Poets Cafe Sunday 6/10
Guest Host: Victoria Chang
Guest: Dean Rader
Guest host Victoria Chang talks with Dean Rader, editor of The Beacon Press book Bullets into Bells: Poets & Citizens Respond to Gun Violence, which focuses intensively on the crisis of gun violence in America and brings together poems by dozens of our best-known poets. For more info visit https://bulletsintobells.com/
Poet Dean Rader was raised in western Oklahoma. He earned a BA at Baylor University and an MA and a PhD in comparative literature at SUNY-Binghamton. His work engages themes of identity and sustainability, with attention to formal and global shifts. In a review of Works & Days for the Colorado Review, Eric Weinstein observes that Rader’s poetry “so often simultaneously attends to the reader's senses of emotional, rhetorical, and aesthetic urgency; his poems ask the difficult questions in accessible ways, ways rendered all the more effective via wry humor and an eye for the darkly poignant.” In a 2012 interview with Andrew David King for the Kenyon Review blog, Rader discusses how he blends fact and fiction in his self-portraits, noting, “Poems are part of the world, just as they are part of the poet’s world. Finding that sweet spot between the authentic and artistic and autobiographical is where much of the magic of poetry comes from.” Rader’s debut collection Works & Days (2010) was chosen for a T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize by Claudia Keelan. Rader is also the author of the scholarly work Engaged Resistance: American Indian Art, Literature, and Film from Alcatraz to the NMAI (2011), which was nominated for a Beatrice Medicine Award for Scholarship in American Indian Studies, and coauthor, with Jonathan Silverman, of the textbook The World Is a Text: Writing, Reading and Thinking About Visual and Popular Culture (2008, 4th edition, 2011). With poet Janice Gould, Rader coedited the anthology Speak To Me Words: Essays on Contemporary American Indian Poetry (2003). His own work was featured in the anthology Best American Poetry 2012. Rader has served on the poetry jury of the California Book Awards, and he ran the blog 99 Poems for the 99 Percent. His honors include a Writer’s League of Texas Poetry Prize, several Pushcart Prize nominations, a Sow’s Ear Reviewprize, and a Crab Creek Review poetry prize. Rader chairs the English Department at the University of San Francisco and has written columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Huffington Post. He lives in San Francisco.
Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. The Boss(McSweeney's) won a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molestaand Circle. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship in 2017. In 2018, she was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award for her manuscript-in-progress, OBIT. She lives in Los Angeles and teaches within Antioch’s MFA Program. You can find her at www.victoriachangpoet.com.
Margo Berdeshevsky, born in New York city, often writes and lives in Paris. Before The Drought, her newest collection, is from Glass Lyre Press, September 2017. (In an early version, it was finalist for the National Poetry Series.) Berdeshevsky is author as well of Between Soul & Stone, and But a Passage in Wilderness, (Sheep Meadow Press.) Her book of illustrated stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, received the first Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Award for Fiction Collective Two (University of Alabama Press.) Other honors include the Robert H. Winner Award from the Poetry Society of America, a portfolio of her poems in the Aeolian Harp Anthology #1 (Glass Lyre Press,) the & Now Anthology of the Best of Innovative Writing, and numerous Pushcart Prize nominations. Her works appear in the American journals: Poetry International, New Letters, Kenyon Review, Plume, The Collagist, Tupelo Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Southern Humanities Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, & Jacar Press—One, among many others. In Europe her works have been seen in The Poetry Review (UK) The Wolf, Europe, Siècle 21, & Confluences Poétiques. A multi genre novel, Vagrant, and a hybrid of poems, Square Black Key, wait at the gate. She had a first career as an actress in NYC, performing in world premieres of Harold Pinter, crying and dying on television, and touring Shakespeare. She may now be found reading from her books in London, Paris, New York City, or somewhere new in the world. Her Letters from Paris may be found in Poetry International, here: http://pionline.wordpress.com/category/letters-from-paris/ For more info kindly see: http://margoberdeshevsky.com
Yun grew up in rural southwest China and began writing poetry when she was 12. Her father was a political dissident who was brutally persecuted during the Cultural Revolution. He convinced her to become a scientist to escape political persecution. Wang majored in Physics at Tsinghua University when she was 16. She came to the U.S. for graduate school in Physics in 1985, and got a Ph.D. in Physics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1991. She was a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at University of Oklahoma from 2000 to 2017. She is currently a Senior Research Scientist at California Institute of Technology. She is the author of the cosmology graduate textbook, “Dark Energy” (Wiley-VCH, 2010). Her research focuses on exploring the nature of dark energy, the mysterious cause for the accelerated expansion of our universe. She was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2012.
