Niall O'Sullivan
I started hosting the Rusty Sonnets podcast in response to being asked by regulars of my open mic if they could attend my poetry lectures at London Metropolitan University. My students would also sometimes ask me if they could have friends who wanted to know more about poetry accompany them. My answer to both was infortunately, "Sorry, I'd love to oblige but it's not allowed!" So I got thinking about what would be the next best thing, or maybe even a better thing. From that germ of an idea, the Rusty Sonnets podcast was born. Each episode inviolves me observing the simple formula of choosing an old poem, reading it out, giving all the historical and cultural background, analysing the poem and finally letting my mind wander aloud about what meanings we can take from the poem in this day and age. I try to keep things light hearted, informative and cosy. I want it to be a podcast for people that want to learn more about the history of poetry in English but are intimidated by all the things that get in the way of their own understanding of the poem. Throughout the podcast so far, we have looked at poets such as Shakespeare, Keats, Blake, Wordsworth, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Alexander Pope. At the same time, we have looked at poets that aren't as immediately available withing the usual canon, such as Claude McKay, Phyliss Wheatley, Alice Dunbar Nelson and Amy Lowell. Ir's easy to tell the story of poetry in English Literature as a succession of "Dead White Men" and so I try my best to cast a wide net over public domain poetry. Be it a free education in poetry, or simply an entertaining and informative moment in the midst of our always-on digital culture, I often feel that each episode is given like a gift from me to anyone who needs it. Hence why my Ko-Fi page now serves as means for anyone that wants to give back. Cheers, Niall.

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