KUSP's Poetry Show

Readings: Robin Robertson, Elizabeth Burns, The Dark Horse, Knopf Poetry Month CD


15 - HorseAnniversaryCoverThe Poetry Show for November 15, 2105 featured a selection of readings. In the first half-hour, host Dennis Morton was the reader, selecting poems  from Scotland:

  • Sailing the Forest, by Robin Robertson, (Farrar, Straus and Giroud – 2015). This volume is a collection selected from Robertson’s previous books. Other poems from this book were shared with Poetry Show listeners on September 27.
  • Elizabeth Burns – several selections
  • The Dark Horse, “Scotland’s Transatlantic Poetry Magazine”, 20th anniversary issue.


15 - Knopf CD



In the second half-hour, we heard recorded poems read by the poets and others, from a 2007 CD titled The Knopf National Poetry Month Collection. Poets heard included:  David Young, Gerard Manley Hopkins (read by Joan Didion), Sarah Arvio, Jane Mayhall (read by Deborah Garrison) , Kevin Young, J. D. McClatchy, James Merrill, Marge Pearcy, Kenneth Koch (read by Mark Strand), Franz Wright.

Readings: Simic, Robertson, Lochhead


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Host Dennis Morton was joined by Joan Maro for an hour of selected readings on the Poetry Show broadcast for September 27, 2015. Selections came from several books, including:


Readings: Morton Marcus


08 - ReadingPostcard_2015The Poetry Show for November 8, 2015 was a preview of the 6th annual Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading. This year’s event is scheduled for this coming Thursday, November 12. California Poet Laureate Emeritus Al Young is this year’s featured reader.

Morton Marcus was a long-time host of the Poetry Show, and for the last years of that term co-hosted with current host Dennis Morton. Dennis selected a number of Mort’s poems to read, from four of his books:

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In addition to the books of poetry, special mention goes to Striking Through the Masks: A Literary Memoir, by Morton Marcus (Capitola Book Company, 2008). Additional readings for this week’s Poetry Show were selected from several poets closely associated with Marcus, including George Hitchcock, Al Young, August Kleinzahler, and Lewis Turco.


Lisa Ortiz: guest poet


Lisa OrtizLocal poet and translator Lisa Ortiz joined host Dennis Morton in the studio for the Poetry Show of November 1, 2015. Lisa has several times been a guest on the show, in a variety of contexts.

Blanca Varela

Lisa’s latest endeavor is the translation of Spanish-language poetry by Peruvian poet Blanca Varela, who died in 2009. Lisa shared some of her translations, along with some illuminating thoughts on the challenges facing all poetry translators.


GayAnticipating one of Dennis’ standard questions for guest poets: “What poet(s) have you recently discovered?”, Lisa introduced the Poetry Show audience to Vermont poet Ross Gay, whose latest poetry collection is titled Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.  Lisa and Dennis agreed to collaborate on getting Ross Gay to Santa Cruz in future.



Readings from “This Art: Poems About Poetry”, and much more


25 - This ArtHost Dennis Morton delivered “a potpourri of poetry” to Poetry Show listeners on October 25, 2015. The first selection of readings was drawn from an anthology titled This Art: Poems About Poetry (2003, Copper Canyon Press, edited by Michael Wiegers). We hear poems by Hayden Carruth, David Budbill, Jim Harrison,  Anna Swir, Richard Jones, Ruth Stone, Sam Hamill, Pablo Neruda and Jaan Kaplinski.

Another batch of selections came from Dennis’ personal collection of poems downloaded from online sources. Beginning at the alphabetized beginning of that collection, we hear some poems whose titles begin with the letter “A”. Poets include Doren Robbins, Michael S. Harper, Harryette Mullin, Russell Edson, Ruth Stone, David Hernandez, George Bilgere and Robinson Jeffers.

The show continued with a recording of James Baldwin reading his own work, from a CD (first heard two weeks ago) called “Live at Duff’s”. Returning to Dennis’ personal collection of downloaded poems, the show finished up with poems by Theodore Roethke, Natasha Sajé and Lola Haskins.

Guest poets: Rebecca Foust, Roy Mash


The Poetry Show brought a pair of talented poets into the studio on Sunday evening, October 18, 2015. Host Dennis Morton welcomed Rebecca Foust, a returning past guest, along with first-timer Roy Mash. Both poets have new books out, which naturally led to an absorbing hour of reading and discussion.

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Ms. Foust’s book is titled Paradise Drive, and is constructed as a narrative sequence of sonnets featuring a recurring female hero whose name – Pilgrim – identifies her as “a person who journeys to a sacred place”.

on-the-wane, children grown and gone.
Who, voice-trained from birth in desire,
wakes one morning wanting—nothing—
in the way of things. Wanting some not-thing
not quite not-seen. Her dreams
—Macy’s-parade-balloon-sized dreams—
now lie, a tangle of downed silk and line.
Waist-deep in bright ruin, she labors to sing,
wondering if wanting is, after all, all
there is. Somewhere far away old ice recedes;
somewhere new wars combust. Here, rain is rare
and Pilgrim sings her scales to the dust.
House of no children, guest room of no guest;
no god or guide, a broken song. Her quest.


18 - Buyer's Remorse


Roy Mash is a long time board member of  Marin Poetry Center, and the holder of degrees in English, Philosophy, and Computer Science.  Buyer’s Remorse is his first published volume, and the book’s often-humorous poetry has been described as “…a celebration of the small, the overlooked, the underrated. Doggedly anti-lofty, reveling in the This-Worldly, these poems caper around the themes of the body, mathematics and rationality, adolescence and middle-age, love and fear and death. The tone ranges from the irreverent to the wistful.”

