KUSP's Poetry Show

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.


11 - Knopf CD



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).

11 - Goldilocks Zone





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).

Black poets CD and Selected Readings


27 - Oursouls 300pxThe Poetry Show for April 27, 2014 combined live reading with selections from a 2-CD set titled Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the Rivers: Black Poets Read Their Work. The collection was edited by recent Poetry Show guest Rebekah Presson Mosby. The recordings in the collection often include illuminating introductory comments from the poets.

Poets selected from the collection include:

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Interspersed with the recordings of poets reading their own work, host Dennis Morton contributed readings of a number of poems by:

Juan Felipe Herrera, Guest Poet Laureate


20 - JFHThe Poetry Show for April 20, 2014 had a distinguished guest, current California poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera. Now in the second year of the two-year appointment, Herrera keeps a busy schedule traveling around the state, but found time last Friday afternoon to record an interview at the KUSP studio, and to read a few of his poems.

Author of more than 25 published works, Juan Felipe Herrera is also a proponent of and participant in live performance poetry, and has been a member of several music and poetry performance ensembles. He also contributed poetry to the PBS TV drama series American Family.

20 - S. KesslerPoetry Show host Dennis Morton was joined by a past host, Stephen Kessler,  who has known Juan Felipe Herrera for many years.  The three-way conversation covered a wide range of topics informed by Herrera’s life and 40+ years in the California Latino poetry scene. During his time as poet laureate, Herrera has initiated a number of projects designed to bring poetry into the lives of California residents, especially school children.


Christian McEwen and Kathryn Petruccelli, special guests


13 - C McEwenThe Poetry Show welcomed two guests to the studio on April 13, 2014. Christian McEwen is a teacher, essayist, poet, and author of a book titled World Enough and Time: On Creativity and Slowing Down (2011). Its central argument, as indicated by the subtitle, is that we all need to slow down in order to truly experience the world and release our innate creativity.


13 - WETcoverweb1-231x350As the publisher says:

“World Enough and Time focuses on the positive effect of deliberately simple living on creativity.”


Kathryn Petruccelli and Christian McEwen have recently joined forces in a project called “Literary Cadences” (subtitled “a revolution in real-time”), which aims to promote live readings and face-to-face interaction between authors and audiences.

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Christian also has a published poetry collection titled In the Wake of Home (2004). She read a number of selections from the book for the Poetry Show.

More History and Poetry, plus Selected Readings


The "sneer of cold command"?

Three weeks ago on the Poetry Show, host Dennis Morton had a conversation with history geek (and Poetry Show engineer) Carey Casey about some of the ways poetry and history intersect and sometimes connect. This week, that conversation continued with a couple more history-poetry stories. The first story explored the genesis of the well-known 19th-century poem Ozymandias, by Percey Shelley. An unusual combination of historical and personal factors informed and inspired Shelley’s creation.

Beginning the show’s second half, a second story looked at the history behind what is probably both the best-known and least-pondered American poem. Originally titled The Defence of Fort McHenry, we know the poem today as the lyrics to The Star Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key.

Tiger Heron cover

Following each of the history-poetry stories, Dennis read selections of recently-published poetry, including:

  • Selections from the issue #43 of Rattle, which has the theme “Love Poems”:
    • Black Tank Top, by Danielle DeTiberus
    • Hooters, by Jaqueline Holton
    • The Space Between, by Jill Jupen
    • Kissing as a Religion, by Susan Doble Kaluza
  • More selections (see also March 18) from Tiger Heron, by Robin Becker
    • Rescue Parable
    • Zenia, for Leslie Lawrence
    • Rescue Riddle
    • Her Lies
    • The Dog I Didn’t Want
    • The Middle Path


George Bilgere, guest poet


30_-_Bilgere_2Poet, educator and Poetry Show recidivist George Bilgere was the March 30, 2014 guest of host Dennis Morton. George was in town for a reading sponsored by Poetry Santa Cruz, and found time for a visit to the Poetry Show.

