Posts tagged with "radio" - Faerye Net 2008-07-24T11:38:30+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Hypocrisy 2008-07-24T11:38:30+00:00 2008-07-24T12:51:52+00:00 <p>Yesterday, as I returned home from seeing <em>The Dark Knight</em> (huzzah!) I heard part of a rebroadcast of <a href="" target="links"><span class="caps">KQED</span></a>&#8217;s omnipresent call-in show, Forum. It was about non-profits helping Iraqis who are in danger because of the translation work they&#8217;ve done for the US forces to cut through the red tape and immigrate to the US. They had the translator who was the original inspiration for the program, one spouse of a two-spouse team that started the specific non-profit, and a rep from a Catholic charity that helps refugees of all sorts.</p> <p>So they went to calls, and I thought, &#8220;Who the hell is going to call in and say this is bad? I mean, if you&#8217;re lefty it&#8217;s saving refugees, if you&#8217;re rightward it&#8217;s supporting people who help our troops.&#8221; Umm, I was wrong. Apparently well-educated Iraqis should stay in Iraq to rebuild, never mind the pesky death threats. Apparently people who are thoroughly vetted by the military before they work as translators and by the State dept. before they immigrate are a big ol&#8217; security threat (this caller worked in a nice reference to Britain&#8217;s &#8220;problems&#8221; &#8220;after their Empire&#8221; that made it pretty obvious he thinks if you don&#8217;t let Muslim people into your country, no terrorism will ever <em>coughMcVeighcough</em> occur.) Anyway, even as I&#8217;m shaking off the horror of those calls, an even less believable one was broadcast.</p> <p>Those of you who are Americans may have had the same US History textbook I did, or at least another that reprinted a political cartoon from the early 20th century. In it, three or four well-to-do Americans cough up anti-immigrant rhetoric while their shadows show the silhouettes of their ancestors arriving with packs and bags. It&#8217;s a classic.</p> <p>But this goes one further; the caller, while copiously &#8216;God bless&#8217;ing the translator and his family, told the detailed tale of how her husband fled Cuba as a child and was helped by the Catholic charities to settle in the US. &#8220;And I&#8217;m so glad they did, or I wouldn&#8217;t be married to one of the sweetest men on this Earth! But it&#8217;s a different world now&#8230;&#8221; Yes. She argued that the U.S. should not accept refugees because we have a bad job market. Yes, the wife of a previous generation&#8217;s &#8220;homeless, tempest-tossed&#8221; said that <em>refugees from persecution will take American jobs</em>. I was so speechless I couldn&#8217;t splutter.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve often thought of making a list of guidelines for &#8220;how not to come off as a total idiot on call-in shows&#8221; (thanks to the same omnipresent Forum) and perhaps rule #1 should be: before dialing, say your comment out loud. Twice. And listen.</p> Poets buy poetry 2007-07-24T12:11:11+00:00 2008-07-24T22:08:43+00:00 <p>So as I stir my morning oatmeal, the local hour of <a href="" target="links"><span class="caps">KQED</span></a>&#8217;s Forum plays. It&#8217;s about the upcoming <a href="" target="links">San Francisco International Poetry Festival</a>. The host starts taking listener calls, asking that they share poets, especially little-known ones, whose work they love, or talk about poetry and its significance in general.</p> <p>The <em>second</em> caller wants to know how to get his sonnets published.</p> <p>For Muse&#8217;s sake here, people. I&#8217;m well aware of the Magic Cover Letter Effect&#8212;the irrational belief among unpublished writers that there is one thing they could do that would get them published, and the resulting tendency to ask embarrassing questions at panels and readings. However, for poetry it&#8217;s worse.</p> <p>I&#8217;ve written some poetry in my day. And I never, ever try to get it published. Why? Some of it isn&#8217;t awful, but over the years, I haven&#8217;t been a consumer of poetry. Until I entered the <span class="caps">MFA</span> program, I had never bought a literary journal or a book of poetry that wasn&#8217;t an anthology for class. I reasoned that I had no right to ask anyone to publish my poetry if I wasn&#8217;t consuming other people&#8217;s.</p> <p>And this is one of those times when I break my own rules and say, &#8220;My way is Right.&#8221; If you are a poet, if you feel in your heart that you&#8217;re a poet, that someday people will be reading your poems in journals and chapbooks&#8212;walk down to Powell&#8217;s, or your local independent bookstore, or, if all else fails, Borders (they have a decent number of litmags). Buy some poetry journals. Mark the poems in the journals you really love, and look up the authors. Buy a book of poetry. I love <a href="" target="links">Jeannine Hall Gailey&#8217;s first book, <em>Becoming the Villainess</em></a>. You could also pick up <a href="" target="links">Dorianne Laux&#8217;s <em>Facts About the Moon</em></a>, or <a href="" target="links">Joe Millar&#8217;s latest, <em>Fortune</em></a>, or a book by someone I&#8217;ve never heard of, someone you&#8217;ll discover for yourself in the musty rows at Powell&#8217;s, someone whose poetry you will hide on the way to the register, unsure they&#8217;ll really let you buy this for only X dollars, feeling like a thief.</p> <p>&#8220;Everyone&#8217;s a poet,&#8221; Jack Hirschman, San Francisco&#8217;s Poet Laureate said on Forum today. But it takes more than that, I think. In order to really be a poet, you have to realize you&#8217;re taking part in an ancient art that has fallen on hard times, that is sustained by love, and by the generosity of those who have little. Who is going to spend ten, fifteen, twenty dollars on a book of poems? On a thin book with much blank space, on a genre even public radio callers distance with a &#8220;I don&#8217;t read poetry, really, but&#8230;&#8221;? Who is going to do that? Maybe you. And maybe then you&#8217;ll see which markets your work would be good in, maybe you&#8217;ll see opportunities for your own work to improve, maybe you&#8217;ll find inspiration and strength. Maybe you will become a part of a community of writers. Maybe you&#8217;re a poet. Go and see.</p>