Farewell KUSP, Hello Future

KUSPEven though we’ve been expecting it, the end of KUSP-FM was a punch in the gut for us at The Poetry Show. There will be a period of mourning among longtime KUSP veterans. An excerpt from the press release can be found at the bottom of this post.

Having said that, there’s no way to go but forward. We’re committed to continuing The Poetry Show here, with new guests and recorded local readings. We have our podcast archive going back to May, 2007, which will soon be accessible here (no podcast re-post this week).

The KUSP website is now shut down, as well, so there’s an update to this website: the indispensable Internet Archive “Wayback Machine” has a number of “snapshot” copies of the KUSP website, so the link at the top of this page labeled “KUSP’s Poetry Show (archived)” will take you to the KUSP blog pages archived on that site. Be aware that, because of the way the archiving process works, it’s not as easy to search for a particular blog post and/or podcast.

Local Independent Public Radio Station Contemplates Options

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – July 31, 2016 – Local independent public radio station KUSP 88.9fm | kusp.org will sign off at midnight tonight, ending nearly 45 years of distinguished on-air public service in the greater Monterey Bay Area and more than 20 years online.

The move is in response to the station’s current financial situation: monthly expenses exceed monthly revenues and the Board has been unable to secure bridge funds necessary to support a new music discovery format as KUSP transitions away from being a National Public Radio (NPR) member station.
“This decision reflects the reality of the station’s financial situation; we simply cannot afford to broadcast any longer,” said Board President Matt Farrell. The Board will continue to search for a buyer and is evaluating remaining options in light of financial issues facing the station.

Kevin Devaney at the MAH

Kevin Devaney and his faithful typewriter “Anklebiter”, photo by Farouk Algosaibi

Local poet and poetry promoter Kevin Devaney will be an artist-in-residence at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History from July 26 to August 22, 2016. There’s a Q&A with museum staff on the MAH website, including descriptions of poetry-related events and a link to Kevin’s museum schedule. One highlight will be a marathon reading of Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” on Friday, August 5, starting at 5:00pm.

Kevin was a KUSP Poetry Show guest back in 2013, and has been working hard ever since to promote the spoken word in Santa Cruz. The Poetry Santa Cruz monthly events calendar will keep you current on all the things he’s involved in.

Stay tuned for another Poetry Show conversation with Kevin. Until then, we’re reposting the 2013 podcast here.


Lisa Allen Ortiz has a new book

Guide-to-the-exhibit-2016-cover-tiltedOne of our favorite Monterey Bay area poets, Lisa Allen Ortiz, has a new poetry collection, titled Guide to the Exhibit. The book is the 2016 winner of the Perugia Press Prize, so congratulations to Lisa!

Until our next opportunity to talk to Lisa in person, we’re re-posting the podcast from her last guest appearance on The Poetry Show. To use the links, go to the original post at KUSP (yes, it’s still there – don’t give up). Here’s a picture of the blog post:

KUSP s Poetry Show » Blog Archive » Lisa Ortiz guest poet

Poetry Santa Cruz reading: Dana Gioia, Robert Sward

Gioia-Sward horiz comp 600px
Both kinds of poets: Dana Gioia (cat) and Robert Sward (dog)

A standing-room-only crowd at Bookshop Santa Cruz enjoyed the poetry of Dana Gioia and Robert Sward, featured readers for the July 14, 2016 Poetry Santa Cruz event.

Gioia-Sward at BSC (crop)
After the reading: Dana Gioia and Robert Sward

Longtime Santa Cruz resident and poetry luminary Robert Sward began the evening with a special treat – an unpublished work. He read a long piece from his newest book, to be titled Love Has Made Grief Absurd.

Robert was followed by Dana Gioia, recently installed as Poet Laureate of California. His stated goal is to stage a poetry event in each of the state’s 58 counties during his two-year tenure. The large and appreciative audience was happy to help him check Santa Cruz off his list in style. Most stayed around for a Q&A session with the poets after the readings (included in the podcast).

Dana Gioia reading preview

Hard to believe, but it’s been almost four years since The Poetry Show last conversed with Dana Gioia. He’s back, this time as the Poet Laureate of California, and will be reading at Tuesday evening’s Poetry Santa Cruz event (7:30 at Bookshop Santa Cruz). Dana Gioia will be joined by Robert Sward as the evening’s featured readers.

