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?


  1. I enjoyed the interview. The Mars Rover comparison was very effective. (The comments sounded well thought out rather than spontaneous. Good job of thinking on your feet.) The overall inverview was much more scientific than most poetry interviews. (‘ray science!) Also, I liked the shots you took at the academic poetry establishment. Thanks for turning me on to the program. It is kind of like “Fresh Air” for poets.

  2. Fresh Air for poets is quite a compliment. Terry Gross is one of my idols.

    Tim the sample above is my favorite part of the interview. It will disappear after 80 days from the archives just FYI so you may want to preserve it in its entirety on your blog archives. They’re trying to set up a permanent page on KPFK for the shows but not there yet… Lois

  3. Lois–are you sure it’s alright that I post the whole thing? I was actually going to ask you — I posted the excerpt here because I wanted to direct people to KPFK and not steal your thunder. But if it’s not a problem, I’d be happy to post the whole thing and save you bandwidth.

  4. It would be much easier and appreciated if you did. I can’t predict what will happen to the archive even with the intent to create a page. Our producer Marlena Bond does a fantastic job but she works for a public radio station and these kinds of things can take some time. Rather than lose the interview to the ethers, it would be great to have a permanent home here. If it gets one on KPFK too, all the better…

  5. Thanks, Lois, I’ll post the full versions tomorrow!

  6. A lot more fluid than most poet interviews. And, you have a great poet voice. 🙂

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