Episode 32: Imaginative Biography: PLACES & NAMES

You can also find our podcast episodes on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Play MusiciHeartRadio, and Stitcher.

The poems in Carl Boon’s debut collection, PLACES & NAMES, coalesce two kinds of history—the factual and the imagined—to produce a kind of intimacy that is greater than either fact or imagination. It is this sense of intimacy that brings the poems to life. We encounter real places sometimes—places we see on maps and highway signs—but also places that exist only in the imagination. We encounter names that are both recognizable and almost—or barely—remembered at all: Jorge Luis Borges next to an unknown boy from Clarita, Oklahoma, who himself would become a poet someday; a man who wishes he were Rocky Marciano hammering the heavy bag in Northeast Ohio, hungry for more than beans or soup. And suddenly it becomes clear how intimately connected in this collection these places and names are as we range from Saigon to northern Iraq; Athens, Ohio, to Libya; Ankara to Pittsburgh; and a strange, sleepy place called Pomegranate Town where someone’s infant dozes in the back of a car on a seaside highway. The people who inhabit these places seem, in a sense, to become those places, inseparable from their geographies and histories, often unable to escape, bound by memory, nostalgia, and tradition.

In this episode, we speak with Carl Boon and showcase his poems from PLACES & NAMES, which The Nasiona published in 2019. This week marks The Nasiona Magazine’s 2nd anniversary, and Carl was included in our first and second issues. During the month, we’ll showcase some of the original work from those first issues from 2 years ago as a way to celebrate our origins.

For PLACES & NAMES, we included 30 poems Carl had previously published elsewhere, and then he wrote 30 new ones specifically for this collection. I’ve never read a Carl Boon poem I didn’t like, and I’m happy to share some of those with you today. If you like what you hear, you can get a copy of PLACES & NAMES as paperback or eBook on Amazon. You won’t regret it!

Advance Praise

“Carl Boon’s vivid and timely poetry is tuned to a rare frequency—one not often seen in American poetry—and plays nuanced, insightful and generous songs. In its engagements, its capacity to capture fleeting landscapes and moments, this collection sneaks up on you and disturbs your equilibrium in the best possible way.”
ANN TOWNSEND, author of The Coronary Garden

“As the title suggests, PLACES & NAMES aspires to a panoramic authority whereby Carl Boon can visit any life anywhere (especially Southeast Asia, Turkey, and the USA) since the Sixties and find a twist of pathos there. Such ambition, with such insistence on the local and visible (“the boy // on his unruly skateboard, / the wasp in the fig tree”), calls to mind Robert Lowell’s History, or the more recent work of such poets as David Wojahn, Campbell McGrath, and Angela Sorby. The ironic effect of such eclectic specificities is a pervasive rueful sense that human longing and loneliness remain the same everywhere.”
MARK HALLIDAY, author of Thresherphobe


Ohio-native Carl Boon’s poems have appeared in hundreds of journals, magazines, and anthologies in the US and abroad, including Prairie Schooner, Posit, and The Maine Review, earning him nominations for the Pushcard Prize and the Best of the Net Award. He received his PhD in Twentieth-Century American Literature from Ohio University in 2007, and currently teaches university courses in American culture and literature in Turkey, where he’s been living since 2008. In 2018, he edited Perspectives on the Sublime in American Cultural Studies and in 2020 also edited a volume titled Places at the Table: Food in American Culture and Literature. He is currently preparing his second collection of poems, which will reflect his interest in imaginative biography more fully.


Julián Esteban Torres López (he/him/his/el) is a bilingual, Colombia-born journalist, publisher, podcaster, author, researcher, educator, editor, and culture worker with Afro-Euro-Indigenous roots. He’s a Sr. DEI Consultant at Yardstick Management. Before founding the social justice storytelling organization The Nasionahe ran several cultural and arts organizations, edited journals and books, was a social justice and public history researcher, wrote a column for Colombia Reports, taught university courses, and managed a history museum. He’s a Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions nominee and has written two books on social justice. Torres López holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and in communication and a master’s in justice studies from University of New Hampshire and was a Ph.D. candidate at University of British Columbia Okanagan, where he focused on political science and Latin American studies.

Twitter and Instagram: @je_torres_lopez


Voice Actors

The Nasiona co-Founder, Creative Director, co-Editor-in-Chief, Producer

AïCHA MARTINE THIAM is a trilingual writer, musician, and artist who goes where the waves take her, and an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press. She will quote obscure film facts at you, unprovoked. Her collection of poems, “AT SEA” was shortlisted for the 2019 Kingdoms in the Wild Poetry Prize. Some of her fiction and nonfiction can be found on The Rumpus, Medium, Lamplight, Metaphorosis, and Bright Wall/Dark Room, among others.

