Audio

Casey Rocheteau vs. the Deck

August 22, 2017

Danez Smith: She’s the one you bring home to momma when you’re sick of being a disappointment, Franny Choi.

Franny Choi: And they’re a wet dream… within a wet dream… (LAUGHING)... Danez Smith.

Danez Smith: Welcome to VS, the podcast where poets confront the ideas that move them.

Franny Choi: Presented by the Poetry Foundation and Postloudness. (MUSIC)

Danez Smith: ...a.k.a PoFo and Polo… Been had Polo. Been had Polo.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) Shout-out to Ralph Lauren.

Danez Smith: Shout-out to Ralph. Lauren. Anti-shout-out to Tommy Hilfiger.

Franny Choi: Wow. 

Danez Smith: Uh-huh. He said racist stuff in the nineties, you remember that?

Franny Choi: Yeah! Does he still say racist stuff though?

Danez Smith: I don’t know, but who wears Tommy Hilfiger anymore, who cares.

Franny Choi: Sometimes I see it, and I’m, like, really?

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING) Is that more about him or about that person’s fashion choices?

Franny Choi: It’s more about myself. (LAUGHING) 

Danez Smith: He does make good sheets though, I will say that. 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) 

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING) 

Danez Smith: How you doing, Franny? 

Franny Choi: I’m doing good, how are you?

Danez Smith: I’m doing really good! I’m hella excited to bring everybody this conversation that we had with the one and only Casey Rocheteau.

Franny Choi: Yeah, a.k.a. Casey Brocheteau….

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Am I right? Am I wrong? I’m not wrong.

Danez Smith: Casey Broche-hoooooooo! 

Franny Choi: Anyway, poetry.

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Yeah, I love Casey. They’re one of my favorite people and also, like, one of the most brave humans I’ve ever met, just, like, constantly confronting the world, which...

Danez Smith: Yeah.

Franny Choi: ...is what, you know, all the poets that we interview here on VS do, but Casey does it with such a fire that I really admire.

Danez Smith: Yeah, I knew the first time I met Casey that I had met the human embodiment of the song “Knuck If You Buck,” if, like, Knuck If You Buck is, like, the smartest person on earth and, like, will fight you...

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Fight you with her brain...

Danez Smith: And fists. 

Franny Choi: ...and also fists.

Danez Smith: Yeah, I’m pretty sure she can knuck a mug out.

Franny Choi: Uh-huh.

Danez Smith: Yeah, one of the things we talked about with Casey as we get to in the conversation is a deck of Tarot cards that she made, and so I was thinking that maybe, you mean, Franny, we could just pull a little Tarot card from times and, like, see what are fates are? 

Franny Choi: I'm about to be so exposed on air...

Danez Smith: I know. It’s fine, it’s fine.

Franny Choi: Alright. We’ll see. I’m ready.

Danez Smith: I can interpret that. Yeah.

Franny Choi: OK…. here we go….

Danez Smith: OK? 

Franny Choi: I’m gonna do this one. 

Danez Smith: There you go. 

Franny Choi: King of Cups. 

Danez Smith: Wow, Wheel of Fortune! Oh my gooooood…

Franny Choi: Big money, big money!

Danez Smith: Big money, big money. OK, so the King of Cups… is… wise, is calm, is, like, diplomatic, is caring, is tolerant, if he pops up that means that the cards are asking you to take actions as if you were the King of Cups. So, like, to be like him in your decision.

Franny Choi: Ooooh.

Danez Smith: Right?

Franny Choi: OK.

Danez Smith: So, probably..

Franny Choi: So… what this deck is saying is that I’ve been probably acting a fool...

Danez Smith: Yeah! 

Franny Choi: And running into the fire headlong.

Danez Smith: Yeah, that you’ve been brash and angry and, like... 

Franny Choi: I should be more Team Mystic.

Danez Smith: Yeah. 

Franny Choi: Less team.. whatever the other team is.

Danez Smith: The red one? 

Franny Choi: The red one.

Danez Smith: I don’t remember those things. Uummmm, whereas the Wheel of Fortune, for me is, A, my grandma’s favorite show. I don’t think my grandma’s missed an episode of The Wheel of Fortune since, like, 1983.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: But it speaks a lot about destiny, about turning points, about movements and about personal vision. Which is great, because I’m, like, on the verge of my 28th birthday which makes me feel like I’m about to come….

Franny Choi: Saturn’s return..

Danez Smith: Saturn’s return, and so I need to, you know, now is, like, the time in my life where I’m actually supposed to be becoming an adult, so maybe that’s the turning point that I’m always talking about. Because I’m, like, playing like a nig… is, like, twentyyyyyyy….., like, twenty (LAUGHING) for a very long time. Which I feel is, like, the height of responsibility that I can hold. But I’m trying to be, trying to be a grown man.

Franny Choi: Yeah! I think both of these cards are saying: get your shit together, y’all. (LAUGHING) This is what they are saying. 

Danez Smith: I think, I think that’s what it is. 

Franny Choi: It’s sound advice. I’m not gonna go against it. 

Danez Smith: You know who does have their shit together?

Franny Choi: Casey Rocheteau? (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: Yeah!

Franny Choi: She really does.

Danez Smith: She really do. Casey Rocheteau was born in Cape Cod and raised as a sea witch. Winner of the inaugural Write A House permanent residency in Detroit in 2014, Casey has attended the Callaloo Writers’ Workshop, Cave Canem and the Bread Loaf Writers in Sicily, they are the writer and resident at InsideOut Literary Arts Detroit, and the editor-in-chief of Kinfolks Quarterly and HEArt Online Journal. Their second poetry collection “The Dozen” was released on Sibling Rivalry in 2016, let’s go ahead and jump into this time with Casey…. Roche..teau...

Franny Choi: Attorney general of my heart. 

Danez Smith: Woo-woooooh! Editor-in-chief of awesome…..

