An audio New Year’s gift

For the last couple of years I’ve been making a lot of audio “mixtapes.” Some, like this one, were made for students in the MFA in Design for Social Innovation at SVA, where I teach with Hanna du Plessis. Some are for public “adaptive space” learning groups or learning cohorts in client organizations. This one was made as a parting gift for grad students at the end of the Spring 2022 semester.

A poetic lens…

Creating together in complexity is difficult and full of uncertainty. Intellectual understanding doesn’t always help us make sense of our experience of those difficulties and uncertainties. This audio “mixtape” explores poetry as a source of language and framing, in four chapters: wonder, emergence, “lost,” and trust.

Play or download

Use the player below to listen.
Notice the download button just below “PodBean” in the upper right corner of the player. To follow along with an interactive transcript scroll down on this page. 

Listen with interactive transcript

Play button is at the bottom of the transcript. Clicking a word in the transcript jumps to that part of the audio. Want it bigger? Click the full-screen button in the bottom-right of the player, or open the live-transcript player in your browser.


Introduction: Complexity brings us to our edge
David Whyte notes that our identify is most real in the conversation where “who we think we are” meets the world as it is.

Part one: Wonder  |  3:07
Gregory Orr’s poems invite us to a certain kind of attention toward the world.

Part two: Creating in complexity is participating in unfolding   |  10:13
Working with A.R. Ammons’ poem, Poetics

Part three: Lost   |   19:00
After an introduction from Sonja Blignaut, David Whyte helps us consider David Waggoner’s poem, Lost

Part four: Trust   |  31:40
With so much uncertainty, where can we put our trust? We hear three answers from David Whyte, Mary Oliver, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

Closing with O’Donohue   |   44:06
A poem so short you can memorize right now.


Audio samples gathered by Marc Rettig over the years. See PDF transcript.

People and sources