Twitter: @Maelllstrom


ANUJA GHIMIRE is from Kathmandu, Nepal. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she writes poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. Her chapbook Kathmandu is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. She works as a senior publisher for Education Galaxy and lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and two daughters.

Twitter: @GhimireAnuja


 DEBRA GROVES HARMAN has taught secondary English for several years, and is now a substitute teacher. She has a BA in English Literature from University of Oregon (1990, Magna Cum Laude) as well as an M.Ed. from Portland State University. Love and Loss in Cambodia: a memoir first book.

 JACOB DERWIN is a voice actor, songwriter and podcast host based in Brooklyn, New York. His comedy podcast, I’M TRYING!, is released every Wednesday wherever podcasts are found. Jacob spends most of his free time fantasizing about what it would be like to host a food competition show.


Twitter: @JacobDerwin

Instagram: @JacobDerwin

 JERRY EDWARDS is an educator and voice-over narrator based in Vancouver, BC. His YouTube channel All Stories Aloud features audio versions of poems, essays, and stories, designed to help students of all ages and abilities. Requests are welcome!

Jill Bergantz Carley is a multiple Pushcart-nominated poet and artist living in Northern California. Her first collection, ANIMAL VEGETABLE MINERAL, is forthcoming from UnCollected Press in 2020.

JO WESTON is a writer and poet based in Nottingham, England. She has an MA in Creative Writing with distinction and has been a Writer-in-Residence for the Maggie’s Centre. Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and longlisted in Mslexia’s Poetry Competition, her work has been published in anthologies and magazines, and broadcast on BBC radio.​

LANNIE STABILE, a Detroiter, often says while some write like a turtleneck sweater, she writes like a Hawaiian shirt. Works can be found, or are forthcoming, in The Hellebore, Kissing Dynamite, Likely Red Press, and more. Lannie is Project Manager at Barren Magazine.

Twitter: @LanniePenland


 Rachel Laverdiere is a writer, potter and instructor from the Canadian prairies. Her writing is widely published in journals such as JMWW, Atlas and Alice and Bending Genres. Most recently, Rachel’s flash CNF was short-listed for CutBank’s 2019 Big Sky, Small Prose Contest and appeared on Wigleaf’s 50 Shorts of 2020 list. She is a CNF editor at Barren Magazine and a regular contributor at Entropy Magazine.

Visit www.rachellaverdiere.com to read more of her writing.

 Richard McColl is an Anglo Canadian freelance writer, conflict resolution specialist, PhD candidate and foreign correspondent based either in Bogotá or in the garciamarquian town of Mompós where he runs a small guesthouse called La Casa Amarilla. He edited and contributed to the collection, Was Gabo an Irishman? Tales from Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Colombia, and is looking for a publisher for his tale of love and hotels in Colombia entitled: The Mompós Project. He hosts a weekly online radio show called Colombia Calling.


Twitter: @colombiacalling + @casaamarilla 

The Nasiona Podcast amplifies the voices and experiences of the marginalized, undervalued, overlooked, silenced, and forgotten, as well as gives you a glimpse into Othered worlds. We focus on stories that explore the spectrum of human experiences—stories based on facts, truth-seeking, human concerns, real events, and real people, with a personal touch. From liminal lives to the marginalized, and everything in between, we believe that the subjective can offer its own reality and reveal truths some facts can’t discover. Hosted, edited, and produced by Julián Esteban Torres López

Please follow The Nasiona on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook for regular updates: @TheNasiona

Original music for The Nasiona Podcast was produced by the Grammy Award-winning team of Joe Sparkman and Marcus Allen, aka The Heavyweights.
Joe Sparkman: Twitter + Instagram. Marcus Allen: Twitter + Instagram.

The Nasiona Magazine and Podcast depend on voluntary contributions from readers and listeners like you. We hope the value of our work to our community is worth your patronage. If you like what we do, please show this by liking, rating, and reviewing us; buying or recommending our books; and by financially supporting our work either through The Nasiona’s Patreon page or through Julián Esteban Torres López‘s Ko-fi donation platform. Every little bit helps.

Thank you for listening and reading, and thank you for your support.

Tweet 3k
The future of The Nasiona depends on your support. To secure our independence and provide you with free content, please become a patron and donate.