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George Bilgere’s latest poetry collection is titled Imperial, a title which he explains was taken from the name of the top-of-the-line Duncan yo-yo of the early 1960s – an object of desire for American pre-adolescent boys of that era. As the title implies, many of the poems were inspired by memories of childhood.

30 - Imperial yo-yoFrom the publisher:

“Imperial is a collection of poems, both serious and hilarious, ranging in subject matter from marriage, divorce, popular culture, to the pitfalls, perils, and predicaments of middle-aged, middle-class, mid-American suburban life.”

The most-recent of Bilgere’s previous five poetry collections was The White Museum (2010). In addition to poetry, Bilgere teaches English at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. Also, inspired (or so he claims) by the KUSP Poetry Show, George started his own radio poetry show in Cleveland, called Wordplay. The show broadcasts on the university radio station, WJCU (podcast archive here).

Podcasts of previous George Bilgere appearances on the Poetry Show (from the pre-blog archives) can be found on our Guest Poets page.


Michael Wolfe, guest poet-filmmaker-translator-educator



23 - 220px-MBW_on_the_water_(cropped)On the March 23, 2014 Poetry Show broadcast, host Dennis Morton welcomed guest Michael Wolfe, who has had a multifaceted career as publisher, translator, teacher/lecturer, documentary filmmaker – and poet. In addition to a discussion of today’s issues in the Muslim world, Michael shared some of his translations, some of his own poetry, and a bit about his own conversion to and experiences in Islam.

Michael Wolfe is perhaps best known as a documentary filmmaker. His film about the life of Muhammad, titled Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, was produced by PBS.

Michael Wolfe’s latest translation project is titled: Cut These Words Into My Stone: Ancient Greek Epitaphs. From Michael’s website:

23 - cut these words cover“Over a hundred tiny poems, some dating back to the dawn of Greek writing, collected in five historical sections with spare introductions that offer a context for these delicate, intimate bits of tombstone verse, one to a page with the Greek and the English, each summing up in a handful of words another ancient life. These epitaphs are anything but morbid: they form a vivid mosaic, tile by tile.”

Stories of History and Poetry



On this week’s Poetry Show, host Dennis Morton and history geek (also broadcast engineer) Carey Casey discuss the big pileup at the intersection of poetry and history. The two writing forms are sometimes seen as representing mutually exclusive ways of looking at the world.

Not so, says Carey. They are merely two different ways of telling a story. History has often inspired poetry, and poets are often called on to commemorate historical events. Poets often use historical events as a starting point for an exploration of larger questions, as in The Right Foot of Juan de Oñate, by Martín Espada.


Katrina's sundial



On the other hand, sometimes poetry has an interesting history. One example is the poem Time Is, by Henry van Dyke. The 1901 composition, which has become a standard for memorial services, is also known by the title For Katrina’s Sundial, which is a clue to its unusual story.

For the Poetry Show’s second segment, Dennis takes note of (and reads selections from) five new poetry books published by Pitt Poetry Series:

  • New and Selected Poems, by Barbara Hamby
  • The Old Woman, the Tulip and the Dog, by Alicia Ostriker
  • Tiger Heron, by Robin Becker
  • Bloom in Reverse, by Teresa Leo
  • Keeper, by Kasey Jueds


Rebekah Presson Mosby, special guest


09 - rpmosby-210-Rebekah_pressonOn the March 9, 2014 Poetry Show, host Dennis Morton welcomed special guest Rebekah Presson Mosby, a writer, audio anthologist and one of the preeminent producers of archival recordings of poets reading their work.

Regular Poetry Show listeners will be familiar with several of the anthology CDs produced by Ms. Mosby, beginning with In Their Own Voices: A Century of Recorded Poetry, released by Rhino Records in 1998. That project proved to be a commercial success, which led to…

30-Poetry on record


For this show, we hear a selection of cuts from Poetry on Record, including very early recordings (originally recorded onto wax cylinders!) of Walt Whitman and Alfred Lord Tennyson.

To hear more recordings from Poetry on Record, listen to the podcast of the Poetry Show from February 16, 2014.