Selected Readings, River Styx recordings


10 - Another AmericaThe Poetry Show of October 11, 2015 featured readings by host Dennis Morton, and recorded readings by poets in their own voices. In the show’s first half, we heard Dennis read selections from:


In the second half-hour, we heard selections from a CD that accompanied the River Styx 25th Anniversary edition. It’s a collection of recordings of a variety of top-notch poets reading their own work, at a monthly reading event sponsored by the magazine. From the magazine’s website:

River Styx began in the early 1970s when a group of poets and musicians began reading and jamming together in various St. Louis apartments. The first issue of River Styx Magazine, printed on a lithographic press and hand-collated, hit the streets a few years later in 1975. Both the magazine and the readings were characterized by energy, accessibility, humor, wit, and a spirit of inclusiveness. In the 37 years that followed, the readings took place each month at Duff’s Restaurant in St. Louis.


Tom Crawford and a new Catamaran


Tom-Cath compositeHost Dennis Morton welcomed two guests to the Poetry Show on October 4, 2015. One was poet Tom Crawford, who came to read from and discuss his new book, titled Caging the Robin. The other guest was Catherine Segurson, creator and editor of a true Santa Cruz treasure –  Catamaran Literary Reader.

04 - Caging the Robin cover



As you might guess from the book title, Tom Crawford has a special interest in birds, the subject of many of his poems. One of Tom’s poems can be found in the newest issue of Catamaran (the third time for Tom), which provided the connecting link for Tom and Catherine’s joint visit to the show.


04 - CAT11 cover



The Fall 2015 issue of Catamaran Literary Reader contains, in addition to Tom’s poem Care Dog, a wealth of art and literature that has to be seen to be appreciated. Every time a new quarterly issue appears, we endeavor to get Catherine Segurson on the show to tell us about it. This is now the eleventh issue, and we hope to keep seeing them for years to come. Get out to your favorite local independent bookstore and pick up a copy.

From Tom’s website, here’s one of the poems he read on the Poetry Show (which also appeared in a past issue of Catamaran):


My heart I had to approach
with wheelbarrow and pick,
and the impossible task
of believing in what I could not see.
So, when the Yellow-bellied Chat
showed up in a line,
up-side-down, hanging
on the grape arbor
for the fat, black grapes
in my backyard I knew
my old hands out ahead of me
were on to something more
than hope, that every poem,
if you kept at it, could be a bird
coming into view, but also
waves or, if you like,
particles, thanks to those waffling
physicists who can’t agree
on what’s real. But I already knew,
young, I could choose, if unhappy
(because we do need solace),
my very own god.

Marc Zegans, guest poet – part 3


20 - Marc Zegans cropPoet, spoken-word artist and creative development advisor Marc Zegans joined host Dennis Morton for the third time this year. Marc’s first visit was on June 28, and featured a discussion of spoken-word poetry and a book-with-CD anthology titled Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation. The main subject of visit number two, on July 26, was the second volume of that collection, titled Spoken Word Revolution Redux.


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To borrow an old movie promo tagline: this time it’s personal. Publication is imminent for a collection of Marc’s own poetry, to be titled The Underwater Typewriter. Marc and Dennis read and discussed a number of poems from the new book, along with a number of other topics.

With Marc’s kind permission, here’s another poem from The Underwater Typewriter :


Will you bring me the gift of luck
tonight, my love? Or press in my hand
a wrinkled cardboard icon, corners
frayed, el paraguas, for the rain

or perhaps the sun,  if luck
should shine from your heart
mi corazon, the luck I miss
between strands of your golden hair?

Will you give me the gift of luck
tonight, my love, la botella
pouring Chilean Malbec
into your hand-heated glass

la estrella bearing your name
close by the belt of Orion
as you sit upon my denim couch
in my cottage in Santa Cruz?

Will you give me the gift of love
tonight, my luck, sure in your smile?
Or will you hand me la pera
on a note riddled with despair

because you have waited too long
in the hand of a criminal
la mano, who bleeds your passion
leaving your face pale and wounded?

Will I give you la luna
the gift of lovers, blood orange
rising over the eastern bay
on this sandy cloud burned night

lightly covering your eyes
with la corona, the hat of kings
as you drift quiet into dreams
or will I simply watch you sleep

at a distance, through eye of mind
as I walk the beach reading poems
of love to your sleeping heart?
You, la rosa,  I want you, come.

Then we will make our lottery
you and me, luck of our casting
cards of our making, unfolding
our joyous riddles with delight.

Tilly Shaw – Tribute, Part 2


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This week’s Poetry Show was the second of two hours devoted to the memory of Santa Cruz educator, scholar and poet Tilly Washburn Shaw, who recently passed on at age eighty-four. Tillie was a long-time UCSC faculty member, and a board member of Poetry Santa Cruz.

Last week, in part one of the tribute, host Dennis Morton was joined in-studio by a distinguished group of Tilly’s local friends and fellow poets, including: Rosie King, Joan Zimmerman, Ken Weisner, Barbara Bloom,  Len Anderson, David Sullivan and Audrey Stanley. The seven took turns reading and discussing poems from Tillie’s collection titled Swimming Closer to Shore (2002).

Host this time was Joan Maro, in her first appearance as solo host, and a fellow Poetry Santa Cruz board member with Tilly and Dennis. Joanie was joined in-studio by five more of Tilly’s friends and fellow poets: Chuck Atkinson, Robert Sward, David Swanger, Farnaz Fatemi and Lisa Ortiz.

This week’s show featured readings from Tilly Shaw’s new, second poetry collection, soon to be published posthumously by Hummingbird Press and titled Hanging Out in the Ordinary. We’ll keep Poetry Show listeners posted as publication events are scheduled.