KUSP's Poetry Show

Readings: Monterey Bay Area Poets

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————— Maude Meehan * Adrienne Rich * Tilly Washburn Shaw ————————————

In the first of a planned two-show effort, host Dennis Morton selected readings that show the breadth and depth of poetry writing talent around the Monterey Bay. The focus this week was historical and posthumous, spotlighting poets no longer with us. The show’s first segment featured female poets, including:

The second group of readings were drawn from deceased male Monterey Bay area poets, including:

KUSP Spring Fundraiser, New Rattle



Dennis Morton was joined by Joan Maro and Len Anderson to host the KUSP Spring Fundraiser edition of The Poetry Show. All of us here behind the microphones invite our listeners to join us in supporting community public radio on KUSP, and especially in supporting the country’s oldest radio poetry show. Pledge online! – and if you do, tell ‘em how much you enjoy The Poetry Show.

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This week’s show also featured some fine contemporary poetry, of course. Readings were drawn mainly from the latest issue of Rattle magazine (#51 – spring 2016). This issue features contributions from thirty-one feminist poets, and also has an open submissions section. Reading selections were taken from both sections, including:

  • Amy Uyematsu – Zumba Gold at 9 AM
  • Rasaq Malik Gbolahan – How My Mother Spends Her Nights
  • Julie Steiner – Women Only Write About Themselves
  • Jenny Qi – Dissonance
  • Roberta Beary – Five Haiku
  • Julie Marie Wade – I Would Rather Be Gay Than Straight Any Day
  • Juanita Brunk - On This Earth (not from Rattle)
  • James B. Nicola – Have You Ever Woken
  • Beth Gylys – Apron Strings
  • Leila Chatti – Morning

Readings and recordings: American poets anthology, Kowit, Adrienne Rich CD


Dennis Morton hosted the March 6, 2016 Poetry Show. In the first half, Dennis read a variety of poems selected from a not-so-recent but still valuable anthology titled: Fifteen Modern American Poets (George Elliott, ed.). It may be hard to find a copy of the hardback first edition: used copies of the later paperback edition are more common. For our Santa Cruz readers – think local and try Logos Books and Records first. If they don’t have it in their extensive poetry shelf stock, you can order it through them online.  Readings from the book included:

  • Theodore Roethke:  The Waking
  • Elizabeth Bishop: The Fish
  • Muriel Rukeyser: The Return
  • Howard Nemerov: Sonnet at Easter
  • Richard Eberhart: The Eclipse, Cold Fall
  • Josephine Miles
  • Winfield Townley Scott

In anticipation of tomorrow evening’s Steve Kowit tribute reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz, sponsored by Poetry Santa Cruz, Dennis read a couple of Kowit favorites.

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The show’s second half comprised recorded readings by Adrienne Rich of her own poetry, from a 2002 CD titled The Voice of the Poet: Adrienne Rich.  This series of boxed CDs with accompanying booklet (at least 17) was well done by Random House Audio. Most are out-of-publication, but available used. For what may be a complete list, see the Amazon page.

African-American poetry, Danusha Laméris


For the last Poetry Show of Black History Month 2016, local poet Danusha Laméris joined host Dennis Morton to read and discuss a wide range of selections from the rich heritage of African-American poetry. Danusha was recently a guest poet on the show to celebrate the publication of her new poetry collection, titled  The Moons of August  (Autumn House Press, 2014). She shared a few more poems from the new book, but the main focus this week was on other poets.

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Danusha and Dennis chose some of their favorite African-American poets and poems, including:

Catamaran Literary Review, issue #12, with guest Catherine Segurson


14_-_Cat_12_coverCatherine Segurson, frequent Poetry Show guest and founder of Catamaran Literary Reader, joined host Dennis Morton on the February 14 Poetry Show for a review of the latest issue. This is issue #12 for the quarterly publication, which brings together high-quality art and writing, including some very fine poetry. We’re fortunate to have such a quality arts publication originating here in Santa Cruz, and Catherine is the creative force responsible for the continuing excellence of Catamaran Literary Review.

February 14 is also Valentine’s Day, so Dennis and Catherine found a number of love poems to share with listeners, drawn from past issues, along with other selections from the current issue.

Zack Rogow is the poetry editor for Catamaran (and also a past Poetry Show guest). He and Catherine work together to find poets and poems that work harmoniously within each issue, often paired with complementary works of visual art. Poets contributing to this week’s Poetry Show included:

Readings for Black History Month


logo by Basecamp Creative (basecampcreative.com)

On the February 21 Poetry Show, host Dennis Morton presented readings of a selection of African-American poetry to commemorate Black History Month. In the first half-hour, Dennis read poems and brief biographies of the poets. Many of the poems can be found on the Poetry Foundation website, and included:

  • James Weldon Johnson - The Awakening
  • Robert Hayden - Those Winter Sundays
  • Rita Dove - Canary
  • Al Young - The Blues Don’t Change
  • Dudley Randall – The Ballad of Birmingham
  • Michael S. Harper - American History; Dear John, Dear Coltrane
  • Toi Derricote - Black Boys Play the Classics
  • Maya Angelou - Caged Bird
  • Harriet Mullin - Up From Slobbery
  • Natasha Tretheway - Entitlement

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In the show’s second half, we heard a number of recorded readings from a CD included with the book,  The 100 Best African-American Poems, edited by Nikki Giovanni (2010). The subtitle reads “(but I cheated)”, acknowledging the fact that the book actually contains more than 100 poems.


