KUSP's Poetry Show

Tess Taylor, guest poet


TessMulti-talented Tess Taylor joined host Dennis Morton on the KUSP Poetry Show for July 6, 2014. Tess has a new book out titled The Forage House, from Red Hen Press, and will be back in Santa Cruz on Tuesday for a reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz.  She read and discussed a few poems from the new book, and shared thoughts on a wide range of subjects.

Forage House coverFrom the publisher’s website:

“Attic boxes full of shards. Family stories full of secrets. A grandchild wondering what to save and what to throw away seeks to make sense of what it means to inherit anything at all. In The Forage House, Tess Taylor’s anticipated lyric debut, the speaker unravels a rich and troubling history. Shuttling between legend and story, history and family tale, these poems visit cluttered attics, torn wills, and marked and unmarked graves.”

These are busy times for Tess Taylor. In addition to the recently-completed book tour, she and her husband are raising a nearly-three-year-old son. She’s also been doing poetry book reviews for NPR’s All Things Considered – most recently a look at Hustle, by David Tomas Martinez. In the fall, Tess begins a new teaching position in the English department at Whittier College.

Catherine Segurson and Zack Rogow, special guests


29 - zackCatherine Segurson and Zack Rogow (rhymes with pogo) of Catamaran Literary Reader joined host Dennis Morton on the KUSP Poetry Show for June 29, 2014. Catherine has been on the show a number of times, and this time brought along Catamaran Poetry Editor Zack Rogow to be a first-time guest.  Zack read and discussed some of his own poetry – much discussion followed his first read poem, which employs the repeated line starter “What do you think of people who…?”

29 - obsidian-coverZack’s poetry explores human and social issues in pointed but gentle and often humorous ways, employing references to popular mass media and the connections between poetry and music. Poems move from “Why do fools fall in love” to “Casablanca” to “ghazal” – a musical poetry form native to many Middle Eastern and South Asian cultures.

From a forthcoming chapbook titled Voices Carved From Obsidian, Zack shared poems paying homage to Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. That led to a discussion of jazz and poetry, with some authoritative poet-name-dropping.


29 -  Catherine photoA bit of Poetry Show news: Catherine Segurson will be transitioning from guest to host on The Poetry Show. The current plan is for her to take a show each month, introducing us to more of the fine poets whose work can be found in Catamaran Literary Reader. The outstanding quality of the quarterly publication, now in its second year, proves that print is not dead, and adds to Santa Cruz’ reputation as a center of the visual and literary arts. Catherine has done an amazing job of pulling it all together, and poetry fans should be excited to have Zack Rogow on board as Poetry Editor.

Rattle 43, 44, Carruth on CD


22 - ccR43Host Dennis Morton read from the two most recent issues of Rattle magazine on the KUSP Poetry Show for June 22, 2014. The first half readings were from Rattle #43 (spring), subtitled Love Poems. Those purchasing #43 will find that it also includes a conversation with past Poetry Show guest Troy Jollimore.

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In the show’s second half-hour, Rattle #44 (summer) was featured, subtitled Open Poetry. The featured conversation in #44 is with another recent Poetry Show guest, California poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.


22 - carruth cdThe last ten minutes of the first half featured selections from a CD of Hayden Carruth readings his own poetry. The CD is titled Hayden Carruth: A Listener’s Guide (Copper Canyon Listener’s Guides).

Susan Allison, guest poet


15 - susanallisonLocal therapist and writer Susan Allison joined host Dennis Morton on the KUSP Poetry Show for June 15, 2014. Susan will be reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz on June 22.

15 - ourspiritsSusan’s newest book of poetry is titled Our Spirits Dance: Poetry of Soul Mates. The book of love poems is a collaboration with her late husband Thomas Hickenbottom. Thomas, who died in 2013, was well-known as a local surfer, writer and educator. The layout of Our Spirits Dance juxtaposes paired poems by Susan and Thomas.

Holder of a PhD in Transpersonal Psychology, Susan Allison has maintained a private therapy practice for 20 years and has written two books in that area. At the same time, she has always been a poet, and has published one previous book of her poetry, titled Breathing Room.

Rodger Kamenetz, Guest Poet


08 - rodger-headshot-webPoet and dream worker Rodger Kamenetz joined host Dennis Morton for the Poetry Show on June 8, 2014. Kamenetz was in the middle of a busy few days in Santa Cruz. On Saturday and again earlier on Sunday, he led workshops on Dreams and Poetry. On Tuesday, he’s the featured reader at the regular second-Tuesday event at Bookshop Santa Cruz, sponsored by Poetry Santa Cruz. Well-known local poet Stephen Kessler completes the bill for that event.


This was Rodger Kamenetz’s first visit to the poetry show, but he is nationally well-known for his writing, both poetry and non-fiction. His biography informs us that:

Rodger Kamenetz is an award-winning poet, author and teacher. Of his eleven books, his best known is The Jew in the Lotus, the story of rabbis making a holy pilgrimage through India to meet with the Dalai Lama. His account of their historic dialogue became an international bestseller, prompting a reevaluation of Judaism in the light of Buddhist thought. Now in its twentieth year of publication and its 35th printing overall, The Jew in the Lotus is a staple of college religion courses. A PBS documentary followed, and a sequel, Stalking Elijah, won him the National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Thought.

