Read a poem, talk about it, read it again.

Close Talking is a podcast hosted by good friends Connor Stratton and Jack Rossiter-Munley. In each episode the two read a poem and discuss at length. The pop culture references fly as freely as the literary theories. Close Talking is a poetry podcast anyone can enjoy.

Episode 106 A Stranger - Saeed Jones


In this episode, Connor and Jack explore the incredible poem "A Stranger" by Saeed Jones. They discuss the poem's grappling with the loss of a mother, the use of distance and restraint, and the many strangers populating this short lyric.

"A Stranger" was first published by the New Yorker in July 2020. Listen to Jones reading the poem here.

More about Jones here.

A Stranger
By: Saeed Jones

I wonder if my dead mother still thinks of me.
I know I don’t know her new name. I don’t know

her, not now. I don’t know if “her” is the word burning in a stranger’s mind when he sees my dead

mother walking down the street in her bright black
dress. I wonder if he inhales the cigarette smoke

that will eventually kill him and thinks “I wish I knew
a woman who was both the light and every shadow

the light pierces.” I wonder if a passing glance at my dead
mother is enough to make a poet out of anyone. I wonder

if I’m the song she hums as she waits for the light to change
or if I’m just the traffic signal holding her up.