KUSP's Poetry Show

C. J. Sage, guest poet



Local poet and animal-rights advocate C. J. Sage visited the Poetry Show on August 2, 2015. She and host Dennis Morton read and discussed poetry primarily about animals. Ms. Sage edits The National Poetry Review, and has five published books:




In addition to poetry, Dennis and C.J. discussed a rescue and sanctuary center for dogs, focused especially on a group of hunting dog breeds known as “sighthounds”.  The center is run by a 501(c)3 nonprofit called Hound Sanctuary Inc. Learn more at houndsanctuary.org.

Marc Zegans, guest poet – part 2, Tilly Shaw


On the KUSP Poetry Show broadcast for July 26, 2015,  host Dennis Morton was joined once again by poet, spoken-word artist and creative development advisor Marc Zegans.

26 - SwimmingBut before continuing the discussion of spoken-word poetry with Marc, we paused briefly to pay respects to Tilly Shaw, longtime local poet and educator who passed away a few days ago. Dennis read three poems from Tilly’s book, Swimming Closer to Shore (2002, Hummingbird Press). A future show will revisit Tilly’s poetry in more depth. The poems:

  • Vroom
  • My Mother’s Death
  • Quitting Computer Solitaire After Playing 17, 309 Times


26 - Redux




Marc Zegans’ first Poetry Show appearance a few weeks ago included readings/tracks from a book-with-CD anthology titled Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation. This time, we hear cuts from the second volume of that collection, titled Spoken Word Revolution Redux, again edited by Mark Eleveld and narrated by Mark Smith. Redux expands the scope of the first volume along with the commonly-understood definition of spoken-word. The Redux collection includes older-style poetry readings alongside more recent forms like slam, hip-hop, etc.

We also got a sneak preview of Marc’s soon-to-be-published poetry collection, titled The Underwater Typewriter (Pelekinesis Press). Marc will be back soon for a show dedicated to the new book.

Readings: Joanie Maro, guest reader encore


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For the July 19, 2015 Poetry Show, host Dennis Morton again welcomed guest reader Joanie Maro. Readings this time were from new issues of a pair of our favorite poetry periodicals, and from one of Dennis’ favorite poets:

Readings: with guest reader Joanie Maro


12 - 4 covers

For this week’s Poetry Show, host Dennis Morton welcomed a guest reader – Joanie Maro. It was Joanie’s first appearance on the show, but hopefully not the last. She’s a new member of the Board of Directors of Poetry Santa Cruz, poetry lover (obviously) and intrepid discoverer of out-of-print local poetry publications. Joanie and Dennis shared and discussed a number of poems with listeners.

Readings: Ostriker, Simic, Shantiris, Astley


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On the Poetry Show broadcast of July 5, 2015, host Dennis Morton read poetry selections from a variety of sources, including:

Marc Zegans, guest poet


28 - Marc ZegansPoet, spoken-word artist and creative development advisor Marc Zegans joined host Dennis Morton on June 28, 2015 for a discussion of Marc’s chosen genre: spoken-word poetry. Marc quickly introduced the first and most obvious difference between spoken-word and traditional poetry – performance is an integral part of spoken-word, inseparable from the words themselves. To demonstrate, we heard several cuts from a book-with-CD anthology titled Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation, edited by Mark Eleveld. An advisor on the collection was Mark Smith, who many credit with founding the “slam” scene. Also included is an introduction by Billy Collins.


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Marc also shared some of his own wry poems, demonstrating (among other things) that humor is often an element of spoken-word. An interesting discussion ensued concerning Marc’s composition process, paying special attention to the sound of the lines and words when performed - in Marc’s words, the “musical possibilities”. For more biography of Marc Zegans, check out this interview on a blog called Creative Life.

Stephen Kessler Translates Spanish Poet, Luis Cernuda


Layout 1On the June 21, 2015 Poetry Show, local poetry luminary (and past Poetry Show host) Stephen Kessler joined host Dennis Morton to read from and discuss his new book, a hefty volume of translations titled Forbidden Pleasures: New Selected Poems [1924-1949], by the Spanish writer Luis Cernuda. Published by Black Widow Press, the 400+ page book features Kessler’s new English translations, side-by-side on the pages with the original Spanish text.

