Poets Cafe Interview with Peggy Dobreer

Since the KPFK archives only last 90 days, host Lois P. Jones asked me to make a permanent home for the show I was on last week.  Here is the first segment, with Peggy Dobeer — I thought she deserved her own page.

Photo by Myra Gerrard

Peggy Dobreer is an educator, poet, public speaker, and artisan who works and teaches in the Extension Program at Loyola Marymount University. She was a leading force in the educational vision of the Center for the Advancement of Nonviolence, from 1997-2004, and co-wrote and edited 64 Ways to Practice Nonviolence: A Curriculum and Resource Guide. Her poetry is published in Cracked Pavement and Plastic Trees, Our Gifts To Future Generations: An Anthology of Environmental Poetry, Everything About You Is Beautiful: Really Big Show Anthology (Winter 2004), WordWright’s Magazine, Tamafhyr Mountain Poetry Irregular Poetry Journal, and The Blue House. She has self-published four chapbooks: Henceforth (1999), Bravo Collection (2002), Face of Sky (2004) and B.L.A.B.B. Be Live at Beyond Baroque (2006).

Interview with Poets Cafe

Above is a 3-minute teaser from the 25-minute interview. To listen to the whole thing, visit the KPFK archive, and click on “Poetry and Culture” at noon (Wed., July 22nd). Mine is the second segment, halfway through, following an enlightening interview with local poet Peggy Debreer.

Since it’s the first time I’ve ever heard myself on the radio I thought I’d “live-blog” the queasiness.  I didn’t feel nervous at all sitting in the sound studio and talking to Lois about poetry, but now that I’m here at my desk helplessly listening to what I said three months ago, I’ve been feeling uneasy.  I can’t even remember what might have come out of my mouth!

Anyway, here’s my commentary:

  • 29:20 – First of all, I completely forgot that I was sick when we recorded this. Hear the rasp in my voice –I’m trying hard not to cough through the whole thing and sometimes failing.
  • 30:10 – So tired of my own poems. I need to write some new ones…
  • 32:10 – That bit about fractals and the mars rover is something that I had no idea I was going to say, and had never really thought of coherently until I heard myself saying it.  But the description of fractals as “getting lost in scale” actually works, which is neat.
  • 34:02 – Are my “mhmm’s” while Lois is talking annoying everyone or just me?  Shut up Tim…
  • 34:30 – Haha, I’m the Big Kahuna!
  • 35:25 – I accidentally lied about the number of submissions we receive at Rattle. It’s 50 subs/day in the busy seasons, around deadlines and new issues, but it drops to 20 when we’re slow.  The interview was recorded during a busy period, so that’s all I was thinking about.  Oops!  I still feel a little guilty about that.  100 poems every day is still a lot, right?
  • 36:30 – I don’t usually read “Playing Our Part,” it was nice that she asked for that.
  • 42:00 – The plug for my friend Erik Campbell’s book Arguments for Stillness was edited out because we couldn’t get on the same page — I thought Lois was referring to an Elizabeth Bishop quote that we’d talked about before, not Erik’s book.  Sorry Erik!
  • 43:30 – I’m sick of complaining about no respect of Rattle.  All those things are true, we are a “rogue journal” and proud of it, but I feel like a whiner going on about it.  It ties in to what I wrote on last Friday, the inanity of the game.  Who gives an f-…
  • 49:50 – “the white blood cell count for society.”  Another thing I never thought of until I said it.  Interviews are fun.
  • 51:10 – Sometimes when I read “The Body” I have to fight the urge to read in a southern accent…is that weird?

Well that was mostly pointless!  I enjoyed the interview, though, and commenting on it reduces the jitters.

Thanks to Lois P. Jones for being a great host, and KPFK for having me.  What did you all think?

BookMark Review of AmFrac by Marjorie Maddox

The above review appeared last Wednesday on WPSU, NPR’s central Pennsylvania affiliate.  The clip is from BookMark, a weekly book reviews show.  This is just, I think, the second review of the book to reach the public, and the first time my name’s ever been mentioned on the radio.

The coolest part is hearing someone else who you’ve never met read some lines of your poem out loud — and then still hearing them as they sound in your head.  Poetry works!  Here’s how Maddox ends the review:

Indeed, as Timothy Green claims in ‘Hiking Alone’, perhaps all we ever want is ‘a little darkness to climb out of.’ In American Fractal, he provides the dark, the light, and a rope of words for climbing from one insight to another.

__________

p.s. Marjorie Maddox has reviewed for Rattle in the past, but I only just discovered that she’s written a young adult book of baseball poems.  How cool is that? Looking around a little more, the poems seem to be good, too: “…all hard-pitched hope outthrown, thrown out/of luck, of heart, of the hard heat of summer/and what won’t be.” If I’d read that in 8th grade, I would have gotten into poetry sooner!

Hiking Alone

HIKING ALONE

I shimmy out on sandstone and slate rock,
past the soft ledges where the last shrubs

grow. I’ve got my camera, unshuttered and
silent, ready to take back with me whatever

I’ve come here for—sore arms and a sunburn,
blue sky like something new. At the floor

of the canyon far below a stream flows from
nowhere to nothing, from one unseen cavern

to the next. I could think of a fish gazing up
at that quick flash of sky as it passes through

the white froth of the rapids, the silky silver
where the water pools. Oh, I am grey, I could

have him say, personified—moved, even
full of emotion. Oh, my scales are golden-

green—I could give him color just as easily
in the kind God of my imagination before

plunging him back into his comfortable
dark, this eyelet the only opening for miles.

How easy it is to paint epiphany, I think, like
the gaudy sunset now settling above the tree-

line I could call a bruise or a blush, windburn
on a woman’s cheek, though it’s only the

scattering of dust in low light, what one shakes
from a shoe, combs out of stiffened hair.

How easy, too, it would be to slip off this ledge,
to get lost out here, fall asleep on this rock and

let the cold night wake me. I could hold out
on figs and freshwater; I could chew the fibrous

bark off a Joshua tree. I could love the moon
like a mountain lion, stalk shadows, sharpen

sticks. Come morning I’d find the dirt road
and then my car at the end of it. Brush the dust

off my pants. Buckle myself back into habit
with a metal click like the sound of my one hand

clapping for joy—however briefly—at all we
ever wanted: a little darkness to climb out of.

–from American Fractal
first appeared in Confrontation

The Sense of Being Looked At

THE SENSE OF BEING LOOKED AT

Around the corner, footsteps. A heel
clicking stone. The slosh of loose gravel

and then the no-sound itself conspicuous—
even the crickets hold their breath, hush

their rough legs while deep inside houses
women reading bedtime stories pause

to change their endings, one good wish
at a time. A car sails by with its lights off,

but Elvis on the radio still crooning after all
these years, still young—like nothing’s gone

wrong. When you turn, the trees spring back,
defensive. They point to each other all at once,

a dozen limbs like the Scarecrow’s saying,
He went that way. No, no, he went that way.

–from American Fractal
first published in Cranky