08 - covertdnty3Kamenetz’s six books of poetry include To Die Next To You and The Lowercase Jew. During this visit to the Poetry Show, he read from and expounded upon a number of poems from these two, including the intriguingly-titled “Allen Ginsburg Forgives Ezra Pound on Behalf of the Jews”.

To Die Next To You is a visually-striking book. The cover and each of the poems inside feature images by painter Michael Hafftka.



Catherine Segurson, special guest


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Catherine Segurson, creator and editor of Catamaran Literary Reader, paid a return visit to the Poetry Show on June 1, 2014. Her last appearance on the show was October 13, 2013.


Issue 6, Spring 2014 of this outstanding local quarterly arts magazine is out now, and Catherine talks about it with host Dennis Morton. Each issue of Catamaran includes a variety of visual and literary arts, including poetry. The words beneath the logo at the Catamaran website succinctly describe the magazine’s scope:

“West Coast Themes. Writers and Artists from Everywhere.”


01 - Catamaran Front CoverCatherine shared a few poems from the Spring 2014 Catamaran, including:

  • Catamaran – Paul Muldoon
  • Ritual – Elizabeth Bradfield
  • Stage Ride to Tassajara – Kari Wergeland
  • Sam – Christopher Buckley
  • Memory and the Life of It - Aleida Rodriguez
  • Almost Beautiful (from Gravity) – Elizabeth Rosner
  • Don’t Go Down There – Pedro Xavier Solis



Erica Goss, guest poet


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Bay area poet and educator Erica Goss joined host Dennis Morton for the KUSP Poetry Show on May 25, 2014. She has a new book titled Vibrant Words: ideas and inspirations for poets. The book is itself an answer to one of the standard questions Dennis likes to ask visiting poets: What are your ABCs of advice to aspiring poets? The book includes many exercises and suggestions to help to get the poetic words flowing. Some words of peer praise:


“Erica Goss’s elegantly conceived and thoughtfully edited Vibrant Words will assist and inspire many an aspiring poet and storyteller. Like other artists, wordsmiths should welcome and respond to the challenges of surprise and demand. These warm, prodding pages quiver with enough prompts, suggestions, exercises, examples and borderline ecstasy to keep any fledgling or practiced writer of poetry meaningfully focused and sharp for a lifetime.”
Al Young, California’s Poet Laureate Emeritus

25 - vibrant words coverAlso included are many Erica Goss poems, used to illustrate various poetry topics such as “place”, “ekphrastic”, “occasional”, “forms”, “food” and “imitation”. During the course of the show, listeners hear Erica read a number of her poems from the book, and discuss the related topics.

Erica Goss has been a guest once before on the Poetry Show, on August 5, 2012. She is the current Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, a position that provides many opportunities for literary education in the community. Erica is the host of Word to Word, a Show About Poetry, on KCAT Cable TV in Los Gatos. She also writes a column on video poetry called The Third Form.

Selected Readings & Recordings: Barber, Reid, Meschery, Hamill and more


Host Dennis Morton opened the May 18, 2014 Poetry Show by reminding listeners of the upcoming 21st Annual Santa Cruz County High School Poetry Competition Reading, and by reading four past winning poems written by students attending high school while incarcerated at the county Juvenile Hall, where Dennis conducts writing workshops.

Following in order in this week’s Poetry Show podcast:




  • A shout-out to this week’s Poetry Santa Cruz reading, featuring Martin Espada and Adela Najarro. Espada is a Brooklyn native, but has a Santa Cruz connection – he wrote a poem about a Santa Cruz event of 1877 – a not-so-glorious story from our local history.





Selected Readings: Stone, Tyler, Gale, National Poetry Month CD


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The Poetry Show for May 11, 2014 started off with host Dennis Morton reading a Mothers Day piece by Phoebe Stone – a remembrance of her mother, Ruth Stone. That bit of prose was followed by several poems by Ruth Stone herself.


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Next up was a CD titled The Knopf National Poetry Month collection (2007, Random House Audio), featuring poets reading their own work. Selections include poems by:

  • Jack Gilbert
  • Sharon Olds
  • Alexander McCall Smith


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In the second half of the show, we hear Dennis read several selections from a Meg Tyler chapbook titled Poor Earth (2014, Finishing Line Press).

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Rounding out this week’s Poetry Show are several selections from The Goldilocks Zone, by Kate Gale.


Doren Robbins, guest poet


04 - Doren RLocal poet and returning guest Doren Robbins joined host Dennis Morton on the Poetry Show for May 4, 2014. The occasion this time is the publication of a new chapbook titled Title to Pussy Riot. The chapbook will be a chapter in Robbins’ next book, as yet untitled.

04 - Amnesty Muse



Doren Robbins is currently an English/Creative Writing and Honors Instructor at Foothill College. His most recent published book is Amnesty Muse (2011). His last guest appearance on The Poetry Show was April 21, 2008, coinciding with the publication of My Piece of the Puzzle (2008).