KUSP's Poetry Show

Charles Atkinson, guest poet


02-Atkinson_Charles_HeadshotLocal poet Charles Atkinson visited the KUSP Poetry Show on February 2, 2014, to introduce listeners to his new poetry collection, titled World News, Local Weather. Charles and Poetry Show host Dennis Morton discuss the new book, published by  Finishing Line Press.








Mr. Atkinson, a former lecturer in creative writing at UCSC, was a prizewinner in Finishing Line’s national chapbook contest last year. His previous collection, titled Fossil Honey, was published by Hummingbird Press.

Note: Due to technical problems, there is no podcast of last week’s Poetry Show. We apologize to our regular readers and listeners.

Selected Readings and Recordings: Murray, Hannon, Alben and more


17-nighthawksThe Poetry Show broadcast for January 19, 2014 was a mix of poetry read by host Dennis Morton, and by poets in their own voices via recordings.

In the show’s first half, Dennis read from:


17_AA_CliftonBrooksFor the second half, we hear poets reading their own work, from the CD collection Audio Archives, Vol. 1, published by the Academy of American Poets.


Wilma Marcus Chandler and friends, special guests


12-WilmaPoetry and drama share many characteristics, and host Dennis Morton explored some of those similarities with special guest Wilma Marcus Chandler and some friends, on the KUSP Poetry Show broadcast of January 12, 2014.

12-8 tens bookWilma is producer of the long-running play festival “8 Tens @ Eight“. This year’s edition is the 19th annual, and is at the Santa Cruz County Actors’ Theater from January 3, 2014 – January 26. That run will be followed by “Best of the Rest“, from January 30 – February 2.


Ms. Chandler was joined in the studio by several colleagues from 8 Tens @ Eight, including playwright Ian Mcrae,  actors Helene Simkin Jarra and Kip Allard, to read excerpts from several of this year’s plays, and also to share some favorite poems relating to drama.

Patricia Zylius, guest poet


05-860Zylius_Patricia_covFor the first Poetry Show of 2014, host Dennis Morton welcomed guest Patricia Zylius. Patricia is a local poet anticipating the publication of her first poetry chapbook, by Finishing Line Press, titled Once a Vibrant Field. The poems are a very personal collection grown out of living through the death of a loved one.

Patricia and Dennis read and discussed poems from Once a Vibrant Field and some other unpublished works.

Selected readings, live and recorded


29-rpmosby-210-exp-PoetryspeaksThe first half of the December 29 Poetry Show was given to recorded readings by poets in their own voices, from the three-CD set Poetry Speaks, compiled and edited by Rebecca Presson Mosby.


29-staying aliveIn the second half, host Dennis Morton read poems from a favorite anthology titled Staying Alive.

Gwynne Harries and Susannah Shimwell


22-litleic 2013prog 175For December 22, 2013, the KUSP Poetry Show assumed (for its first half) an international flavor (or flavour, if you prefer). Our UK connection is Gwynne Harries, Director of the Midlands Academy of Business and Technology in Leicester (for the benefit of unsuspecting Americans, it’s pronounced “Lester”). In honor of his contributions to the Poetry Show, we’ve added Gwynne’s name to the “Guest Poet Listing” page, to facilitate the search for his numerous past guest spots on the Poetry Show.

In addition to his duties as Director, Gwynne Harries is an avid poetry enthusiast. This week’s recorded conversation, with fellow PhD student, Cambridge resident and nascent poet Susannah Shimwell, took place during the 6th annual Literary Leicester Festival, an event hosted by the University of Leicester. Suzi reads and discusses four of her own poems plus a favorite poem by Philip Larkin.

22-book of formsGwynne and Dennis both give a shout out to Lewis Turco’s Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics. As the title implies, the book is a study of poetic forms, and is an indispensable reference work for aspiring poets and students of poetry.

For the second half of this week’s show, host Dennis Morton read some seasonal poems and selections from the latest issues of Poetry and Rattle, including poems by two past Poetry Show guests: Toi Derricotte and Tomas Q. Morin.


Selected Readings, Adrienne Rich CD


12-november2013-fullcoverIn the first half of the Poetry Show of December 15, 2013, host Dennis Morton read selections from the November 2013 issue of the venerable Poetry magazine. Special attention is given to the work of Philip B. Williams and Todd Boss, including one called Bravery, which you can read online.

15-ccR42Next up was the latest issue of Rattle (issue #42 – winter 2013) , one of the Poetry Show’s favorite magazines, which contributed several selections for your auditory consideration. According to the editors: “Rattle #42 is another entirely open free-for-all, and we’ve stuffed it to the whim”.


15-Adrienne CD


The second half of the show was given to a CD collection of readings by Adrienne Rich of her own work. The recordings were published in 2002 as part of the series Voice of the Poet.

David Swanger, Guest Poet


08-DavidSwangerDavid Swanger, second and current Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County, visited the Poetry Show on December 8, 2013. David’s two-year term ends with the year 2013, and he looks back with host Dennis Morton on his term as the county’s official poet.

Among his more public duties as poet laureate, David’s activities during the past two years included starting a volunteer poetry class at the Homeless Services Center. He shares his experiences, his poetry (some as yet unpublished) and his broadened perspective on homelessness and homeless persons.

Wayne's_College_of_Beauty_coverDavid Swanger has twice previously (at least) been a guest on the Poetry Show. Here are links to his visits in February 2012 (described in the blog) and November, 2009 (podcast only).  David’s published poetry includes Wayne’s College of Beauty (featured on the 2009 Poetry Show visit).

Debra Spencer, guest poet


Local poet Debra Spencer was the special guest of host Dennis Morton on the KUSP Poetry Show broadcast for December 1, 2013. Her second poetry collection, titled Gleams When Wet, will be published in a couple of weeks by Hummingbird Press.

01-SpencerCover288We haven’t yet seen the cover of Gleams When Wet, so we’ll show Debra’s first book, Pomegranate, published in 2004 by Hummingbird.

In addition to reading and discussing a substantial selection of poems from the new book, Debra tells the story behind the founding of Hummingbird Press. Begun as a collective effort by a group of local poets, Hummingbird now has twelve authors and Gleams When Wet  will be its twenty-first published book of poetry.

01-de la tour magdalen

Debra shares stories about some of the things that have inspired her poetry, including a painting by the French baroque artist George de la Tour,  titled Magdalene With the Smoking Flame.

Zara Raab, guest poet


24-raab-fracas-copy-182x300Northern California poet and writer Zara Raab was the guest of host Dennis Morton on the Poetry Show for November 24, 2013. Ms. Raab and Dennis read from and discussed her third and latest poetry collection, titled Fracas & Asylum.

“The language of Zara Raab’s Fracas & Asylum moves in a loose, jazzy relationship with meter, or syllabics, and rhyme. The content of this complex, fascinating book—which ranges from introspection and autobiography—or perhaps persona poems—through botany, painting, life deep in the sea or in the air—also plays sinuously against the world.  At one pole this is a poetry of wit and nuance, at the other, often where the poems slope suddenly off, begin to echo, Raab brings us into touch with brute fact, the actual.”

  -Richard Silberg, teacher, poet, The Horses and Deconstruction of the Blues

It’s been a little over two years since her last appearance on the Poetry Show, a visit which also corresponded with the publishing of a poetry collection, titled Swimming the Eel.

In addition to poetry, Zara Raab writes essays, book reviews and interviews with fellow poets. Links to all of these can be found on her website.