KUSP's Poetry Show

David Sullivan, guest poet


SullivanLocal poet and educator David Sullivan has had a busy year. He recently returned from a one-year Fullbright teaching scholarship at Xi’an International Studies University in China. On the KUSP Poetry Show for August 31, 2014, David joined host Dennis Morton to read and share some as-yet-unpublished poetry inspired by his experiences there.



31 - terracotta warrior figures in Xi'an

David and his family had the opportunity to travel to some highly diverse regions of China, and many of the new poems attempt to capture personal impressions of those places. Xi’an itself is an ancient capital city in north-central China, home to the famous 2200+ year-old terracotta army found in the tomb of a Qin-dynasty emperor.

31 - Tibetan stupas



Outside of Xi’an, visits included the tropical rainforest of Hainan Island in the far south, the high plateau of Tibet with its three forms of burial (including the stupas in the photo to the right) and the far-western Xinjiang region, home to the Muslim Uygher people.



31 - baking yamsOther poems were inspired by Chinese sights and events unfamiliar to the typical American visitor. One recounts a list of “Things I’ve Seen Aboard a Bike in China”. Another goes inside the mind of a skillful “cutpurse”, while a third is a meditation on a simple baked yam served on a stick by a street vendor. Finally, there was a poem describing the feeling of disconnection upon returning to California after a year in China, truly another world.


Lisa Allen Ortiz, guest poet


24 - Ortiz_Lisa_Allen_HeadshotLocal poet Lisa Allen Ortiz joined host Catherine Segurson on the Poetry Show for August 24, 2014. Lisa has recently returned from a year in Peru, to share and discuss a new poetry chapbook published in her absence. Lisa’s poem The Beginner’s Guide to Birding appeared in the Winter 2014 issue of Catamaran Literary Reader, of which Catherine Segurson is founding editor.

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The new chapbook is titled Self Portrait as a Clock, and is published by Finishing Line Press. The self-imposed fourteen-line sonnet-style limit on the length of each poem imparts a sense of condensed and compressed meaning, and at the same time gives each short poem an equal place in the larger whole of the collection.


In addition to poems from the new chapbook, Lisa ended the show by sharing a new unpublished poem and a couple of favorite poems from other poets.

Vintage recordings of Frost, Stevens, Ransom, Moore, Eliot

17 - Robert Frost

Robert Frost

Poetry Show host Dennis Morton recently rediscovered a collection of vintage recordings of American poets reading their own work. Titled An Album of Modern Poetry: An Anthology Read by the Poets, the collection includes many of the best-known American poets of the 20th-century. On the August 17, 2014 Poetry Show, on side one of LP one, we heard the voices of Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens, John Crowe Ransom, Marianne Moore and T. S. Eliot.

17 - Wallace Stevens

Wallace Stevens





The 2-LP set was produced by the Library of Congress in 1959 ($26.85 on 2 cassettes or 2 LP’s). Anthologist Oscar Williams recorded introductions to each of the poets on the LP, and the LP packaging includes a booklet with introductory material and printed versions of the poems.


From the LOC website:

Edited by Oscar Williams. An Anthology of Modern Poetry brings together 46 poets reading a total of 78 poems. The poets represented are:

Robert Frost
Wallace Stevens
John Crowe Ransom
Marianne Moore
T.S. Eliot
Ediwn Muir
William Carlos Williams
Robinson Jeffers
Edna St. Vincent Millary
Robert Graves
Conrad Aiken
Archibaled MacLeish
Henry Reed
Muriel Rukeyster
Allen Tate
Oscar Williams
W.H. Auden
Theodore Spencer
Richard Eberthart
Stephen Spender
Ogden Nash
Merill Moore
William Empson
Gene Derwood
George Barker
Vernon Watkins
Roy Fuller
Edgar Lee Masters
Louise Bogan
Stanley Kunitz
Lonie Adams
Robert Lowell
Theodore Roethke
Delmore Schwartz
Jean Garrigue
Richard Wilbur
e.e. cummings
W.R. Rodgers
Edwin Denby
Edwin Honig
Howard Nemerov
Ruth Herschberger
Joseph Bennett
Ted Hughes
John Thompson, Jr.
W.S. Merwin

Favorite Poem Project 2014



This year’s Favorite Poem Project reading is on Tuesday, 7:30 PM August 12 at Bookshop Santa Cruz – sponsored by Poetry Santa Cruz. The August 10 episode of the KUSP Poetry Show was a lead-in to that event. Host Dennis Morton was joined in-studio by David Kaun and Carey Casey. All three shared favorite poems and stories explaining why those particular poems are favorites.

David Sullivan, guest poet


SullivanLocal poet and educator David Sullivan has just returned from a one-year Fullbright teaching professorship in China, and joined host Dennis Morton on the KUSP Poetry Show for August 3, 2014. While in China, David began a collaborative project to collect, translate and publish a new anthology of contemporary Chinese poetry. In the second half of the show, he read and discussed a number of poems selected for the upcoming anthology.