To whet your appetite, we’re re-posting the podcast from 2012, along with the following screen shot of the accompanying blog post:


Poetry Santa Cruz reading – William Minor, Kim Dower

The monthly Poetry Santa Cruz reading was on June 14, at Bookshop Santa Cruz. The two featured readers were William Minor and Kim Dower.

The art of William Minor is expressed in many ways: writer, musician and visual artist are just a few. His latest book is The Inherited Heart: An American Memoir.


Last_TrainKim Dower is just finishing a tour for her latest volume of poetry, Last Train to the Missing Planet. The last train stopped here in Santa Cruz for Kim’s last reading of the tour.

Earlier in the day, Kim sat down for a conversation with Dennis Morton, host of The Poetry Show – listen to the podcast here.

Kim Dower, guest poet


On the afternoon of June 14, 2016, Los Angeles-based poet Kim Dower sat down for a conversation with Poetry Show host Dennis Morton. Kim’s newest book is Last Train to the Missing Planet. She was in town for a reading that evening (listen to the reading here), and graciously took some time away from enjoying a beautiful afternoon in Santa Cruz. Actually, since the interview took place outdoors in Abbott Square, we did not have to take any time away from enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

This conversation forms a sort of sidebar, to be enjoyed alongside the Poetry Santa Cruz reading later in the evening. Kim and Dennis get into some interesting “behind the poetry” territory, so be sure to listen to both recordings. Another reason to include the Poetry Santa Cruz reading in your podcast-listening schedule is to enjoy the poetry of William Minor, the other reader at that event.

Kim Dower was once previously a guest on the KUSP Poetry Show, back in September of 2013, by phone from Los Angeles (the KUSP blog posts and podcasts will all soon be copied over to our new website here – but for now the KUSP site is still up and running). Or, find the podcast here: (2013-09-08 Kim Dower, guest poet).

This conversation marks the beginning of a new life for The Poetry Show – our first show that won’t be broadcast live on KUSP-FM. The plan for now is to record new episodes of The Poetry Show when an interesting guest is available, and on other occasions as the spirit moves.

Poetry Santa Cruz reading: April 2016 (re-post)

Upcoming on Tuesday June 14 is the monthly Poetry Santa Cruz reading, at Bookshop Santa Cruz. The Poetry Show will be there to record the event, headlined by Kim Dower and William Minor, and we’ll be posting that here as a podcast. Dennis will also be interviewing Ms. Dower for a new Poetry Show podcast episode.

As an appetizer, and to further the goal of copying past blog posts over here to our brand-new site, here’s a re-post of the April PSC reading:

The April 2016 Poetry Santa Cruz reading  event, held as usual on the second Tuesday (12th) at Bookshop Santa Cruz, featured Irish poets Anne-Marie Fyfe and C. L. Dallat,  following their Poetry Show appearance on April 10. Anne-Marie’s new collection is titled House of Small Absences, and C. L. Dallat’s latest book is The Year of Not Dancing.

Dallat is also an accomplished musician,  and treated the audience to a couple of pieces on mandolin – one of many instruments he brought along on the current West Coast book tour. The reading was followed by a brief question and answer session.

The two poets live in London, where they run Coffee House Poetry Troubadour.


Stephen Kessler, guest poet

01 - Kessler_w_coverLocal poet, editor and translator Stephen Kessler joined host Dennis Morton on The Poetry Show for May 1, 2016. In addition to his own career accomplishments, Stephen was one of the original Poetry Show hosts, along with Gary Young. Until further notice, this was the last show broadcast live from KUSP-FM, so it was appropriate to have Stephen as a guest to reminisce about the early history of KUSP, The Poetry Show and Santa Cruz poetry.

As a part of the history lesson, Stephen shared some of his own history in the world of poetry, including memories of associations with George Hitchcock, Gary Young, Morton Marcus and Robert Duncan. This week’s “ABC’s of advice to aspiring poets” comes via Stephen’s memories of Duncan’s teaching days at UCSC:

A – Trust your own voice
B – Give yourself permission to be an idiot
C – Poets aren’t factories

Listeners were treated to readings of poetry by Kessler and others mentioned above. Stephen’s latest published collection of “hybrid” prose/poetry is titled Where Was I? Regular listeners will remember Stephen’s previous appearance on the show, adding his expertise in poetry translation to an interview with Brazilian poet Salgado Maranhão . A few months ago, Stephen shared and discussed some of his translations of the Spanish poet Luis Cernuda.