Cernuda was one of the “Generation of ’27” (Spanish: Generación del 27), a group of young poets that arose during the 1920s. The members were scattered by the onset of the Spanish Civil War in 1936. Best-known to Americans of the group is probably Federico Garcia Lorca, who was assassinated in the early days of the war. Cernuda spent many years in the UK and US before ending up in Mexico late in life. He never returned to Spain.

20 - S. KesslerThe stars have been in alignment for the Poetry Show (or maybe it’s the hard work of Dennis Morton in scheduling guests and subjects). Last week we learned that a previous guest, Juan Felipe Herrera, has just been named United States Poet Laureate. In honor of that honor, we re-broadcast Mr. Herrera’s 2014 visit to the show. This week’s guest, Stephen Kessler, was also a guest on that 2014 show because of his long-time association with both Herrera and the Poetry Show.

Forbidden Pleasures will have its official Santa Cruz introduction on July 18 at Felix Kulpa Gallery, presented by A New Cadence Poetry Series.

Juan Felipe Herrera reprise


20 - JFHThe Poetry Show congratulates California poet Juan Felipe Herrera on his recent appointment as 21st United States Poet Laureate. We can say we knew him when he was merely California Poet Laureate – last year.


20 - S. Kessler


In April of 2014, host Dennis Morton sat down for a conversation with Mr. Herrera and a long-time friend and fellow poet, former Poetry Show host Stephen Kessler. To celebrate this new honor, the Poetry Show re-broadcast that show from last year.

From the Library of Congress Website:

“Herrera succeeds Charles Wright as Poet Laureate and joins a long line of distinguished poets who have served in the position including Natasha Trethewey, Philip Levine, W. S. Merwin, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Donald Hall, Ted Kooser, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Pinsky, Robert Hass, and Rita Dove.”

Len Anderson, guest poet

Dennis and Len

Dennis Morton and Len Anderson

Local poet and poetry advocate Len Anderson joined host Dennis Morton to read some poetry, by himself and others, and also to talk about Poetry Santa Cruz, the organization Len and Dennis started in 2001. In addition to his general responsibilities as a Poetry Santa Cruz board member, Len is responsible for maintaining the website with its comprehensive events page, the go-to source for information on local poetry.

Poetry Santa Cruz sponsors a number of regular and ongoing events, including:

  • “Poetry Santa Cruz Presents”- a regular reading on the second Tuesday of each month, at Bookshop Santa Cruz. These events typically feature a local published poet paired with a well-known visiting author
  • “Poet/Speak” – a monthly semi-open poetry reading at the Santa Cruz Main Library, usually on the 3rd Sunday from 2:00-4:00 PM
  • An annual Santa Cruz County high school poetry competition
  • “Community Writers” – a monthly open mic reading, 4th Saturday at Porter Memorial Library in Soquel.

Len read several poems from Harvest From the Emerald Orchard, an anthology of poems by members of the local Emerald Street Writing Group, which has been nurturing local writers since the mid-1990s. Members of the group have been past guests on the Poetry Show. Another source was a poetry periodical called Caesura, published annually by Poetry Center San Jose.

In addition to the interplay with Len, Dennis read a number of poems by recently-deceased Steve Kowit, and others from an early anthology Kowit edited, called The Maverick Poets.

Christine Tobin, Rattle #48


31 - Tobin CD coverThis week’s Poetry Show began and ended with selections from a 2007 CD by singer-composer Christine Tobin, on which she created songs from a number of poems by others. Read more about her in her website “biog”. The cut heard at the beginning of the show sets to music a poem called Horses, by Paul Muldoon (you can play this song from the website). At show’s end, we hear another of Christine Tobin’s songs, this one called Muse of Blues, incorporating a poem by Eva Salzman. The CD is titled Romance and Revolution, which is also the title of another Salzman poem (not set to music).

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Sandwiched between the Christine Tobin bookends, Poetry Show host Dennis Morton read selections from the latest issue of Rattle magazine (#48 – summer 2015). Rattle remains a favorite on the Poetry Show.