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) 

(MUSIC)

Franny Choi: Ok, we’re really excited to have Casey Rocheteau in the studio with us here today, hi Casey, you’re the best.

Casey Rocheteau: Hii

Franny Choi: Casey is a poet and writes plays and makes Tarot cards.

Danez Smith: Yeah. Yo, Casey Rocheteau is the author of “The Dozen” and “Knocked Up on Yes,” two fabulous poetry collections... 

Franny Choi: Yes.

Danez Smith: ...that I love and that often stay on my coffee table. How are you doing today?

Casey Rocheteau: I’m doing good. 

Danez Smith: Good?

Casey Rocheteau: I’m filled with pizza and sugar, I’m feeling great. (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: You are just, like, killing it, like, in like a five-year old’s birthday party way. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Totally, totally. Five-year old me doesn’t know what a podcast is but, you know. 

Franny Choi: But it sounds like a cool kind of spaceship that you might want to ride on.

Danez Smith: Yeah.

Casey Rocheteau: Sure.

Danez Smith: You also did win a house for, like, the poem you wrote.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. That’s also true.

Danez Smith: For those of you who don’t know, we’re not gonna talk about this a lot, cause there are literally 8000 interviews…

Franny Choi: Cool kid Casey Rocheteau writes a house…

Danez Smith: Yeah. (LAUGHING) 

Casey Rocheteau: You know what’s obnoxious? This is the most obnoxious thing. If you just type in my first name, the word “poet” and Detroit, all that shit comes up. (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: And so, we’re going to talk around it, but Casey Rocheteau was the first winner of the Write A House competition in Detroit, which means that she turned in a packet of, like, ten poems and then in return they were, like, here is the keys to a whole-ass house that’s yours...

Franny Choi: Which you own.

Danez Smith: ...which is the coolest thing ever! But we’re not gonna really… like we said, we’re not going to dig in that, but I want to know, that was, what three years ago now?

Casey Rocheteau: Just about.

Danez Smith: Part of the house program, too, is, like, get poets, infuse themselves with, like, the Detroit community. How are you liking it so far? Like, what’s your relationship with Detroit now, now that you, like, have won the house...

Franny Choi: And have been here for a while.

Danez Smith: … it’s been dirty and you’ve cleaned it up, and…

Casey Rocheteau: Sure, sure. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as comfortable living any other place. 

Danez Smith: Umm.

Franny Choi: Wow.

Casey Rocheteau: One of the things that I still don’t do is drive and anyone who’s from here is, like, what is wrong with you.

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: And it’s just cause I’m really East Coast and that it’s.. it was never a priority. But I was in an Uber and the driver told me I had a very heavy Detroit accent…

Danez Smith: Really?

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah, like, two weeks ago. And I just… existential crisis, like, what does mean, what does that mean for me, what even is a Detroit accent,... (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: But I think one of the things that I consistently have loved about Detroit is the people in Detroit.

Franny Choi: Hmmh.

Danez Smith: Hmmh.

Casey Rocheteau: And that’s crucial to caring about a place. 

Danez Smith: Yeah!

Franny Choi: Yeah. I feel like I had the friendliest conversations with strangers in Detroit than in any other city.

Danez Smith: They’re so nice! I went on a run this morning and, like, literally, at the end of my run I’m, like, vomiting into the Detroit river because I was, like, sick and it was hot. Still, there is, like, vomit coming out of my body, did not stop old ladies passing by being, like, hey, how’s it going! I was, like, you know, throwing up. (LAUGHING) But you have a great day, ma’am! (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. I… the first time I came out here after I had won the house I was living in Brooklyn at the time. You know, Brooklyn is the way that it is, and then I get here and…

Danez Smith: That’s a t-shirt.

Casey Rocheteau: Brooklyn Is The Way That It Is. (LAUGHING) But, I walked down part of Corktown, just down the street, and, like, eight people said hi to me on the street, and I was, like, oh, I already love it here. 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: The other thing is, like, street harassment is… because it’s not very much a walking city, I feel, like, I don’t ever have to engage with that. 

Franny Choi: That’s amazing. 

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. But the first day I was here, I got hollered at one time, and it was the funniest time I’ve ever been hollered at in my life. This old dude just goes: “Hey yo, momma. You like Star Trek?”

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) 

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING) And I was just, in my head I was just, I really love Star Trek, I wanna see where this is going.

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) 

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING) 

Danez Smith: Before he decides to go on this, you want this Deep Space Nine?

Casey Rocheteau: Right! (LAUGHING) 

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING) 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) 

Casey Rocheteau: Yo, brother. Well done. 

Danez Smith: Do you think your writing has changed? Do you see Detroit popping up or even a, like, a Detroit-ish energy, you know, from being around the writers here, from living here, from walking here. Is Detroit popping up in your writing? Do you see it influencing you?

Casey Rocheteau: I think when Detroit pops up in my writing it’s usually these, like, weird moments that happen. There are just a lot of sort of surreal interactions with other humans that will happen, like, right around my neighborhood, you know? Like, I wrote this poem, it was about this guy in an alley right behind my backyard. And he was just dragging along a water heater, like he had scrapped it from a house and he was taking it, right. And he was, like, are you here for me?

Franny Choi: What?

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: I was, like, nooo… I’m going into my backyard of my house. And then he went, “cause this is mine.” 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: I was just, like, no, there is no way…

Franny Choi: That’s the least convincing thing that you could say to convince someone that something is yours.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah, I really, just, wanted to be, like, sir, if that was yours, you wouldn’t be dragging it through an ally! (LAUGHING) 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: That’s not how shit works. But I’m not gonna tell on you, like, it is what it is.