03 - AdnanAl-SayeghBombsHavenotBreakfastedYet




In the first half of this week’s Poetry Show, David shared another poetry-translation-anthology project – his latest, which is similar yet very different from the upcoming Chinese collection. Titled Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet, it is a collection of works by ex-patriot Iraqi poet Adnan al-Sayegh. Starting with word-for-word Arabic-English translations, David was asked to help render the poems into “poetic English”. The resulting book format juxtaposes each poem in the original Arabic text with its English translation on the facing page. The book was published by the Iraqi Cultural Center in London.


David Sullivan is himself a published poet, and was last a Poetry Show guest on July 9, 2012. At that time he shared a book of poetry by himself and others, titled Every Seed of the Pomegranate. That collection of poems about the Iraq War led to the Adnan al-Sayegh project. After an eventful year in China, David now returns to his duties as an instructor at Cabrillo College and editor of the Porter Gulch Review.

Beverly Burch, guest poet


27 - HowAMirageWorks-coverBay area poet Beverly Burch was a special guest on the KUSP Poetry Show for July 27, 2014. Ms. Burch and host Catherine Segurson read from and discussed the new poetry collection titled How a Mirage Works, published by 16 Rivers Press. It’s the second published collection by Beverly Burch, following Sweet to Burn (2004). She is a member of a “san francisco bay area poets’ workshop” called 13 Ways.

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Regarding How a Mirage Works, one reviewer says:

“a powerful collection of poems…. and the poems stay alive long after they have been read. A poet’s voice as richly nuanced as hers is a rare and always welcome thing.” - Thomas Ogden, author of The Parts Left Out: A Novel

A significant event this week on the Poetry Show is the first solo hosting appearance by Catherine Segurson, founding editor of Catamaran Literary Reader. Catherine has been a guest on a number of previous shows, most recently on June 30, 2014, and we look forward to many more appearances as host. In its short lifetime, Catamaran has already become an important local publisher of poetry, along with other literary and visual art forms. A poem by Beverly Burch, titled First, the Breaking, appeared in the Winter 2014 issue.

Selected Readings: Santa Cruz in poetry, more from “Deep Like the River” CD

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Just before sunset on West Cliff Drive

The Poetry Show of July 20, 2014 paid tribute to its home town of Santa Cruz, California, as host Dennis Morton read a selection of poems about or inspired by Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay. Not coincidentally, most of the poets are or have been Santa Cruz residents, including:

20 - Our Souls CDThe show’s second half featured selections from a 2-CD set titled Our Souls Have Grown Deep Like the River: Black Poets Read Their Work. The producer and editor of this collection is recent Poetry Show guest Rebeka Presson Mosby.From disk 2, we heard these six tracks:

  • 1. Muhammad Ali At The Ringside, 1985 – Wole Soyinka
  • 3. The Idea Of Ancestry – Etheridge Knight
  • 4. Bang, Bang Outishly – Amiri Baraka
  • 5. Rhythim Blues – Amiri Baraka
  • 6. Shazam Doowah – Amiri Baraka
  • 7. The End Of Civilization As We Know It – Colleen J. McElroy

Dane Cervine and Gabe Kittle, father-son guest poets


Dane Cervine-150wiLocal poet and past Poetry Show guest Dane Cervine returned for the July 13, 2014 show, joined this time by his son and fellow poet Gabe Kittle. The father-son guest pairing was a first for the Poetry Show. The interview with Dane and Gabe also revealed a surprising number of connections (or maybe not so surprising – this is Santa Cruz) with past Poetry Show guests.

Gabe just finished his freshman year at Emerson College in Boston, and is back in Santa Cruz for the summer. One of his activities in Boston has been “poetry busking” – a style of extemporaneous poetry-on-request composition performed in public places on an old black Royal typewriter. Gabe was inspired by meeting poet Kevin Devaney in Santa Cruz. Kevin is another past Poetry Show guest who can often be found on Pacific Avenue with his typewriter. While in Santa Cruz, Gabe is working at the Art Bar & Cafe, Kevin Devaney’s “philanthro-pub” at the Tannery Arts Center.

13_-_Gabe_KittleGabe has a video presence on the web, including a poetry video titled I Write Because I Must on YouTube. In yet another Poetry Show connection, past guest and Los Gatos poet laureate Erica Goss interviewed Gabe for her Connotation Press column.

Gabe has also self-published two poetry chapbooks, and shared some poems with the Poetry Show audience. He can be heard frequently at the weekly Monday poetry open mic at the Art Bar. Gabe and Dane shared a few poems from a recent Monday Art Bar joint-reading, among others.

For those willing to brave the Poetry Show blog archives, Dane Cervine was last a Poetry Show guest on April 7, 2013.


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.