Yun Wang is the author of two poetry books ("The Book of Totality", Salmon Poetry Press, 2015; and "The Book of Jade", Winner of the 15th Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize, Story Line Press, 2002), two poetry chapbooks ("Horse by the Mountain Stream", Word Palace Press, 2016; "The Carp", Bull Thistle Press, 1994), and a book of poetry translations ("Dreaming of Fallen Blossoms: Tune Poems of Su Dong-Po", White Pine Press, forthcoming 2019). Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals, including The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Cimarron Review, Salamander Magazine, Green Mountains Review, and International Quarterly. Her translations of classical Chinese poetry have been published in The Kenyon Review Online, Salamander Magazine, Poetry Canada Review, Willow Springs, Connotation Press, and elsewhere.
Douglas Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and a MFA from Butler University where he was the Managing Editor of Booth: A Journal. He is currently a Middleton and Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He has served as the Poetry Editor of Gold Line Press as well as was one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His work is featured on Poetry Foundation's website and has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Los Angeles Review, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. His first full length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press in the spring of 2017.
"In his breathtaking debut, Testify, Douglas Manuel charts the raw emotional complexities and the impossible daily reckonings that confront a young black man coming of age today in America. Faced at every turn with condescending, fixed assumptions about his 'proper' role in his community and culture, the speaker faces each indictment with a stunning and searing intelligence. Each powerful testimony in this collection stands as evidence of an eloquent and dramatic new voice in American poetry."
--David St. John
"In Douglas Manuel's Testify the act of witnessing is by turns burdensome and bittersweet, narrative and lyrical, ecstatic and irreverent. Here the holy words are the ones that offer no easy epiphanies yet grant us dazzling, off-kilter compassion and a strange, surprising grace. These potent poems testify to those ambivalent moments that might rend or right us, as when an interracial couple drive past a truck with a Confederate flag painted on its back windshield and from which a little boy turns to smile and wave: his 'blond hair // split down the middle like a Bible / left open to the Book of Psalms.'"
--Anna Journey, author of The Atheist Wore Goat Silk
A book of elegiac ambivalence, Testify's speaker often finds himself trapped between received binaries: black and white, ghetto and suburban, atheism and Catholicism. In many ways, this work is a Bildungsroman detailing the maturation of a black man raised in the crack-laden 1980s, with hip-hop, jazz, and blues as its soundtrack. Rendered with keen attention to the economic decline of the Midwest due to the departure of the automotive industry, this book portrays the speaker wrestling with his city's demise, family relationships, interracial love, and notions of black masculinity. Never letting anyone, including the speaker, off the hook, Testify refuses sentimentality and didacticism and dwells in a space of uncertainty, where meaning and identity are messy, complicated, and multivalent.
Aram Saroyan is an American poet, novelist, biographer, memoirist and playwright, who is especially known for his minimalist poetry, famous examples of which include the one-word poem "lighght" and a one-letter poem comprising a four-legged version of the letter "m". There has been a resurgence of interest in his work in the 21st century, evidenced by the publication in 2007 of several previous collections reissued together as Complete Minimal Poems.
Holly Prado is a poet from Nebraska. Her recent publications (2012) include poetry featured in the literary review Malpais Review and in Askew magazine; in Chiron Review (2014) and regularly on the poetry/art blog timestimes3.blogspot.com. She and her husband, Harry Northup, are founding members of Cahuenga Press, a poets publishing cooperative which has been publishing books of poetry since 1989.