Danez Smith: He was a few sentences away from saying finders keepers.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. So it will be, like, moments like that or even…. I find that, like, sometimes, like, these plumes of smoke appear in poems that I’m writing and it’s.. Arson is so real here. And there are times where it’s, like, you are driving on the highway and it’s just a pillar of smoke to the sky. And I feel like that kind of imagery, like, I can’t escape it at all. It’s sort of soaking into my brain. Every poet I know in Detroit writes really differently from each other. Franny Choi: I thought to ask you, do you feel like there is, like, a Detroit poetic, a Detroit aesthetic?

Casey Rocheteau: OK, so… maybe my first, like holiday season here. I got invited to what they are calling The Detroit School. To me there is not and aesthetic that defines that those people, the thing that defines them as a group is that they happen to all be in the same place and all be excellent at their craft. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: Hmmh.

Franny Choi: Excellence is the thing.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. So that’s the aesthetic. Detroit excellence.

Danez Smith: The aesthetic of Detroit is finding your aesthetic. 

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah.

Danez Smith: Right? 

Casey Rocheteau: Right! 

Danez Smith: That linguistic diversity. Cause it’s also true, like, I’m always really impressed by, like, the Detroit youth poetry slam team, whenever I go to Brave New Voices. Even at such a young age they are so wonderfully original that I don’t even know what to do with, like, these sixteen-year olds that are just, like, you have a voice. At sixteen I was still trying to be every other poet. I was trying to be Sheehan, I was trying to be Patricia Smith, I was trying to be, like, some, I don’t know who else I was trying to be, Saul Williams, I definitely didn’t know what it meant to be myself...

Casey Rocheteau: Hmmh.

Danez Smith: … and, like, people from Detroit… You’re right, they just have this wholly unique thing. I don’t know. Maybe I need to..

Franny Choi: Maybe it’s, like, a spirit of, like, nothing is guaranteed and nothing is possible. 

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Which I feel, like, is pervasive throughout...I mean, Detroit organizing, the little that I know about it seems to be in that vein.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. I think it’s also very much a culture of the genuine.

Danez Smith: Hmmmh.

Franny Choi: Hmmmh.

Casey Rocheteau: Cause when I, especially with all the press around Write A House, I was, like, I’m the most celebrated gentrifier in the city. And I feel…

Danez Smith: Oooof!

Franny Choi: So real.

Casey Rocheteau: ….you know, and it felt gross in a lot of ways. And I expected to get a lot more pushback and to have to have a lot of hard conversations with myself and with other people and that didn’t happen at all, really. But I’ve been told by people who are Detroiters, part of it is because you are genuine. Like, we can tell that you are real and you’re being yourself. And you’re not trying to come off as anything other than that. And that’s something that I think is super valued.

Danez Smith: How do you keep it real? (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Hmmmmm! (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: I don’t know if I have a choice. I very often find that I’m saying things, they are coming out of my mouth and I am… I have not even thought about really… and then it comes out and somebody goes, like... Oh, was I not supposed to do that? (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: A Rocheteau-ass moment.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah.

Danez Smith: Well, I’ve known you for a while. And I’ve known you were very real since the beginning. But I didn’t know exactly how real you were until you made a collective called “Can't Take These N**** Nowhere” a.k.a. CTTNN [pronounced “cotton”]

Franny Choi: That’s what that stands for!?

Casey Rocheteau: Yes.

Danez Smith: Yes!

Franny Choi: Woooow. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING) That’s how it got called “Can’t Take.” I was, like, if we’re gonna have a collective called “Can’t Take These N**** Nowhere” it was, like, nobody was going to be able to say or we were gonna have to come up with an acronym and it’s CTTNN. 

Franny Choi: That’s so cool.

Casey Rocheteau: Yep.

Danez Smith: Me and Franny are in a collective and I think I was, like, hearing from other collectives, like, what it’s like to, like, sort of gather intentionally around your art. 

Casey Rocheteau: Sure.

Danez Smith: What’s it like for y’all?

Casey Rocheteau: I don’t know what it’s like to be in another collective. The thing that we’re really most interested in is collaborating with each other on projects. Which is a little bit harder to do with writers, you know? Because, like, it doesn’t necessarily melt well, right. But we do a lot of research together. We spent a whole day last summer just thinking about black circus performers. And the history of, sort of, like, the Chitlin Circuit and part of what we ended up talking about was this idea of the laughing barrel. I didn’t actually know about this until Jonah told me. In the times of slavery in some places they considered it to be offensive for black people to laugh. If you felt like you were gonna laugh, and you were enslaved, you had to go run out into the middle of a field, tip the whole top half of your body into this barrel and laugh into the barrel.

Danez Smith: What!?

Franny Choi: Wow.

Casey Rocheteau: That’s a real thing. And so Ralph Ellison wrote this whole essay about it, and we started talking about it, and we started with that, sort of, like, day of research and thinking about these things and so we started working on a project and at one point we took, oh, just, like, hours and hours of audio files and pulled out all of the, like, bursts of laughter…

Danez Smith: Hmm.

Franny Choi: Hmmmm!

Casey Rocheteau: … and stitched them back together in one, sort of, longer cut that is called “The Laughing Barrel.”

Danez Smith: Hmmh!

Franny Choi: Wooow! That’s so beautiful

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. And eventually our plan is to make an actual physical manifestation of the barrel itself so you have this barrel and you knock it over and it makes this, sort of, like, ruckus, like…

Danez Smith: That’s so cool!

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. The recording of it is somewhere on the Harriet Blog and I think on Soundcloud. The way that it’s edited together, there are, like, these moments where you get to hear a full conversation. 

Danez Smith: Hmmh.

Franny Choi: Hmmh. 

Casey Rocheteau: So, like, at one point we’re talking, we’re joking around, we’re laughing and I was looking for something and I opened this poetry book and I opened to “If We Must Die.” And then I read the whole poem, and that recording is actually contained within the sound file.

Danez Smith: Yo, I don’t know, I just need to take a black people moment, I think. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: Cause history is crazy, right?

