Bookend: Poet Anne Hardy Woodworth (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

Transcripts

Bookend: Poet Anne Harding Woodworth

MR. JONATHAN WILSON

00:00:03
We close today's show with Bookend, our monthly plunge into the region's literary scene.

MR. JONATHAN WILSON

00:00:11
In this edition, I sat down with Anne Harding Woodworth at her home in the District's Woodley Park neighborhood. Woodworth isn't a D.C. native, but she's been here for 20 years. And you'd be hard pressed to find someone more enthusiastic about what the city has to offer, especially to poets.

MR. JONATHAN WILSON

00:00:31
So, how early were you writing poetry and thinking about maybe even becoming a poet?

MS. ANNE HARDING WOODWORTH

00:00:37
Well, you know, I think everybody, every child dabbles in poetry. And I loved listening to poetry, but I wasn't in a family that -- it wasn't a poetry culture in my family. They read, but poetry wasn't a big thing in my childhood. So in school, I listened to a lot of that wonderful rhyming poetry that kids get. And then I started writing my own. But I never say that I started writing poetry when I was a child, because I think most children do that. I started seriously when I was about 30, in my 30s.

MS. ANNE HARDING WOODWORTH

00:01:23
And we were living in Greece. And I was an expat in Athens, married to a Greek. And I missed the United States at times. I'd get to the United States and I'd miss Greece. So the first book that came out was called "Guide to Greece and Back." And it sort of investigated that whole feeling of not belonging any place and wanting to be in the other place.

WILSON

00:01:56
In terms of trying to get published, what was your first experience there?

WOODWORTH

00:02:01
Well, that was that first book that I wrote in Athens, it was published by the publishing company that I was working for, so that was handy. It was called (word?) Lycabettus, which was an English language publisher in Athens, and they published my first book. Then there was a hiatus. We came back to the United States, and back to Detroit, and I found that I wanted to go to work, and there as a job at Chrysler Corporation, so I put away the poetry for about 15 years, and I worked for Chrysler.

WILSON

00:02:42
Was it well and truly away? Did you really kind of put it to the side?

WOODWORTH

00:02:48
Yes. You don't write press releases about sleek engines or sleek cars and then go home and write poetry, at least I didn't. It was impossible.

WILSON

00:03:03
So what allowed you to come back?

WOODWORTH

00:03:05
So then, my last job at Chrysler was in Germany, and while I was there, or while I was home on one of my visits back to Detroit, I met -- I was divorced by then -- and I met my husband. And my husband is one of these people who grew up with poetry around him all the time. His mother read to him constantly, and he memorized poem after poem. He's a walking poem. And so that was very helpful to me.

WOODWORTH

00:03:38
When we moved to D.C. and I had left Chrysler by then, I just went back to writing poetry full time, and I had the support of a man that loves poetry.

WILSON

00:03:49
What is it like to be a working poet in a town that's known for news and the government and the White House?

WOODWORTH

00:03:54
Well, first of all, I feel Washington is probably the best city to be in for poetry. There is the Folger Shakespeare Library, there's the Library of Congress, there's the Writers Center in Bethesda. There's Busboys and Poets, there's the Iota Club, Word Works. There is so much poetry going on here that I can't imagine being in a better place.

WOODWORTH

00:04:24
There are just people all over who are lovers of poetry, or who write poetry, all over this city. And I think it's a wonderful contrast to what's going on in people's lives here. The constant news that we get, and our interest in the government, we need some relief from that, and poetry gives that to us.

WILSON

00:04:50
That was poet Anne Harding Woodworth, speaking with me at her home in Woodley Park. And if you'd like to hear audio of Woodworth reading her poem, "Wireless in Italy," visit our website, metroconnection.org.

WILSON

00:05:15
And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Jacob Fenston, Kavitha Cardoza, and Jerad Walker, along with reporters Jill Colgan and Kate Sheehy. WAMU's managing editor of news is Memo Lyons. Metro Connection's managing producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our editorial assistant. Our intern is Robbie Feinberg. Thanks, as always, to the WAMU engineering and digital media teams for their help with production and the "Metro Connection" website.

WILSON

00:05:45
Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts" is from the album Title Tracks by John Davis, and is used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. All the music we use is listed on our website, metroconnection.org. Just click on a story and you'll find information about its accompanying song. Also on metroconnection.org you can read free transcripts of stories. And if you missed part of today's show, you can hear the whole thing online anytime. You can also find us on iTunes and Stitcher.

WILSON

00:06:15
We hope you can join us next week, when Rebecca Sheir will be back in the host chair, bringing you a show on Faith. We'll hear about a Muslim community's plans to move to a rural part of Maryland, and why that plan is ruffling some feathers. We'll also meet a pastor whose church recently burned to the ground, and find out how that incident is testing his congregation's faith. And we'll visit a farm that's giving retired thoroughbred horses, and the inmates who care for them, a new lease on life.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN

00:06:44
I would either be dead, or be locked up for an extremely long amount of time, if it wasn't for this program.

WILSON

00:06:52
I'm Jonathan Wilson, and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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