KUSP's Poetry Show

Same show, new channel

The Poetry Show blog has moved to a new website, and we’ll be posting new podcasts there. We thank KUSP-FM for keeping us around for so many years, and hope that our listeners will follow The Poetry Show into the new online podcast era.

In case the click-link above doesn’t work, here’s the complete new website url: http://poetrysantacruz.org/thepoetryshow.org/

Ellen Bass from the Archives, and News


15 - The Human LineIt’s May 15, 2016 – our second Sunday without a live broadcast of the KUSP Poetry Show. We have no idea yet whether KUSP will survive, but never fear – we’re not going away, just online. It may take a few weeks to get set up over at the Poetry Santa Cruz website and work out a new routine. Until we get back to regular production of Poetry Show podcasts, the blog will continue here at KUSP.org, and will serve to keep our followers up to date on what’s happening in our world, and in the broader world of poetry.

Also, a blog post wouldn’t be complete without a podcast, so we’re going to delve into the archives. This week, you’re invited to listen to one of the very first Poetry Shows saved as a podcast – from June 11, 2007. Dennis Morton was the host and, for the first time, Santa Cruz’ own Ellen Bass was his guest.

The occasion for this visit was the publication of the second Ellen Bass poetry collection, The Human Line, and it’s a treat to hear her read and discuss some of the poems from that book. Ellen’s most original bit of advice to aspiring poets: “When the muse hands you something, never say no – you don’t want to make her mad…”. There’s more to it than that, of course, but you’ll have to listen to hear the rest. When to listen? We suggest 9:00 Sunday evening as a good time to listen to the Poetry Show.

Poetry News

* We got a nice email from Cahal (C. L.) Dallat, now safely back home in London. He and Anne-Marie Fyfe want to thank Santa Cruz for making them feel welcome at the Poetry Show and at their Poetry Santa Cruz reading. Next time our globe-trotting Poetry Show listeners are in London, be sure to drop in for some Coffee House Poetry at The Troubadour.

* In national poetry news, listen to this brief interview by NPR’s Scott Simon:

It’s the 100th birthday of the Pulitzer Prizes this year – the centenary of a prize that can change the life and the career of a journalist, a photographer, a biographer, a dramatist or a poet. In the latest conversation in our series to mark the Pulitzer’s big year, we welcome Gregory Pardlo. He won the Pulitzer for poetry last year for his collection of poems entitled Digest.  He joins us from our studios in New York…

15 - digest-book



Dennis plans further investigation of Gregory Pardlo and his poetry, so perhaps we’ll have more to say about him in future.


Stephen Kessler, guest poet


01 - KesslerLocal poet, editor and translator Stephen Kessler joined host Dennis Morton on the Poetry Show for May 1, 2016. In addition to his own career accomplishments, Stephen was one of the original Poetry Show hosts, along with Gary Young. Big decisions on the future of KUSP will be made this week, so it was appropriate to have Stephen as a guest to reminisce about the early history of KUSP, the Poetry Show and Santa Cruz poetry.

As a part of the history lesson, Stephen shared some of his own history in the world of poetry, including memories of associations with George Hitchcock, Gary Young, Morton Marcus and Robert Duncan. This week’s “ABC’s of advice to aspiring poets” comes via Stephen’s memories of Duncan’s teaching days at UCSC:

  • A – Trust your own voice
  • B – Give yourself permission to be an idiot
  • C – Poets aren’t factories

Listeners were treated to readings of poetry by Kessler and others mentioned above. Stephen’s latest published collection of “hybrid” prose/poetry is titled Where Was I? Regular listeners will remember Stephen’s previous appearance on the show, adding his expertise in poetry translation to an interview with Brazilian poet Salgado Maranhão . A few months ago, Stephen shared and discussed some of his translations of the Spanish poet Luis Cernuda.

Poetry Show listeners should be forewarned that, at this transitional time for KUSP, May 1 may have been the show’s last FM broadcast. We remain hopeful that a solution will be found to the station’s fiscal dilemma, but remain committed no-matter-what to continuing the Poetry Show in some medium. There may be some unavoidable disruption, so watch this space.

Don’t forget! It’s not too late to help keep KUSP alive. Please contribute what you can to the “Mayday” campaign to keep KUSP and the Poetry Show on the Santa Cruz FM airwaves for many more years.


Readings: Some Favorites


24 - Dennis-Len comp horizHost Dennis Morton was joined once again by local poet and fellow Poetry Santa Cruz board member Len Anderson for an hour of reading and discussion, on the Poetry Show for April 24, 2016. The theme was “favorites”, and selections were drawn from a wide range of contemporary poetry. Broadcast engineer and blogger Carey Casey also joined in from behind the audio board with a couple of selections.