Franny Choi: Yeah.

Danez Smith: Like, the physicality of laughter, I don’t know, I’m a little bit astonished because… I have often run out of a room with laughter. 

Casey Rocheteau: Sure! Yeah.

Danez Smith: Like, oof! So…. so, research as a way of collaboration, that’s really dope! Do you have any other projects that y’all have in mind, like, what’s new and poppin’ with “Can’t Take These N**** Nowhere”?

Casey Rocheteau: Well, so one of the other things that have come out of this… We had a lot of existentialism.

Danez Smith: Hmmh. That’s so existential. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: I know, I know. It’s, like, kind of silly but one of the things about it is that because, so Jonah has this series of poems that, like, will often be titled at least in part “Black Philosophy” or “Black Epistemology,” you know. So we’re having these conversations about existentialism as a philosophy and he wrote… (LAUGHING) Sorry, I crack up every time I think about this...Jonah rewrote The Myth of Sisyphus to be called, “The Myth of N*ggaphys.” And instead of… (LAUGHING)... I can’t…. instead of it being a rock that he has to roll up the mountain it’s, like, a giant watermelon.

Franny Choi: (GASP)

Danez Smith: Oh no….Oh yes! (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: It’s amazing. It’s a really really incredible, like, what-happens-in-history version of the story, but Camus wrote this, The Myth of Sisyphus, and Camus’ idea behind it was, like, you have to imagine Sisyphus as happy because he knows the deal. He’s died, he knows that this is the rest of his life…. And so there is a certain amount of contentment that has to come with knowing versus not-knowing. We started doing research around that, right. So Sartre and Camus… a lot of their philosophy around existentialism comes out of living under the Vichy government in France when the Nazi’s took over.

Danez Smith: Hmmh.

Casey Rocheteau: And I think this is so strange and I think it’s so weirdly applicable to black life in America, in a different way, but their feeling was, like, they had never felt more free than when they had to live under the Nazi dictatorship.

Franny Choi: Wow.

Casey Rocheteau: Because there was no option. You had to, just, take it and live with it and… I think that’s insane. And that is a very French, very white thing, because it’s not—that’s when you were truly free, you first appreciated your own freedom..

Franny Choi: Hmmh.

Danez Smith: Freedom.. 

Casey Rocheteau: ... in that moment because you never had to deal with this before. I don’t think oppression makes you freer. 

Franny Choi: Certainly not.

Casey Rocheteau: So “The Myth of Sisyphus,” that Camus book, and Sartre’s “No Exit” where written in the same, like, two-year period when the Nazi’s were in France. And so Jonah was doing that and I was thinking more about “No Exit,” because the point of “No Exit,” the tagline from that place is “Hell is other people.” It’s a very short play. They had a curfew, so they only had a limited amount of time where they could actually perform this. Which is why it’s a one-act play that’s really short…

Franny Choi: Oh wow!

Danez Smith: Hmm.

Casey Rocheteau: So I was taking that idea of “No Exit” and I started to think about writing a play where it’s the same kind of premise, where there are these characters that are trapped in hell but they don’t necessarily know that it’s hell, they don’t even necessarily fully realize that they’re dead immediately… But it’s called “No Exit Nowhere.” If there is a central premise that is relatable to Sartre’s… it would be that hell is the white gaze. There is a whole lot of other moving pieces, so there will be a filming component that’s gonna get turned into a film. I think the laughing barrel actually is going to be a part of the actual play, so that’s kind of what we’ve been working on and thinking around. 

Danez Smith: Cool. Is this your first play that you’re writing?

Casey Rocheteau: I wrote one, like, ten-minute play that was just me... 

Danez Smith: OK.

Casey Rocheteau: ... years ago. 

Danez Smith: Word.

Franny Choi: I mean, there is, like, a black existentialist tradition in the US. I think even, maybe, someone like Paul Beatty is, like, in that tradition and also in, sort of, like, the absurdism, with more, like, satirical writing… Are there other black existentialists that you look to as, like, people whose voices are in your work when you are writing stuff like this?

Casey Rocheteau: I mean, you know, like, when something steeps into your consciousness so much that you even forget that it’s there? 

Danez Smith: Yep.

Franny Choi: Yes..

Casey Rocheteau: I know the things that influenced me when I was younger are kind of embedded in there. So that any time that I go to write a poem, like, Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” is in there somewhere, right?

Danez Smith: Yeah.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: But, like, Frantz Fanon. I think about Frantz Fanon all the time because that are ideas that are so far embedded into my subconscious that I don’t even remember that they’re there, and I’ll go, like, pick up “Wretched Of The Earth” and be, like, oh, yep, this is where I got this idea twenty years ago. (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: That’s real. I often have to double check that Langston Hughes or Lucille Clifton didn’t write my poems first...

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah, yeah.

Danez Smith: … I just straight up copy them. But as long as they don’t tell, I won’t either. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. 

Franny Choi: This is not as serious, but recently I rewatched The Parent Trap, the Lindsay Lohan version, and I was, like, oh, everything I believe about love I learned from this movie. Oops!

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: What!?

Franny Choi: I don’t know. I was deeply disturbed…

Danez Smith: Also, the Lindsay Lohan version, not the Olsen twin version?

Franny Choi: The Olsen twins?

Danez Smith: Didn’t they have a version of The Parent Trap?

Franny Choi: No, I think it was, like, some other blond twins. 

Casey Rocheteau: Yes. They were pre-Olsen.

Franny Choi: They were pre-Olsen. 

Danez Smith: Wait, hold up, nah, you’re not gonna tell me… this is, like, Berenstain Bears, you’re not gonna tell me…

Franny Choi: As opposed to what?

Danez Smith: Berenstein Bears. There is, like, this whole theory that, like, we as, like, a planet shifted into a new universe. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Wait, what!?

