This week on the Sewanee Review podcast, assistant editor Luke Gair joins poet Gabrielle Bates to discuss her debut poetry collection, Judas Goat. Bates’s collection explores intimacy, cruelty, and the ways in which the nonhuman informs and exposes the human in a way that is both an unflinching and tender interrogation of life and its paradoxes. She says her work has always gravitated toward a “grotesque, dark attention to the animal world,” and she is interested in seeking out “a kind of human-primal experience that we can access through poetry with all of its mysterious clarities and the senses.” In her conversation with Gair, Bates explores descent as a form of inward travel, a way to move closer to truth by chasing mystery. She asks: How can writing into the depths of the self lead to transformation? And how far into the darkness can one go before they must return?
Gabrielle Bates’s work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She is the former managing editor of the Seattle Review, a contributing editor for Poetry Northwest, and cohost of The Poet Salon podcast. Judas Goat has received praise from the New York Times, Chicago Review of Books, Vulture, Garden & Gun, Poetry Foundation, and more. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Bates currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
The Sewanee Review Podcast is recorded in the Ralston Listening Room at the University of the South. This episode is produced by Madison Sellers and Luke Gair and edited by ProPodcast Solutions with music by Annie Bowers. Image credit to Liesa Cole. Don’t miss any of our conversations with some of today’s best writers. Subscribe to the Sewanee Review Podcast on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.