Another theme this week is the last ditch fundraising effort to avoid a KUSP shutdown next month. Please contribute what you can to the “Mayday” campaign - help keep KUSP and the Poetry Show on the FM airwaves for many more years.


Poetry Santa Cruz reading: April 2016


12 - Fyffe-Dallat comp vert

The April 2016 Poetry Santa Cruz reading  event, held as usual on the second Tuesday (12th) at Bookshop Santa Cruz, featured Irish poets Anne-Marie Fyfe and C. L. Dallat,  following their Poetry Show appearance on April 10. Anne-Marie’s new collection is titled House of Small Absences., and C. L. Dallat’s latest book is The Year of Not Dancing.

Dallat is also an accomplished musician,  and treated the audience to a couple of pieces on mandolin – one of many instruments he brought along on the current West Coast book tour. The reading was followed by a brief question and answer session.

The two poets live in London, where they run Coffee House Poetry at the venerable Troubadour.


Salgado Maranhão, guest poet


17 - maranhao-web2Brazilian poet Salgado Maranhão was a special guest on the Poetry Show for April 17, 2016.

Salgado, his American translator Alexis Levitin, and local poet/translator Stephen Kessler sat down with host Dennis Morton to read and discuss Levitin’s two translations of Maranhão books  – written in Brazilian Portuguese – and the challenges of translating poetry. The interview was recorded at KUSP on April 9, when Maranhão and Levitin came through town on their book tour.

Tiger-Blood vert composite





The two books of Salgado Maranão poetry translated by Alexis Leviton are Tiger Fur (White Pine Press), and Blood of the Sun (Milkweed Press).

Stephen Kessler is an accomplished poet, translator and past Poetry Show host. In his most recent previous appearance on the Poetry Show, he discussed the art of translation and his translations of Chilean poet Luis Cernuda.

Anne-Marie Fyfe and C. L. Dallat, guest poets


10 - annemariefyfe composite.jpgExpat Irish poets Anne-Marie Fyfe and C. L. Dallat, now residing in London, made time in their joint book tour to visit the Poetry Show on April 10, 2016. Anne-Marie’s new collection is titled House of Small Absences.



10 - cldallat comp.jpgC. L. Dallat’s latest book is The Year of Not Dancing. The two took turns reading and discussing their poems with host Dennis Morton.

This show was a preview of this week’s Poetry Santa Cruz reading, coming up Tuesday evening, 7:30 at Bookshop Santa Cruz.

Readings: Vuong, Maverick Poets


03 - Night SkyHost Dennis Morton was joined by local poet and fellow Poetry Santa Cruz board member Len Anderson for an hour of reading and discussion, on the Poetry Show for April 3, 2016. Each reader chose a published collection from which to make selections. For Len it was a new book by a young poet, Ocean Vuong, titled Night Sky With Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon, 2016). The collection has received much critical acclaim as the first full-length published work of a new voice in poetry:

Night Sky with Exit Wounds is the kind of book that soon becomes worn with love. You will want to crease every page to come back to it, to underline every other line because each word resonates with power.” — LitHub

03 - Maverick Poets


For his reading selections, Dennis chose an older (1967) anthology edited by Steve Kowit, titled The Maverick Poets. (used copies of the 1988 paperback edition can be found for sale online). The collection includes several early poems by Billy Collins.

Poetry Santa Cruz reading: March 2016


06 - steve_kowitNew with this post, the Poetry Show will post podcasts of recorded Poetry Santa Cruz readings. The March 2016 event, held as usual on the second Tuesday at Bookshop Santa Cruz, was a tribute to poet Steve Kowit, who left us in April 2015. The featured reader was self-described “human” Tom Marshall, a long-time friend of Kowit.

Tom was followed by a number of others who attended the event, sharing favorite Steve Kowit poems.

William O’Daly, guest poet


27 - william-odalyOn March 27, 2016, host Dennis Morton welcomed poet and Pablo Neruda translator William O’Daly to the Poetry Show, to read and discuss Neruda and also his own latest poetry collection, titled The Road to Isla Negra. The new collection is an homage to Neruda, published by Folded Word Press, and features photos by Galen Garwood.

27 - islaNegra






In earlier days, O’Daly was one of the founders, along with Sam Hamill, of Copper Canyon Press. The founding story began in 1972 with a campus publication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and continues today as one of our very favorite poetry publishers.