Casey Rocheteau: …shifted into a new universe and then that…

Danez Smith: ...and that’s the only thing that changed. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Well, no, some Bad Genie movie got erased. 

Danez Smith: Yo, Sinbad was not a Genie movie and I don’t care what Sinbad says.

Casey Rocheteau: I also remember this and so, somehow…

Franny Choi: Yeah, I do too! Wait, he wasn’t in a Genie movie?

Danez Smith: He was in a Genie movie, he claims that he was not in a Genie movie. 

Franny Choi: But what is the Genie movie? 

Danez Smith: I don’t know, we can’t find it. We all shifted into a different universe. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) It’s like in “1Q84”

Danez Smith: Yeah! But that’s what I’m saying, I swear to you, the universe that I was born in had and Olsen twin Parent Trap movie.

Franny Choi: Nah, nah, I think you just combined the blond ones with two Lindsay Lohans. 

Danez Smith: Don’t you dare tell me that I confused the Olsen twins with anybody. I respect Ashley and Mary-Kate. OK?

Franny Choi: OK. Equally?

Danez Smith: Little bit more of an Ashley fan.

Franny Choi: Hmmmm, it comes out. 

Danez Smith: Little bit more of an Ashley fan. Not all twins are created equal. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

(MUSIC)

Danez Smith: Recently you made a Tarot deck. 

Franny Choi: Yes, can you tell us about that?

Danez Smith: Yeah, and it’s in a museum, right?

Casey Rocheteau: Sure. Yeah! I graduated from grad school, I get a degree in History, I apply for this house, don’t know about it all summer, I’m working in an all-girls summer camp at Mount Holyoke for, like, three months. I come back to New York. Suddenly my life is the weirdest. I had gotten into Bread Loaf Sicily and was running an Indiegogo because I didn’t actually have the money to get to Sicily, right. And so, one of the perks was, just, these postcards and I was just, like, well, let me turn this into a whole-ass art project. 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Um… and make it way more work for myself and I just collaged for about three days making these cards. And made the bulk of the deck in that period of time. 

Franny Choi: Wow.

Danez Smith: That’s...

Casey Rocheteau: It’s how I tend to work on a lot of things, like, just a lot comes out at once and then I go back and I edit later. I’d never intended to do anything with it. My roommate was just, like, Casey, these cards are beautiful. They-should-be-in-a-museum beautiful. Like, what are you doing. You are giving original pieces of artwork to people as postcards and, like, not even thinking about it. You should really do something with this. And I was, like, you got me hyped, OK! (LAUGHING) I’ll think about that. 

Franny Choi: Is there a theme for the deck?

Casey Rocheteau: So it’s called the Shrine of the Black Medusa. The name actually came after I’d started making the cards. And I was planning on the Shrine of the Black Madonna. And I was reading something and it was saying that the Greeks thought that the Gorgons may have lived on the Cape Verdean islands. 

Franny Choi: Wow.

Danez Smith: Oooh!

Casey Rocheteau: I was, like, oh! Snakes for hair? 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Those are some shady hoes, sheedy Greek hoes…

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: It’s, like, those kinds of things that, like, they turned it into this monster, right? And so I wanted to see a Tarot deck that was black people. That wasn’t… There was one deck that … the Ghetto Tarot. Beautiful. I think they shot it in Haiti, the photographs, but it’s together by these white people. It’s totally like a creep-shit kind of thing.

Franny Choi: Wow… really!?

Casey Rocheteau: Yes!

Danez Smith: Hmmm. And they named it Ghetto Tarot?

Casey Rocheteau: Yes!

Danez Smith: Oooooh…..

Franny Choi: Ooooh… That’s not good…

Casey Rocheteau: It’s… yeah.

Danez Smith: White listeners, don’t do that.

Casey Rocheteau: It’s, like, some steps beyond appropriation. You know? Just, like, a bridge too far. 

Franny Choi: From appropriation to fuckery.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING) Yeah. The deck comes out of this idea of, like, almost, like, celebrating the monster? Because there is a power. Especially with, like, Medusa, there is, like, if somebody is terrified of you, thinks that you can turn them to stone, use that. (LAUGHING) You know? Like, use that to your advantage.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) I feel like, there is, like, a running thread here between some of these projects, finding yourself in this, like, place where you, Casey Rocheteau, as, like, a black queer woman has, like, not been traditionally found. I don’t know, I feel like that’s something that I find you doing so well. Actually, you know what, I’m right here. I was right here all along. So let’s hang out for a second.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah! Well, I think you kind of have to do that for yourself. You have to be the drag queen that points to where you are on the stage. 

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) I’m gonna go here now. 

Casey Rocheteau: Here.

Danez Smith: That way? (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: And then I’m gonna hang out ...there. (LAUGHING) Because otherwise, you get these people coming and telling you where you are and you’re like, nah, why do you think I’m in Omaha. I am actually in Denver. (LAUGHING) That’s not what’s happening.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) Perfect example. 

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. I had one interviewer do the thing where, I’m sure both of you have gotten questions like this, where it’s, like, so your poetry, really gives a voice to the voiceless. And it’s just, like, what is a voiceless human?

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: Yeah, no.

Casey Rocheteau: Unless you were mute and then still you have a way to communicate. Nobody’s voiceless. That’s not a thing.

Danez Smith: I’m just speaking in a way in which you appreciate listening. 

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah.

Franny Choi: I’m not translating the thoughts of the comatose.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah, I just… I like inserting myself and being, like, ok, here is my lane. I know where it is. And if you want to come and talk to me about how I’m doing protest poetry and…(LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Yeah. 

Casey Rocheteau: You can be over there…

Danez Smith: Yeah.

Franny Choi: Do you think, is that the most annoying interview question that you get, or is there.. what’s the most annoying interview question.

