New Recruits Episode 3: Paula & Abigail Kenigsberg Read Suzannah Showler

Welcome to the 3rd episode of New Recruits! For details on what the hell this is and how it works, check out the description in Episode 1.

Just an FYI, there will be male poets and readers in this series. I was going for a more diverse lineup but for now it’s all women all the time and you’re just going to have to wait until Episode 4 for the boys to show up.

Paula and Abigail decided to take on this episode together. Paula is my aunt, my mother’s sister, and Abby is her daughter (my cousin). I chose this poem for them because it has a kitty in it (Abby has been known to wear cat leggings on occasion) and because its quick pace and colloquial interludes are only deceptively simple.

Abby reads the first half of Suzannah Showler‘s “Subjunctive Mood” and Paula reads the second half:


Which line of the poem do you like best?

P: ‘For real,/ like, five percent of what we think/ is new’

(Abby refused to choose a line. I assume this means that she loved them all equally.)


P: Because I love the sound of it and it’s so true. People think they have these great epiphanies and they don’t really.

What does this poem make you think of?

P: Makes me think of the repetitive cycle of things and how we can focus on the unimportant and not really understand why we are here.

Are there any words in this poem that you don’t understand?

A: Subjunctive

Would you like to understand them?

A: Yes

Is this poem different from what you expected poetry to be like? If so, How?

P: Less rhymey (I know that’s not a word) and more talky (also not a real word). I guess when I was younger I expected poems to rhyme but now I don’t. Now I expect them to evoke thought and emotion which this one definitely did. I really appreciate that.

Do you have any questions for the poet?

P: No, but I want her to know that I enjoyed reading this poem.


Paula is 48 years old. She likes hanging out with family and friends. She is allergic to cats but owns two of them anyway.

Abby is 11 years old. She loves cheer, piano, acting, animals and reading.


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