Wordplay welcomes Thomas Meyer …

September 11, 2008 by onair

Not actually, mind you; he didn’t drive all the way over from Scaly Mountain to sit down in the studio this past Sunday. But he didn’t have to, since I’d recorded several of his readings in recent years, and had sat down with him in another studio back in 2006 to talk about (among other things) his translation of the classic Chinese text daode jing.

Tom’s a terrific poet, of course, so it was great fun to revisit the occasions I’d recorded. Those readings included one from September 30, 2005 at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, in which he gave, I thought, a really good overview of his work, from the poems collected in At Dusk Iridescent, to the long poem Coromandel (on line at the link), to his translation of the dao, which was then unpublished. He came back to the Center in March, 2006, though, after the dao‘s publication by Flood Editions, to present the text in full, so I used that recording for the show, as well as a snip from that interview we’d done the same day, rather than the excerpts from the previous fall.

When Hillsborough poet Jeffery Beam visited Asheville in July, he brought along several tapes featuring readings by, or interviews with, Jonathan Williams. One of those tapes, from a midsummer, 1994, reading at The Literary Institute, Muker, Swansdale, Yorkshire, also included a brief reading by Tom; I opened the show with it, since Tom hadn’t featured its material in the 2005 foray back into his earlier work.

Since we were beginning the show in Yorkshire, I used Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “Fantasia on Greensleeves” for the show’s opening theme, and honored the multivoiced Coromadel from 2005 with “Taboehgan” by the Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan (recorded in 1941, and available on Music for the Gods from the Library of Congress). Tom had said he loved Bollywood soundtracks, but I didn’t have any handy, so I closed with Ali Akbar Khan‘s “Blessings of the Heart, Part 2″, from 1993’s Garden of Dreams. Khan has composed for film scores throughout his long career, after all.

Oh, you might notice that the show that’s now available from the WPVM archive is several minutes longer than Worplay’s hour, so I should confess that it’s not the show that aired. If you happened to be listening live, you had an experience that the station’s rickety archiving system failed to record. When I came back to the station Sunday evening to re-produce the show, I included a little more of the music than I could squeeze into our live slot.

Give it a listen.

(The show will be up through Sunday the 14th, and then migrate over to the new Wordplay Archive, where you’ll find it here.)



Photo of Tom by Reuben Cox.

Cross-posted at Natures.

September 9, 2008 by onair

Yes, it’s all true.

Yes, WPVM is changing.

Yes, it will be more volunteer-driven.

Yes, you will love us even more.

Heck Yes. Stay tuned.

Two new shows on the Wordplay archive

September 9, 2008 by onair

Now up on the Wordplay archive, August shows with Laura Hope-Gill and Glenis Redmond, both former members of the Wordplay crew. Laura read from her upcoming title, The Soul Tree, and Glenis celebrated her new book, Under the Sun, just out from Main Street Rag:

August 24, 2008, featuring Laura Hope-Gill

August 31, 2008, featuring Glenis Redmond



Photo: Laura and Glenis just before a reading at the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, May, 2006.

Cross-posted at Natures.

Making Progress: News for a Change, Sept. 8, 2008

September 8, 2008 by onair

The Republican National Convention in St. Paul is over, but the repercussions from the outrageous police crackdown on dissent and on journalists is just getting started. Asheville filmmaker Rebecca MacNeice was in the thick of it, and she’ll give us an eyewitness account.

“Jesus was a community organizer, but Pontious Pilate was a Governor.” David will walk us through an in-depth look at the Republican nominee for Vice-President, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Finally, there has been some discussion in the local media about controversy here at WPVM. The Mountain Area Information Network(MAIN) holds WPVM’s broadcast license. MAIN’s Board of Directors is meeting during our show tonight; we hope to have some news to relay to our listeners about WPVM’s future. No promises, though. Ignore all rumors. Fight the power. Jump up & down. Stand on one foot. More later…

The Wordplay archive expands …

September 8, 2008 by onair

As of now, the following shows are available at ibiblio.org. Before 2008, shows were thirty mintues long; 2008 shows are an hour long.



September 3, 2006, featuring Laura Hope-Gill and Sebastian Matthews


February 11,2007, featuring John Crutchfield

March 18, 2007, featuring Laura Hope-Gill discussing her work with alchemy.