Casey Rocheteau: This happened before I even moved to Detroit. Was: do you think Detroit has changed the way that you write. And I know you asked kind of a variation of that question, but the way you asked it made more sense. When people were asking me before I moved to Detroit, if I thought it would change the way I wrote, I was just, like, I don’t know…. Are you asking me if time and space have an impact on living? Probaby!

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) Fair. Fair response. I feel like there was a period where I got, like, in interviews three people in a row asked, like, how does your identity affect your poetry? And I was, like, what the fuck do you mean? 

Danez Smith: I don’t know, like, I take my body and I make a poem with it?

Franny Choi: Yeah, like, I have legs and I have legs in my poetry too! And also, that’s shorthand for: you are Asian... 

Casey Rocheteau: Right.

Franny Choi: ...talk about.

Danez Smith: What’s that about!? Say more! (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING) Have you ever asked a white male poet if their identity influenced their poems? I wanna start doing that. I’d love to see that. Just being, like, so… I noticed that you are a cis-straight white man… and… I’m wondering if your identity has affected your poems...

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: ...and that’s why it’s so boring. (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: The opinions expressed on this podcast are not the opinions of the Poetry Foundation but she does speak for me… (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: Yes!!! So Tarot cards. Plays. Poems. What else, is there… do you have other projects that, like, one of these days I’m gonna hop into that and, just, make an Afrocentric jacuzzi or something, like.

Casey Rocheteau: xxx (Kendrick?) loves jacuzzis

Danez Smith: xxx loves jacuzzis, imagine! 

Casey Rocheteau: That’s cute. 

Danez Smith: Where the jets are, like, pulsed to the beats of Knuck if you Buck?

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING) I was gonna say, like, a five/four African rhythm, but Knuck if you Buck works… (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (SOUND OF JETS PULSING TO SONG)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: I don’t think I have the skill set for that, but if someone wants to take that idea and run with it, I will clearly sponsor it…. I think the hardest project that I’m working on is a memoir. It’s a deeper dive. Because in a poem I feel that I’m unpacking a moment. And it can be brief. Whereas... what had been happening is, I was just writing these, like, massive blocks of text. No break. Stanza, paragraph, whatever, it was just, like, wooof. And it’s a lot to pull it all out at once. I have a lot of pieces that are all called Brute. They’re different, it’s, like, a different section that is about a person in my life. So, like, one of them is my best friend since high school. My mom. My dad. My brother. But it’s, like, literally trying to pack everything about them at once, to be, like, OK, so they do this fucked up thing but also they do this thing. So it’s all just rolling, tumbling into each other, like, by the end of it, you’re, like… I feel like I know who this person is, but I’m also gorged on this person.

Danez Smith: Wow! I can’t wait to read this memoir. It’s kind of, like, Casey Rocheteau unchained. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: You know, but you can’t fit everything into a poem, right? Like, the poem has its limits. Maybe prose does not. Hmmm.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. One of the things that I wanna do with it is have a book and go on a book tour with the memoir but not have it be a normal book tour where you just go and do book signings or whatever. I wanna do a tour of, like, kind of, like, a comedy special. To… as a compendium to the book. 

Danez Smith: Hmmm.

Casey Rocheteau: And so I’ve been plotting that a lot. Part of what inspired me is watching Whoopi on Broadway.

Danez Smith: Oooh, that’s the best Whoopi too. That’s, like, Whoopi Broadway, Color Purple Whoopi, and then… Sister Act..

Casey Rocheteau: Sister Act.

Franny Choi: Sister Act.

Danez Smith: Sister Act II! And then, somewhere at the bottom, on “The View.”

Casey Rocheteau: Sure. Yeah, absolutely. But that’s the thing, like, nineties Whoopi was, like, everywhere and in everything that I loved, you know, like, I loved Sister Act. She was Guinan on Star Trek... 

Franny Choi: That’s what I was about to say! She showed up on Star Trek and I was, like, Ooh! I remember this Whoopi, I love this Whoopi!

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. So, because Whoopi on The View I think we sometimes forget… she’s been in our lives so long and is actually really a legend.

Danez Smith: Yeah. She’s our bougie aunty.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. Totally! And a friend of mine kept going, you have to watch Whoopi on Broadway, and I was thinking, why do you keep telling me this? And then I watched it and I was, like, oh. (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: But I was thinking about that and I know she is different...sort of characters, that’s part of why she’s special, but I wanted it to be something that was both real and talking about my own life experience, but doing it in a way that is, like, funny and accessible. So I’m, like, looking at that as something that I could be, like, I could do that from a different angle. Like I want to do something like that.

Franny Choi: Hmhh. Well, humor has always been part of your poetry. Or at least.. do you feel like that’s the direction that you are moving in? More towards comedy in general?

Casey Rocheteau: I do, and here’s the thing, I never wanted to be a standup comic. I’ve been told… since I started doing performance poetry of any kind, I should be a standup comic. And there’s a way that comics have to hack it out on the standup circuit that seems like a ring of hell that I don’t want to visit.

Danez Smith: Uh-huh.

Franny Choi: Especially if you already have to, kind of, hack it out on the poetry circuit… 

Casey Rocheteau: Right! I mean, exactly..

Franny Choi: ...and you have to start from the bottom again..

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah, like, I don’t want to sleep on gross PBR-soaked floors and whatever…

Danez Smith: Questionable couches America…

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah!

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. Not really into it. I don’t know how I’m gonna get there, I’m gonna figure it out though. I’m gonna figure out how to somehow bypass that.

Franny Choi: Maybe you, like, tested out of that class.

Casey Rocheteau: But I have been thinking about it a lot… part of me really wants to write it for TV also. 

Franny Choi: Yeah!

Casey Rocheteau: I love comedy, it’s just… not the easiest thing to try to always be writing comedy in poetry. Poetry is not necessarily a good vehicle for humor.

Danez Smith: That’s true. It’s great when it does, but I think the funny poet is a hard road to walk.

Franny Choi: Yeah.

Casey Rocheteau: Yes.

