Susan Kelly-DeWitt, Francisco X. Alarcòn - November 20, 2016


Manage episode 166360069 series 1072667
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Katherine Hastings airs a reading by Susan Kelly-DeWitt given at Readers Books in Sonoma in October 2016. DeWitt is the author of ten collections of poetry, including her latest Spider Season. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow, her work has appeared widely in journals and anthologies, and has been featured on Ted Kooser´s American Life in Poetry. Jane Mead says ¨The poems in Spider Season reflect our human desire to weave the inner and outer worlds into an ordered pattern: like the spider´s web, these poems are delicate, made of strong filament, and vulnerable - impermanence proves to be a force as strong as the desire for order. This book beautifully renders the process, rewards and disappointments of this universal struggle.¨
Following DeWitt, Hastings airs an interview from 2011 she conducted with the late poet and activist Francisco X. Alarcòn. Although he died in January 2016, Alarcòn's work remains extremely relevant today. This is a segment not to be missed. His collections of poetry, some for adults, some for children, include Sonnets to Madness and Other Misfortunes; Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation); From the Other Side of Night/Del otro lado de la noche: New and Selected Poems; Ce Uno One: Poems for the New Sun; Borderless Butterflies: Earth Haikus and Other Poems; Laughing Tomatoes: And Other Spring Poems; and Canto condo/Deep Song, among others. His work portrays Latino and gay identity, the Nahuatl language, Mesoamerican history, mythology and American culture. He received the 1984 Chicano Literary Prize, the 1993 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and a Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association in 2002. In addition, he served as director of the Spanish for Native Speakers Program at the University of California at Davis, and taught for the Art of the Wild workshop and the California Poets in the Schools program. Juan Felipe Herrera called Alarcòn the "dark hummingbird, alone still and yet in motion in the arc of time."
Hastings also includes two pieces of music from Herbie Hancock's The Imagine Project.

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