The river Ocean was said to enclose the world in a perfect circle, yet no one had ever seen it. Herodotus grumbled: “The name Ocean was, I suppose, invented by some ancient poet or other, and inserted into his poetry.”

In Episode 14 of Multi-Verse, poet Barbara Tran chats with host Evangeline Riddiford Graham about how water encircles her poem “Loon Song.” Tran’s river Ocean is not inserted but rising around the poet; feverish, Tran envisions herself adrift on the raft of her bed, her feet dangling as if dropping off the far edge of a flat earth. She envisions a loon stuck in a too-small pond. She isn’t sure, in this state, if she’s fit to map her surroundings.

“Loon Song” can be found in Tran’s debut collection, Precedented Parroting (Palimpsest Press, 2024).

Multi-Verse is a poetry podcast hosted and produced by Evangeline Riddiford Graham, senior managing editor at Public Seminar. To hear more poets share the poems they don’t usually read aloud, visit Multi-Verse at SpotifyApple PodcastsPocket CastsSoundCloud, or For monthly poetry updates direct to your inbox, subscribe to the monthly Multi-Verse newsletter.