Danez Smith: They play a lot into each other, right, cause comedians also, the best comedian is not just funny, you know?

Franny Choi: Hmmh.

Danez Smith: The best comedian also is able to give you something to ponder upon right before you bust out of your gears in laughter. Um… I think about Ellen Degeneres, and Richard Pryor, and.. I don’t know...I almost said Steve Harvey but I never want to speak his name. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: There are even, like, parts of more recent, like Cat Williams standup that can be like that, you know?

Danez Smith: Yeah! What’s homegirl name, with the Netflix special? 

Franny Choi: Ali Wong.

Casey Rocheteau: Ali Wong.

Danez Smith: Yeah. 

Franny Choi: And I resisted watching her for a while because I was, like, I know who she is, she’s just me, probably.

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: I don’t need to watch myself. And then I watched it, and I was, like, I love this bitch!

Casey Rocheteau: She’s funny! (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: And also me. Yeah.

Franny Choi: Yeah.. you got a little Ali Wong in you! (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: I think inside of every black gay man there is a little pregnant Asian lady. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Interesting theory. That is a hot-take. How things work. 

Danez Smith: I’ve got some sources, you know. Mainly me.

Franny Choi: I think it’s just because I text you all the time does not mean…

Danez Smith: This is true, this is true.

Franny Choi: But it might! It doesn’t not not not not mean that.

Danez Smith: There we go.

(RINGTONE)

Danez Smith: Who just called you because that is the look of death.

Casey Rocheteau: It’s a number that I don’t recognize and it’s a Boston number… so it is either a bill collector or a relative that I don’t have their number saved. So… either way…

Franny Choi: Go to voicemail.

Casey Rocheteau: Yup.

(MUSIC)

Danez Smith: (SINGING) … lookin’ for poems in all the wrong places…

Casey Rocheteau: I printed this poem but my kitten bit it. 

Franny Choi: What’s your little kitten’s name! I can’t wait to see photographs.

Casey Rocheteau: Um, here is a story. My cat Omar…

Franny Choi: Yeah, I heard…

Casey Rocheteau: So… 

Franny Choi: That cat was a fucking badass.

Casey Rocheteau: I know. I have a twelve-year old neighbor, Mahin, he’s probably about thirteen now. I call him the mayor, cause every time I need to know what’s happening in the neighborhood, he has the scoop. 

Franny Choi: Great.

Casey Rocheteau: And after Omar died, he came and he, like, every single day after he came home after school, he would knock on my door, just being, like, hey, how are you doing, I just wanted to see how you’re feeling today. 

Franny Choi: That’s so sweet!

Casey Rocheteau: He’s a total sweetheart and he felt so bad about the cat, and so, my birthday was a week ago. Me and some friends had gone to this flower farm, and we came back and, like, when we came back to the house Mahin showed up, like, five minutes later. And, you know, he knocked on the door and was, like, hey, so… I found this kitten. It was abandoned by its mom.

Franny Choi: Oooooh!

Danez Smith: Ooooh! 

Casey Rocheteau: And I know that you lost your cat and I thought that maybe you want this kitten.

Franny Choi: Oh my god! 

Casey Rocheteau: And I was just, like, did you know it was my birthday, and he was, like, no! And I was, like, I literally can’t say no to you right now. You have a tiny kitten, you are the sweetest human being and it’s my birthday! (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: Mayor Mahin! 

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah.

Franny Choi: He should be the actual mayor.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. I want him to run for mayor of Detroit, I feel like he could do it. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Tomorrow.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. Easily. Her full name, her full proper name is…

Franny Choi: I like that’s how the sentence starts.

Casey Rocheteau: Arya Quevanzhane Labeija Lacouture Rocheteau Byrd. I call her Bis Mode.

Danez Smith: Bis Mode. OK.

Casey Rocheteau: Or Arya.

Danez Smith: I hear Labeija in there? 

Casey Rocheteau: Yep. 

Danez Smith: OK, good.

Franny Choi: That’s incredible.

Casey Rocheteau: Anyway.

Franny Choi: Do you want to tell us anything about this poem that you’re about to read?

Casey Rocheteau: Again, this is me inserting myself into some shit that is not necessarily my shit, but it applied. I was reading “War of The Foxes,” which is I think Siken’s most recent book. 

Danez Smith: Yep.

Casey Rocheteau: He is talking about a lot of different things but through this lense of, like, dropping you into a landscape and there is just a lot of, sort of, tension in the way these poems move. And I really loved reading them. I liked the motion of them. But then I .. the theory or the philosophy behind them made me be, like, this is, like, some very intense aggression. And violence. That I don’t necessarily have access to but that I have feelings about. I chose this poem because I kind of, like some of the lines in it. It’s a newer poem, it’s called “Still Life with Sirens and Corpse Mounds. After Richard Siken.”

 

POEM?

 

(MUSIC)

Franny Choi: OK, so every episode we also like to play this game called this vs. that, because we’re really good at titling games….

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: ..where we pit two things against each other and then you have to tell us who would win in a fight. Actually, you know what, Casey, I think we got this idea partly from your Marry, Fuck, Kill… you let us do..

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: ..at that AWP panel. I think it was Marry, Fuck, Kill, what was it…

Casey Rocheteau: White feminism, liberal pacifism and then… it was, like, the concept of academia in general. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Yes! That’s what it was!

Danez Smith: It was academia, it was academia.

Franny Choi: Oh my god. So! We like to pit two sometimes intentional things against each other…

Casey Rocheteau: Sure.

Franny Choi: ...and you tell us which ones would win in a fight!

Casey Rocheteau: Ok.

Danez Smith: So this week’s this or that, in one corner we have world legend Sisyphus.. and in the other corner we have his long lost new cousin, N*ggaphus.

(CHIME)

Casey Rocheteau: Uuuum….The polite ring of a boxing bell…

Danez Smith: Fight!

