Friday, November 30, 2007

And this week, too ...

Robert Morgan's interview about his biography of Daniel Boone is available as either stream or podcast at WPVM.

(Inertia of Thanksgiving and all ...)

This coming Sunday, former co-host Laura Hope-Gill joins Sebastian and me to talk once again about poetry - and about WordFest (parts of the site are still under construction), the poetry festival that will unfold in Asheville next April. I hope you'll join us.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Wordplay this week: Robert Morgan

A little over a week ago, poet and novelist Robert Morgan made a visit home, and gave a few readings while he was here. After his reading at Malaprops, we walked over to the station and talked about his new biography, Boone. The book takes as one of its tasks the liberation of Daniel Boone from the two century deep accretions of folklore and media-made myth which have come to surround him, and in our interview you'll hear that Morgan has indeed gone to work and pulled back as many veils as could be pulled from the image of the real woodsman.

Give it a listen; you're likely to learn some surprising things about this complex early American icon.

The program will be broadcast and carried on the station's live stream Tuesday at 6:00 PM and Wednesday morning at 7:00. It's also available as either a stream or podcast from the Archive page through next Sunday.


Thanks to Malaprops for the photo. Cross-posted at Wordplay.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Snyder: "It didn't occur to me to think I was powerless ..."

Missed this earlier this year; it's an interview with Gary Snyder from the Guardian. Michael March conducts it, and Snyder talks, among other things, about the relation of his early life to the sense of responsibility toward the social and ecological worlds that has informed his work. It includes this exchange:

MM: When did you realize that it was necessary to be concerned not just with yourself but with your neighborhood and the world as a whole?

GS: I grew up on a small farm with chickens and cows in the woodlands north of Seattle, during the depression. We were extremely poor, but my parents were educated, proud, and thoughtful; their thinking agnostic and socialist. My grandfather had been a speaker for the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World) which was strong in the Pacific north-west. My father did some union-organising on a big dam project, the Grand Coulee. This kind of family culture engaged us in discussions and critiques of current events. It was assumed that we would want to consider injustice and suffering in the world, and so we did. In my own work I extended that kind of thinking to include all of nature. It didn't occur to me to think I was powerless and it wouldn't make a difference.
Well worth the few moments it takes to read.


A tip of the hat to LitKicks.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wordplay: William Matthews

Sebastian had a trove of old cassette tapes of his father, William Matthews, reading his work, so I digitized them and made a selection for last Sunday's show; were Bill still living, it would have been his sixty-fifth birthday, so it seemed a more than appropriate moment to listen to his work.

Given the limits of our thirty minute format, we wound up favoring the more formal readings Bill made for his 1984 cassette collection Days Beyond Recall, just because that choice allowed us to include more poems. We closed the show, though, with two poems from a live reading Bill had given at The Poet's House in Ireland in 1992, complete with the "amiable banter" that provided settings of the poems for that audience.

I'd worked with Bill in the late 60s on the little magazine Lillabulero, and have though ever since that he was one of the most gifted of my contemporaries; it was great to hear his voice again, preserved on these thin charged strips of polyester film.

Give him a listen.


Cross-posted at the Wordplay blog.

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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

And a happy birthday to Jessica Smith

Today was Jessica Smith's birthday; she's now twenty eight. Through Sunday of this week she reads from her book Organic Furniture Cellar and talks about her work on the archived edition of Wordplay.

If all goes well over the next couple of days, this Sunday we'll be featuring another Scorpio poet, though one who worked very differently: William Matthews. If you're curious about what Bill was up to, much of his third book, Rising and Falling, is online. Sebastian had some CDs and older cassettes I've now digitized; all we have to do now is select what we want to play from the literal hours of recordings.

Not too far down the road ... well, let me just say for now that it's likely we'll be able to play somewhat more of the material we have available on any given Sunday, get deeper into our interviews, and give our poets more room to stretch out. But more on those changes when we get closer to introducing them.


Jessica's photo via Facebook.

Update: It was also the birthday of Albert Camus, so Jessica's in some interesting company.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Jessica Smith comes to WordPlay

Well, actually, Wordplay went to her. But in any event, this week Charlottesville poet Jessica Smith reads from her book Organic Furniture Cellar and talks about her work. Her poems have spatial as well as the usual temporal dimensions we associate with poetry, which most often remains, as Susan Howe put it in the title of her 1987 book, the articulation of sound forms in time. While there's no way to share the visual fields via the airwaves, you'll find, I think, that there's plenty left to catch your ears.

The program broadcasts (and streams) at 4:00 PM on Sunday, and then is available from the station's archive page as either a stream or a podcast through the following Sunday. [Update, 17 September, 2008: Here's a new link to Wordplay for November 4, 2008, featuring Jessica]

If you check the archive before Sunday, you'll hear Walt Whitman (yes), Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost, and Edgar Lee Masters on a special fall fundraiser edition of the show. The recordings were drawn from the collection Poetry on Record, produced in 2005 by Rebekah Presson Mosby, though I had to do some additional digital cleanup on the Whitman to make it listenable.

If you haven't dropped some coins into WPVM's bowl yet this fall, please do click on the "Donate" button on the station's homepage, or drop a check, whatever you can, into the mail to:

Mountain Area Information Network
34 Wall Street
Suite 407
Asheville, NC 28801

Just make your checks payable to WPVM.

You'll be supporting Wordplay and some other fine musical, news, and talk programming - real grassroots radio.

Update 11/5/2007: The version of Jessica's Wordplay that's available today begins with a couple of minutes of the show which precedes Wordplay, Pathways to the Sacred. Tonight a trimmed version of the show will go up on the internet server. The automation system's been slightly crazed.

And the fundraiser was a real success, but it's never too late to donate and support great radio.

Jessica's photo via Facebook.

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