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
DAVID FRANCIS spends part of each year back on his family’s farm in Australia. He is the author of The Great Inland Sea, published to acclaim in seven countries, and Stray Dog Winter, Book of the Year in The Advocate, winner of the American Library Association Barbara Gittings Prize for Literature and a LAMBDA Literary Award Finalist. He has taught creative writing at University of California, Los Angeles, Occidental College and in the Masters of Professional Writing program at University of Southern California. His short fiction and articles have appeared in publications including Harvard Review, The Sydney Morning Herald, Southern California Review, Best Australian Stories 2012 and 2014, Australian Love Stories, Los Angeles Times and The Rattling Wall. He is Vice President of PEN Center USA..
“Francis proves that this reckless landscape also has a darkly seductive pull . . . Domestic drama with an offbeat, rural flavor.” —Kirkus
“Compelling and honest, Wedding Bush Road is a masterful feat.” —Mary Rakow, author of This Is Why I Came
“Francis’s prose is urgent and at times breathless, packed with sense-rich descriptions. Poetic images swirl off the page . . . Wedding Bush Road envelopes us in a strange world where nothing can be taken for granted. This is a rich, beautifully textured novel, unforgettable in its setting and the people who live there.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
“David Francis writes with precision and sensitivity about that most complicated of subjects: Home. Amid unforgettable landscapes and characters that are both beautiful and violent, Wedding Bush Road grapples with discontent and restlessness. Francis turns a sharp but generous eye on those who won’t leave and those who can’t stay, reminding us that family can be the most dangerous place of all.” —Mark Sarvas, author of Harry, Revised
“Here’s an Australia so tactile that the page itself begins to feel textured. Francis ably tells a story of a man’s internal struggle as expressed through conflicts as rooted and primal as the soil. A dynamic and inviting read.” —Aimee Bender, author of The Color Master
“I have known David Francis and his work for a long time, and I think Wedding Bush Road is his best book yet!” —Jane Smiley
“With an eye for the transcendent detail, and a pitch perfect ear, David Francis gorgeously summons a farm in rural Australia. The wonderfully complex relationships among its inhabitants reflect nothing less than the tensions wrought by the country’s fractious history of colonialism. Who belongs to the land and to whom does the land belong? These are the uneasy questions raised by this searching, lovely novel.” —Marisa Silver, author of Mary Coin
“A psychologically acute tale of the decline of a patrician Australian family and the forces arrayed against them. Class, sex and land knit together in this compellingly modern take on a timeless struggle. Gorgeous, dangerous and utterly captivating.”
—Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
“Who hasn’t packed a bag and headed home? Wedding Bush Road is a beautiful, intelligent book about love, loss, and the unforgettable landscapes that made us who we are.” —David Ebershoff, author of The Danish Girl and The 19th Wife
“A rich and moving and resonant story about the debts we owe to the people and places of our past, with writing so evocative that it feels like burying your face in the Australian soil. David Francis has given us a masterpiece, a novel for anyone who’s ever left their hometown.” —Nathan Hill, author of The Nix
Thea Constantine sits down with her brother Brendan Constantine to discuss and read excerpts from her latest work, Stumptown. Thea was born in New York City to a family of actors and writers. She grew up in Hollywood and spent her youth in the clubs and streets of Los Angeles before finally settling in Portland Oregon. In between adventures, she has worked as an award winning performer, filmmaker, playwright, and giant shrimp. She is a certified facilitator in the AWA method and does weekly writers workshops with PDX Writers. Her short stories have been published in a number of journals, magazines and anthologies.
“You will come to care about this deeply flawed but charming cast of outsiders – like family.” ~ Lesann Berry, author of Passing Judgement, Alternate Endings, and Ambushing the Vigilante
"You’ve seen them darting from street corners and nightclub back alleys, the squatters and addicts, the underage strippers who’ve barely felt their first crush, the hustlers and millennial Cinderellas of the not always velvet underground aching for magic and surrogate connection. Thea Constantine is a Lou Reed for the Pacific Northwest, deep in the thrall of the characters she’s set in motion, and in her skillful and weirdly redeeming crosshatch of modern Portland’s days and nights, we may also see flashes of who we’re busiest avoiding: ourselves." – Alan Rifkin, author of Signal Hill and Burdens by Water
"It's been two weeks since I finished Thea Constantine's 'Stumptown,' and her characters are all still with me. We like being around each other. The place I live is not far from Portland, evidently." - Allan MacDonell, author of 'Prisoner of X' and 'Punk Elegies'
Host: Richard Modiano
Guests: S.A. Griffin, Henry Mortensen
THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF YES!