Casey Rocheteau: N*ggaphus, N*ggaphus wins hands down. In the story that Jonah wrote, N*ggaphus takes out a couple of gods with him..

Danez Smith: With the watermelon?

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. After… there’s a whole thing. I don’t want to give too much away…

Danez Smith: Gotta read the poem.

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah. But my money is squarely on N*ggaphus. 

Danez Smith: His name is also N*iggaphus though. Which also sounds like N*iggafists! I fights! I do this! (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: That is such a deeply silly name.

Casey Rocheteau: Oh, absolutely.

Franny Choi: I would just like to make sure that that is clear. (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: Yeah, no, it just became a game where we were turning every character from Greek mythology into, like, Icarus became N*ggarus… (LAUGHING) Yeah. It’s a fun game, it’s a fun game to play. 

Danez Smith: Honestly, I mean, this may be controversial, but once you make something black, it just always wins. It’s, like, who wins, Harry Potter or, like, black Harry Potter. Black Harry Potter! (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Wait, but who is black Harry Potter?

Casey Rocheteau: Jaden Smith?

Danez Smith: Yeah! (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: I’m leaving. I’m out.

(MUSIC)

Danez Smith: Casey, thank you so much for joining us!

Casey Rocheteau: Thank you for having me!

Franny Choi: You are the best.

Danez Smith: You are literally the best.

Casey Rocheteau: I’m pretty OK.

Franny Choi: Where can people find your work and find you. 

Casey Rocheteau: You can find me in those streets…

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: My work is on the internet, caseyrocheteau.org, Shrine of the Black Medusa Tarot Decks, poems, other assorted imagery, symbolism and innuendo.

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Also, on my website, it has, like, nice quotes about me and then there is, the last one is, like, “since 2011 I have been tired of Franny Choi.”

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING)

Casey Rocheteau: (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: That’s my favorite one. So thanks for making me seem cool.

Casey Rocheteau: I do what I can. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

(MUSIC)

Franny Choi: Ok, so that was our interview with Casey Rocheteau.

Danez Smith: Oh my god, that was so good.

Franny Choi: She is scholar, fighter, lover...

Danez Smith: I just learned so much, I’m about to go laugh into a barrel right now because I’m so excited. (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: Can I, like, borrow that barrel after? I just want to hold that laughter.

Danez Smith: Yeah, for sure, for sure. I got you, I got you.

Franny Choi: Cool, cool.

Danez Smith: So before we get out of here, I just wanted to pull a Tarot card for our listeners one time. Just to leave you with a little some-some to meditate on in your weeks until we come to you with some new fresh fuckingness with a new poet.

Franny Choi: Yeah!

Danez Smith: I have pulled the star. The star is a card that speaks to hope, inspiration, generosity and sincerity. 

Franny Choi: Ooooh...

Danez Smith: So I want y’all to hold all those words with y’all as y’all go through your days, make sure that you hold some hope, make sure that you are sincere with the people around you, remember that you are inspiration, that you are the inspiration for this show, and we hope that you go out and inspire some other folks.

Franny Choi: I can’t...This podcast has now turned into a motivational session with Danez Smith, and I love it!

Danez Smith: Let me tell you, I’m just waiting for Oprah to call me, so I can get my, like, life coach on. Like, Iyanla, move over, Dananla is here.

Franny Choi: Dananla!

Danez Smith: Dananla. So let’s go ahead and wrap this shindig up, we got some folks to thank before we get on out of here, I first of all would like to thank cocoa butter, for always making a way where there is no way (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING)

Danez Smith: You know, and it’s, like, summertime now that we’re recording this and so I know that I only have to put on one thin layer of that creamy yellow goodness, and I can be my whole un-ashy black self all day. All day long.

Franny Choi: I would like to thank whatever will be the imaged, no-yet-created version of Amazon Prime that doesn’t, like, oppress people, you know what I mean?

Danez Smith: Hmmh!

Franny Choi: I’m just thinking the future for creating an Amazon Prime that can get my goods delivered to my door in two days without, you know, having people...collapsing in a factory.

Danez Smith: Yes!

Franny Choi: We’d also like to thank the Poetry Foundation, especially Ydalmi Noriega and Elizabeth Burke-Dain, thank you to Postloudness, thank you to PodcastDetroit for hosting us in their beautiful space with a very well stocked fridge, thank you Rosy Fits for driving us over here, and thank you as always to our producer Daniel Kisslinger for making us sound smart and cool… kind of… you know, hopefully.

Danez Smith: (LAUGHING) Have a good week, remember, be like Star, generous and hopeful… (LAUGHING)

Franny Choi: (LAUGHING) 

Franny Choi: Bye!

Danez Smith: Bye!

Danez and Franny head to Motown and talk with poet, artist, playwright, and self-described sea witch Casey Rocheteau. Together, they write themselves into myth, learn some hidden history, shuffle some cards, and even talk some poetry.

More Episodes from VS
Showing 1 to 20 of 24 Podcasts
  1. Tuesday, October 9, 2018

    Jacob Saenz vs. The Block

  2. Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    H. Melt vs. Trans Liberation

  3. Tuesday, August 28, 2018

    Nate Marshall vs. Fear

  4. Tuesday, March 6, 2018

    Tarfia Faizullah vs. Beauty

  5. Tuesday, February 27, 2018

    Knockouts

  6. Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    Franny and Danez's Season 1 Favorite Moments

  7. Tuesday, February 13, 2018

    VS Season 2: Coming March 6!

  8. Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Krista Franklin vs. Time Travel

  9. Tuesday, October 31, 2017

    Kuumba Lynx vs. Transformation

  10. Tuesday, October 17, 2017

    avery r. young vs. the Page

  11. Tuesday, October 3, 2017

    Raych Jackson vs. the Good Books

  12. Tuesday, September 19, 2017

    Erika L. Sánchez vs. High School