like it.’”

Producer: Bryan Parys
Engineers: Jimmy Lim and Tony Brown
Recorded in partnership with the Berklee Internet Radio Network (BIRN)