Poetry Santa Cruz, Jan. 2017 – Christopher Buckley, Gary Young

Poetry Santa Cruz Presenting Christopher Buckley and Gary Young Bookshop Santa Cruz

The first Poetry Santa Cruz reading event of 2017 was at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Readers were Christopher Buckley and Gary Young. A good-sized and appreciative audience braved the elements to attend. Now you can enjoy the podcast, safe and dry and warm.


Gary Young, guest poet (2010)


Happy 2017 to Poetry Show listeners everywhere. It’s not too soon to remind everyone to mark your calendars for this month’s very special Poetry Santa Cruz reading, Tuesday, January 10. Featured readers are Christopher Buckley and Gary Young.

garyyoungTo start getting us all in the mood, this post includes a recorded conversation from the Poetry Show archives, between Gary Young and host Dennis Morton (our apologies for the missing first few seconds). It was broadcast January 31, 2010, on KUSP-FM. The occasion was the beginning of Gary Young’s term as the first Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County.

Juan Felipe Herrera, guest poet (2014)


By request, we’re re-posting this podcast of a conversation which occurred in April, 2014. Poetry Show host Dennis Morton sat down in the KUSP production studio with Juan Felipe Herrera, then Poet Laureate of California. Beginning in 2015, he has been the United States Poet Laureate. Joining the conversation was Stephen Kessler, a former Poetry Show host and longtime friend of Juan Felipe Herrera.

Cervine, Estrin, Glick: PSC local poets reading



Poetry Santa Cruz staged its annual Local Poets Reading on December 13, 2016, at Felix Kulpa Gallery in Santa Cruz. A capacity audience warmly welcomed the three poets, whose disparate ages gave the reading a multi-generational flavor. Enjoy the podcast.

Dane Cervine, guest poet

Dane CervineThe upcoming Poetry Santa Cruz reading event will feature a trio of local poets: Dane Cervine, Robin Estrin, and Bert Glick. We’ll be there to record that event and podcast it here. In anticipation, host Dennis Morton sat down on Sunday for a conversation with Dane Cervine.




During the hour, Dane read from and discussed poems from his newest poetry collection, titled Kung Fu of the Dark Father.  From the publisher, Plain View Press:

“Kung Fu of the Dark Father presents not only the poet’s father, the author’s own enigmas, but also a veritable lineage of men confronting what Lorca describes as the duende in art and life—mythology’s insistence that one must enter the underworld before there is any hope of bearing light.”

Join us at Felix Kulpa Gallery, 107 Elm Street, Santa Cruz, to hear Dane, Robin, and Bert. It’s on Tuesday, December 13, starting at 7:30 pm.

Musical Poets: Dylan and Cohen


bob-dylanTwo recent events have highlighted the fact that some of the best English-language poetry of the past 50 years has been written by poets who were also musicians. Selection of Bob Dylan to receive the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature took many people by surprise, and generated a lot of both criticism and praise in the literature world.

A writer for the New York Times Review of Books chose an excerpt from the song Mr. Tamborine Man to demonstrate Dylan’s poetic prowess:

Though you might hear laughing, spinning, swinging madly across the sun
It’s not aimed at anyone
It’s just escaping on the run
And but for the sky there are no fences facing
And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time
It’s just a ragged clown behind
I wouldn’t pay it any mind
It’s just a shadow you’re seeing that he’s chasing.

The Nobel was not the first literary award Dylan (who changed his last name to honor Dylan Thomas) has received. Dylan’s online bio at The Poetry Foundation notes that:

In 2008 he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation for his “profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical composition of extraordinary poetic power.”

rs-leonard-cohen-24e35ee0-a201-4122-a346-9c596e9a61a3The recent passing of Leonard Cohen affords an opportunity to pay tribute to another of the finest contemporary English-language poet-musicians. Though far less well-known than Dylan, Cohen’s writing made him a giant among his peers, many of whom covered Cohen songs over the years.  Rolling Stone writes:

Cohen was the dark eminence among a small pantheon of extremely influential singer-songwriters to emerge in the Sixties and early Seventies. Only Bob Dylan exerted a more profound influence upon his generation, and perhaps only Paul Simon and fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell equaled him as a song poet.

Debra Spencer, guest poet (2013)


Last week, we promised to try to atone for our sin of failing to record Debra Spencer’s wonderful reading at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Here’s a small gesture in that direction – a reprise of Debra’s Poetry Show guest appearance on December 1, 2013.

On that Sunday evening, Debra sat down to converse with host Dennis Morton and, of course, to read poetry from her new book.

debra2cover288At that time, she was about two weeks away from publication of her first poetry collection, titled Gleams When Wet, from our local Hummingbird Press.

Maude Meehan Memorial reading, October 18, 2016

Maria Garcia Teutsch, Debra Spencer

Poetry Santa Cruz sponsored the 8th annual Maude Meehan Memorial reading, held at Bookshop Santa Cruz, on Tuesday, October 18. The two guest readers this year were fine local poets Maria Garcia Teutsch and Debra Spencer. Readings were, as customary, followed by a Q&A session, and some get-acquainted time.

The podcast accompanying this post is not, unfortunately, complete. The infamous “technical difficulties” reared their ugly heads, cutting off the recording after only two of Maria’s poems. We apologize to both poets and to our podcast audience.

To partly compensate, we’ll soon post past Poetry Show archive recordings featuring both Maria and Debra Spencer. Stay tuned…

Voices of the River – 2016

vofr-1As promised, here’s the podcast of the entire Voices of the River event, nearly two hours. Those of you who were there will notice an extra song in this recording. Robert wanted it to be played at the event, but we couldn’t come up with a portable CD player to plug into the sound system (!?). Anyway, we decided to “fix it in the mix” by inserting the song Gloria after Robert’s reading of his wonderful poem Love Has Made Grief Absurd.

Voices of the River Preview



Join Poetry Santa Cruz and The Poetry Show next Saturday, September 24, as we welcome Robert Sward as our new Poet Laureate. It will be a local-star-studded event, as can be seen from the lineup at right.

Most of these fine poets have been guests on The Poetry Show. Also, we posted a podcast of Robert Sward reading with Dana Gioia at a Poetry Santa Cruz event in July.

David Swanger and Robert Sward were both guests on a 2015 show, but today’s podcast is an earlier solo appearance by David, back 2013. Among other subjects of his conversation with host Dennis Morton, David discusses what it’s like to be Poet Laureate of Santa Cruz County. He was himself nearing the end of his term as County Poet Laureate at that time, and had some interesting first-hand experiences to relate.