April 29, 2007, Laura Hope-Gill and I read and discussed the work of Robert Bly

May 27, 2007, featuring Samuel Adams

June 10, 2007, featuring Robert Bly reading at UNCA (production notes)

June 17, 2007, featuring Keith Flynn

July 1, 2007, featuring Allan Wolf

October 14, 2007, featuring Gary Hawkins

October 28, 2007, featuring archival recordings of Walt Whitman, Alfred Tennyson, and others

November 4, 2008, featuring Jessica Smith (production notes)

November 11, 2007, featuring William Matthews

November 18, 2007, featuring Robert Morgan (production notes)

December 2, 2007, featuring Laura Hope-Gill

December 9, 2007, featuring Nan Watkins presenting her translations of Yvan Goll (production notes)

December 16, 2007, featuring Mara Simmons

December 23, 2007, featuring Laura Hope-Gill reading “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”


January 13, 2008 featuring Ed Dorn (production note)

January 20, 2008, featuring Katherine Min

January 27, 2008, featuring Gary Hawkins and Landon Godfrey

February 3, 2008, featuring Sebastian Matthews and Dick Barnes

February 17, 2008, featuring my April, 2006 reading for the publication of Natures

February 24, 2008, featuring the very literate singer-songwriter Angela Faye Martin

March 2, 2008, featuring Thomas Rain Crowe reading from Radiogenesis

March 9, 2008, featuring Chad Prevost (production note)

March 23, 2008, featuring Jonathan Williams reading at Sylva’s City Lights Books in May of 2005 (production note)

April 7, 2008, featuring Galway Kinnell reading at Breadloaf in 2002

April 13, 2008, featuring Laura Hope-Gill pitching on the pledge drive show

May 25, 2008, featuring Ross Gay in an interview with Joanna Cooper, and reading at Asheville’s Malaprops Books (production note)

June 1, 2008, featuring Coleman Barks performing at the Fine Arts Theater in April, 2008 (production note)

June 8, 2008, featuring Wayne Caldwell, author of Cataloochee

June 15, 2008, featuring Robert Creeley

June 29, 2008, featuring Nan Watkins presenting her translations of Yvan Goll – the extended edition (production note)

July 6, 2008, featuring Landon Godfrey (production note)

July 13, 2008, featuring Chall Gray

July 20, 2008, featuring Jeffery Beam (production note)

August 3, 2008, featuring Ken Rumble (production note)

Many more to come …



Veterans’ Voices for September 3rd, 2008

September 2, 2008 by onair

This week on Veterans’ Voices we talk with Jason Hurd and other IVAW members to see what’s up in Minneapolis for the RNC. When we spoke to him last week, they were at the DNC about to do Operation First Casualty. Independent news sources describe mass arrests in preemptive raids of activists in Minneapolis. Amy Goodman, among those arrested, states that almost 300 people have already been arrested by the end of the first day of the convention.
Jason Hurd and other IVAW members during Operation First Casualty in Denver during DNC.

If you missed last week’s interview with Dr. Russell McCrimmon and Ron Kennedy from the Veterans’ shelter, get it before it’s gone.
Tune in to Veterans’ Voices at 5 pm every Wednesday or stream/podcast here.

Now on the Archive … er, the other Archive

September 2, 2008 by onair

Doing Wordplay, which consists, on one level, just of getting together to talk with a poet (or two or three) each Sunday for an hour, has often been a delight, even the high point of the week. And sometimes, when technical problems have whacked the show, it’s also been frustrating. We’ve worked with WPVM’s staff and our fellow volunteers at the station to resolve issues as they’ve come up, though, and things have indeed gotten better; we’ve upgraded some equipment and figured out workarounds for other issues.

One issue that we couldn’t address at the station itself, given the storage capacity and bandwidth it would require, was our need for a permanent archive for past shows. After all, it’s not like a reading by, say (just to pick a few whose files I’ve rounded up in the last few days), Jonathan Williams, Robert Bly, Ken Rumble, or Ross Gay merits attention for just a week.

Thanks to the good folks at Chapel Hill’s ibiblio.org, though, we’ve now got that archive. We don’t yet have an index page at ibiblio, but I’ll post links here and at Natures, and work towards creating a directory there down the road.

For now, January’s show featuring Ed Dorn’s 1974 Buffalo reading of La Gran Apacheria is available from the new Wordplay Archive:

Ed Dorn, January 13, 2008.

More to come …