Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Laureate's Radio Hour: A Catalog

Here's a catalog of the Laureat's Radio Hour Archive, Wordplay shows featuring N.C. Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers and her special guests:

February 21, 2010 Cathy launched the series by talking about the impact the laureateship had already had in her life, and discussing her intentions and hopes for the duration of her tenure - including featuring poets once a month on Wordplay. Musical cuts by Nina Simone and her daughter, Lisa Simone.

March 21, 2010 Cathy welcomed her former student Stephanie Biziewski to the show, and work-shopped a poem Stephanie had underway;

April 18, 2010 Cathy welcomed the very versatile Michael Beadle to the show, and he read texts that ranged in voice from the personal/lyrical, through the historical, to the performative.

May 29, 2010 This time around the devious laureate turned the tables on the host, and wrangled me into reading some of my own work, both poems from Natures and so far unpublished pieces I plan to include in a second book. Music by Pierre Bensusan, the Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and the Steve Kimock Band.

July 18, 2010 For this program, Cathy hosted poet Katherine Soniat, author of Alluvial, A Shared Life, Notes of Departure, and other titles, including the upcoming The Swing Girl, due next year from LSU Press.

August 22, 2010 Sebastian Matthews joined Cathy and me to share some of the work of his father, the poet William Matthews, and to treat us to some of his own new poems. Musical breaks by Charlie Mingus, Bill Evans, and McCoy Tyner, some of Bill's favorite jazz masters.

September 19, 2010 brought a couple of Wordplay veterans, Thomas Rain Crowe and Nan Watkins, back to AshevilleFM as guests of Poet Laureate Cathy Smith Bowers, for another of her Laureate's Radio Hours. Cathy particularly wanted to celebrate their translation of Yvan and Claire Goll's 10,000 Dawns on this outing, and Crowe and Watkins were happy to oblige. Music included tracks by Paris' Swing-Era guitar masters Oscar Aleman and Django Rinehardt, and composers Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy

Crowe, an old friend, has been a frequent character here at Natures. Program Notes for two of his appearances on Wordplay can be found here (noting his show this January) and here (celebrating his Rare Birds).

Notes on Watkins' previous appearances, both featuring her work translating the poetry of Yvan Goll, can be found here and here.


October 17, 2010 featured Western North Carolina poet Jeannette Cabanis-Brewin.

November 21, 2010 had Cathy interviewing Charlotte writer Jim McGavran about his lovely deeply-felt memoir In the Shadow of the Bear.

December 19, 2010 brought poet Susan Lefler to the studio for a preview of her upcoming book, Rendering the Bones, due soon from Wind Publications.

January 16, 2011 - Eastern NC poet/musician Jim Clark made the trek to the mountains to join Cathy and me in the studio for a celebration of his CD "The Service of Song." This lovely CD provides Clark's musical settings of poems by Appalachian poet Byron Herbert Reece, "the bard of the North Georgia mountains," who died in 1958 at age 40. We listened to several cuts from the disc, and some tracks, as well, from one of Jim's other CDs, "The Buried Land." You'll find links to some mp3s from both over at Clark's website.

February 13, 2011 - Our scheduled guest came down with the flu, so this Sunday found Cathy and me alone in the studio for what would prove to be our last show together. Since it was the day before Valentines Day, we talked, not about love poetry, but about poetry that we loved, poetry that had made us want to join the ranks of poets ourselves. You'll hear us read from the work of, and discuss, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Randall Jarrell, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Creeley, Sylvia Plath, and Gary Snyder, with musical interludes by The Beatles. John Coltrane, Leonard Cohen, and the Grateful Dead. It's quite the mix!


The Laureate's Hour "aired" on the Internet at 5:00 PM Sundays, via AshevilleFM, as part of the weekly show Wordplay. Wordplay continues to offer fun, informal, and informed discussions of poetry and creative prose with those who are becoming, or have become, masters of its making.

A special thanks to all our guests over the year the show was produced, apologies to poets whom we didn't get to shine a light on (to use one of Cathy's favorite phrases), and special thanks indeed to Cathy Smith Bowers, for a year of fine radio. I wish Cathy all the best as she continues to serve the people of North Carolina, with extraordinary dedication, as Poet Laureate.

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