Episode 66 with Deep-Thinker, Aesthete, and Passionate Poet and Podcaster, Gabrielle Bates


On Episode 66 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete has the pleasure to speak with Gabrielle Bates, poet and podcast host. The two discuss the voracious reading that has characterized her life, allegory and symbolism and “deciphering” poetry. Gabrielle also reads and discusses two of her stunning poems and talks about The Poet Salon, the dynamic podcast she co hosts. 


Gabrielle Bates is a writer and visual artist originally from Birmingham, Alabama. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review, New England Review, jubilat, Gulf Coast, Mississippi Review, Black Warrior Review, the Best of the Net anthology, and BAX: Best American Experimental Writing, and her poetry comics have been featured internationally in a variety of exhibitions, festivals, and conferences.

Formerly the managing editor of the Seattle Review and a contributing editor for Poetry Northwest, Gabrielle currently serves as the Social Media Manager of Open Books: A Poem Emporium, a contributing editor for Bull City Press, and a University of Washington teaching fellow. She also volunteers as a poetry mentor through the Adroit teen mentorship program and teaches occasionally as a spotlight author through Seattle's Writers in the Schools. With Luther Hughes and Dujie Tahat, she co hosts the podcast The Poet Salon.

Show Notes and Links to Gabrielle Bates’s Work


Gabrielle Bates's Personal Website


"In the Circus" Poetry Comic from Poetry Foundation


Assorted Poems from Adroit Journal


Subscribe and listen to The Poet Salon Podcast!


You can now subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, and leave me a five-star review. You can also ask for the podcast by name using Alexa, and find the pod on Spotify and on Amazon Music. Follow me on IG, where I’m @chillsatwillpodcast, or on Twitter, where I’m @chillsatwillpo1.

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I’m excited to share Episode 66 on July 20 with Esther Tseng. Esther is a freelance writer who covers the intersection of food and culture, and food justice.

The intro song for The Chills at Will Podcast is “Wind Down” (Instrumental Version), and the other song played on this episode was “Hoops” (Instrumental)” by Matt Weidauer, and both songs are used through ArchesAudio.com.

Talking Points/Authors/Books Mentioned and Allusions Referenced During the Episode:

At about 2:20, Gabrielle talks about being a recent finalist for the Bergman Prize, judged by Louise Gluck and Gabrielle’s poem being published in The New Yorker


At about 4:10, Gabrielle discusses her childhood and literary influences, including early formative readings of Zora Neale Hurston and being transfixed by poetry starting in college; she explains that her grandparents  


At about 6:45, Gabrielle posits on how much her early spiritual reading has influenced her later reading and writing; allegory and symbolism are clear


At about 8:15, Gabrielle focuses on how she was shaped and inspired by Zora Neale Hurston, and Pete brings up an amazing work by Zora about her childhood in Eatonville, Florida-“How it Feels to be Colored Me”


At about 10:35, Gabrielle discusses works and writers that have given her “chills at will,” including Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Linda Gregg (All of It Singing), and Vievee Francis


At about 14:20, Gabrielle talks about the genres she works in, and how she would define herself as an artist


At about 15:25, Gabrielle talks about her reading habits and reading for pleasure and for craft


At about 17:20, Gabrielle outlines her trajectory to professional and acclaimed writer and some “Eureka” moments along the way that convinced her that she was a talented writer; this includes her really exploring poetry for one of the first time in class  through Richard Siken’s Crush, introduced by Keetje Kuipers


At about 22:20, Gabrielle responds to questions about her being labeled as a writer, how her two main “homes” of AL/WA complement each other, and who she feels her audience(s) is


At about 26:20, Gabrielle talks about common themes in her work and any tangential or not connections to Southern writers like William Faulkner


At about 28:30, Gabrielle shouts out contemporary Southern writers who are “knocking it out of the park,” including Jericho Brown, Natasha Trethewey, Rickey Laurentiis, Derrick Austin, Tiana Clark


At about 30:40, Gabrielle responds to Pete’s question about her thoughts on “deciphering” poetry


At about 35:05, Gabrielle explains the concept of “poetry comics” and the work she does in the genre


At about 38:30, Gabrielle reads her poem “Little Lamb” and discusses the unique formatting


At about 45:35, Gabrielle reads her poem “In the Dream in Which I am a Widow” and discusses its genesis and the idea of “pre-elegy” as done by Natasha Trethewey


At about 56:30, Gabrielle discusses the background, format, incredible guests, etc. of the awesome poetry podcast she hosts with Luther Hughes and Dujie Tahat, The Poet Salon 


At about 1:03:35, Gabrielle outlines some future projects

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