Harry Northup has had ten books of poetry published, the last one being Where Bodies Again Recline (Cahuenga Press). He received his B.A. in English from C.S.U.N., where he studied Verse with Ann Stanford. Northup has made a living as an actor for thirty-four years, acting in thirty-seven films, including Taxi Driver (1976 Palme d’Or winner at Cannes), Over the Edge (starring role) & The Silence of the Lambs (1991 Oscar winner for Best Picture).
Marsha de la O’s latest book, Antidote for Night, won the 2015 Isabella Gardner Award and was published by BOA Editions. Her first book, Black Hope, was awarded the New Issues Press Poetry Prize. She has published extensively, including recent poems in The New Yorker and forthcoming poems in The Kenyon Review. De La O lives in Ventura, California, with her husband, poet and editor Phil Taggart. Together, they produce poetry readings and events in Ventura County and are also the new editors of the literary journal Spillway.
Lois P. Jones, host of Pacifica Radio's Poets' Cafe, interviews producer/director of LOVING VINCENT, Hugh Welchman. A year after the death of the artist, Vincent van Gogh, Postman Roulin gets his slacker son, Armand, to hand deliver the artist's final letter to his now late brother, Theo, to some worthy recipient after multiple failed postal delivery attempts. Although disdainful of this seemingly pointless chore, Armand travels to Auvers-sure-Oise where a purported close companion to Vincent, Dr. Gachet, lives. Having to wait until the doctor returns from business, Armand meets many of the people of that village who not only knew Vincent, but were apparently also models and inspirations for his art. In doing so, Armond becomes increasingly fascinated in the psyche and fate of Van Gogh as numerous suspicious details fail to add up. However, as Armond digs further, he comes to realize that Vincent's troubled life is as much a matter of interpretation as his paintings and there are no easy answers for a man whose work and tragedy would only be truly appreciated in the future.
Originally broadcast on KPFK 90.7 FM in Los Angeles on 12/25/2016. Features original surviving members Phil Proctor and David Ossman. Produced by Marlena Bond
A special tribute to Austin Straus hosted by Suzanne Lummis and includes guests Laurel Ann Bogen, Cecilia Woloch, Linda Albertano and KPFK's own Uncle Ruthie. Born in Brooklyn in 1939, Austin moved to Los Angeles in 1978, and immediately settled into an ongoing renaissance of poetry in Southern California. He was the founder and cohost of “The Poetry Connexion” on KPFK-FM from 1981 to 1996. His guests included many of the most prominent poets in Los Angeles.
His books of poetry include Laureate without a Country, Drunk with Light, and Intensifications. His late wife, the poet Wanda Coleman (1946-2013), and he collaborated on a sequence of poems celebrating their three decades of marriage, The Love Project: A Marriage Made in Poetry. His poems were reprinted in many anthologies, including “Poetry Loves Poetry,” Suzanne Lummis’sGrand Passion, Charles Harper Webb’s Stand Up Poetry, Steve Kowit’s The Maverick Poets, and Men in Our Time: An Anthology of Male Poetry in Contemporary America.
Austin considered himself to be primarily a book artist, and that work can be found in many collections, including Chapman College, Occidental College, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. However, his poems will also remain a steadfast part of the community of poets he joined almost forty years ago.
Boris Dralyuk is the Executive Editor of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is a literary translator and holds a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from UCLA, where he taught Russian literature for a number of years. He has also taught at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The New Yorker, London Review of Books, The Guardian, Granta, World Literature Today, The Yale Review, New England Review, Harvard Review, Jewish Quarterly, Poetry International, and other journals. He is the author of Western Crime Fiction Goes East: The Russian Pinkerton Craze 1907-1934 (Brill, 2012) and translator of several volumes from Russian and Polish, including, most recently, Isaac Babel’s Red Cavalry (Pushkin Press, 2015) and Odessa Stories (Pushkin Press, 2016). He is also the editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution (Pushkin Press, 2016), and co-editor, with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski, of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (Penguin Classics, 2015). His website is bdralyuk.wordpress.com