Poems by Scott Wannberg, Edited by S.A. Griffin
Scott Wannberg was a rare, generous, wise, hilarious, pure, beat, psychedelic, raw, tender, curious, sweetly subversive and truly honest man. His poems are exactly the same. Full of be-bop lyrical intensity, existential blues song wisdom, country song heartache and jagged fragments from never made John Ford movies, Scott's glorious, wild, unpredictable visions remain a constant source of truth, laughter and inspiration for me. —Dave Alvin
The Official Language of Yes!, a book of poetry by the late Scott Wannberg, was released by Perceval Press in 2015. Edited by Scott's close friend S.A. Griffin, the book contains mostly unpublished poetry, as well as drawings and handwritten notes: a celebration of a great artist, and a truly great person. Forward by Henry Mortensen, Introduction by S.A. Griffin, Preface by Viggo Mortensen.
Joseph Fasano is the author of three books of poetry: Vincent (Cider Press, 2015); Inheritance (2014), a James Laughlin Award nominee; and Fugue for Other Hands (2013), which won the Cider Press Review Book Award and was nominated by Linda Pastan for the Poets' Prize, "awarded annually for the best book of verse by a living American poet." His recent writing has appeared in The Yale Review, The Southern Review, Boston Review, The Times Literary Supplement, Measure, Field, Tin House, American Literary Review, American Poets Magazine, The Missouri Review, and RATTLE, which awarded him their RATTLE Poetry Prize for his poem "Mahler in New York." His work is included in the anthologies Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Any Occasion (Abrams, 2015) and The Aeolian Harp (Glass Lyre Press, 2016), and it can be found online from the Academy of American Poets' poem-a-day-program, Verse Daily, and the PEN Poetry Series. He teaches at Columbia University and Manhattanville College.
Poets Café welcomes West Hollywood City Poet Laureate Kim Dower hosting the first of a special two-part program recreating the April 2017 West Hollywood Library event: As Far As You Can See: Sunset Strip Through the Eyes of Poets. This first of two parts features poets Laurel Ann Bogen, Brendan Constantine and Yvonne Estrada. Listen to poems written about the Summer of Love, and what the music meant to us then and how it still permeates and informs our lives today. There’s Something Happening Here . . . tune in and join the conversation!
Editor-In-Chief Pam Uschuk discusses 358 page TRUTH TO POWER: WRITERS RESPOND TO THE RHETORIC OF HATE AND FEAR, featuring writing by 118 of America's top writers confronting social issues including racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, attacks on the natural world, police brutality, corporate and political greed, and advocating for human rights, the arts, people with various disabilities, national health care, and truth replacing public lies. All profits from this book go to the ACLU, Standing Rock Sioux Water Protectors, The Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood and Friends of The Earth.
Los Angeles's second Poet Laureate Luis Javier Rodriguez is also a novelist/memoirist/short story/children's book writer as well as a community & urban peace activist, mentor, healer, youth & arts advocate, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
He has 15 books in all genres, including the best-selling memoir, "Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A." His latest memoir is the sequel, "It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing." His latest poetry book is "Borrowed Bones" from Curbstone Books/Northwestern University Press. Luis is founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, now in its 28th year, and co-founder/president of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore in the San Fernando Valley. And he's co-convener of the Network for Revolutionary Change.
Luis is dedicated to a clean, balanced, abundant, cooperative, healing world. No more capitalist private property relations, exploitation, war, or inequities. "In essential things, unity; in nonessential things, liberty. In all things compassion."
"I met a fella named Luis Rodriguez, a writer and a poet, who had a ... cultural center in Los Angeles. These are people I've known and worked with for a long time. These are the people trying to fill the holes that should long ago have been filled by government. Those are the people who give me optimism. They're relentlessly hopeful, and they face it all on the front lines on a daily basis.”--Bruce Springsteen from Rolling Stone magazine, November 15, 2007