Kita Shantiris, guest poet


07_-_Kita_SPoet Kita Shantiris was the in-studio guest of host Dennis Morton on the Poetry Show for February 7, 2016. Ms. Shantiris will be reading for Poetry Santa Cruz this Tuesday, 7:30 PM, at Bookshop Santa Cruz, along with local poet Doren Robbins.

A psychologist who runs a non-profit mental health center, Kita Shantiris’  new poetry collection is titled What Snakes Want.

From her website:

07 - what_snakes_bwAdvance praise for What Snakes Want

“Something edgy and intense haunts Kita Shantiris’ poems, always threatening to flare up just outside their frames. Like a great auteur, she teases us with implication, with slow builds, the sneaky reveal, with what you can’t yet see. Or, she’ll give us a flash of aftermath, letting us glimpse “a tub of red water” where the violence has already taken place. Carefully orchestrating her pace, Shantiris lets things dawn on us, which contributes to the sense of delicious discovery one has in reading this collection. Wanderlust, an ode to coffee shops, an erotic poem set in a gaudy Laundromat, a child lying in bed hearing her abusive father come home…it’s all here, articulate, compressed, suspenseful. “It takes brandy to center me/glowing alone here.” The reader will likely find herself glowing along with these poems.”

—Amy Gerstler, author of National Book Critics Award winner Bitter Angel and other collections

“One could spend a lifetime with Kita’s new and powerfully personal book of poetry, What Snakes Want. The poems speak of a life replete with love, loss, pain, honesty, insight, longing, sensuality, and a deep unabashed unsentimental appreciation for the very gift of life itself. The poems are accessible yet abound with rich imagery, beautifully wrought observations of the natural world and of our very human behavior, and they do so with an intensity of feeling and care that ultimately resound with hope as they reach in and touch the soul.”

– Ed Harris, actor, screenwriter, director

Readings: Elkins, Shantiris, Manhattan Review, The Dark Horse, Evans, Harrison, Beckman-Rohrer


31 - blueYodelCoverSunday’s show featured a variety of readings by host Dennis Morton, plus recorded readings by a pair of American traveling poets. The show started off with several poems from Blue Yodel, a new collection by Ansel Elkins. Ms. Elkins, a native of Alabama,  is new to the Poetry Show reading catalog. One reviewer described her poetry as:  ”A gorgeous, midnight-hued homage to Southern Gothic tradition”.


Next, we heard several selections from Kita Shantiris‘ first full-length poetry collection, titled What Snakes Want. The readings served as a preview – Ms. Shantiris will be a guest next week on the Poetry Show, followed by a reading for Poetry Santa Cruz on Feb. 9.

Following were selections from the latest issue of Manhattan Review, continuing a survey of the new issue begun two weeks ago;  then a few selections from the latest issue of The Dark Horse (note that, as of this writing, information on the newest issue is not yet posted on the website).

Two poems were selected from Burnfort, Las Vegas, by Irish poet Martina Evans, a past Poetry Show guest. All past guest, with links to Podcasts of a appearances can be found at the alphabetical guest listing page. Several selections from a new collection titled Dead Man’s Float, by Jim Harrison concluded the host readings.

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The final ten minutes of this week’s Poetry Show were given to a CD of live, sometimes extemporaneous poetry composition and reading by travelers Joshua Beckman and Matthew Rohrer, titled Adventures While Preaching The Gospel of Beauty.

Danusha Lameris, guest poet


24_-_DanushaHost Joan Maro welcomed local poet Danusha Laméris to the KUSP air studio for an hour to read and discuss Danusha’s poetry, especially her recently-published first book – The Moons of August  (Autumn House Press, 2014). An introduction by Naomi Shihab Nye:

“Danusha Laméris writes with definitive, savoring power – in perfectly well-weighted lines and scenes.  Her poems strike deeply, balancing profound loss and new finding, employing a clear eye, a way of being richly alive with appetite and gusto, and a gift of distilling experience to find its shining core.  Don’t miss this stunning first book.”

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Danusha Laméris is no stranger on the Poetry Show. Her previous visit as a guest poet was June 25, 2012. In addition to writing poetry, she enjoys teaching. Visit her website to learn more, and to stay current.

Readings: Gioia, Young, Nurkse, Beaumont, Kunitz, Clifton, Bass, Snyder, Humes


17_-_CatamaranFor this week’s show, host Dennis Morton read works from a variety of poets, beginning with two whose work appears in the latest issue of the Catamaran Literary Reader: Dana Gioia and Al Young.


We hope to have Catherine Segurson, founder and editor of Catamaran, as a guest in the near future – to continue discussion of the new issue and the poetry therein. In the meantime, get your own copy of the latest issue before it sells out so you can read along and enjoy its selection of the visual arts that we can’t show on radio.


17_-_Manhattan_ReviewReadings continued with selections from poets featured in the Fall/Winter 2015-16 issue (Volume 17) of The Manhattan Review, including D. Nurkse and Jeanne Marie Beaumont.

In the show’s second half, a wonderfully serendipitous batch of readings were drawn from poetry collections contained in – as Dennis confided – “the box of books in the back seat of my car”. Included were works by Stanley Kunitz, Lucille Clifton, Ellen Bass, Gary Snyder, and Harry Humes.