Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Do I Gotta . . . To Get a Poem on a Non-Poetry Podcast?

As an undergrad I worked at the campus radio station, WRCT Pittsburgh 88.3 FM. Aside from calling myself DJ LolaCocaCola on my music show, I worked in Public Affairs, hosted and participated in talks shows, occasionally filled in for News. Senior year I was the Public Affairs director -- and had mini-struggles with Sam, the previous Public Affairs director, who once incited a mini-revolt among a handful of other public affairs hosts. They threw a party, didn't invite me and flipped through a photo album pointing at my pictures yelling "bitch" and "fucking slut." Well, maybe Sam didn't do that -- according to my sources/snitches he just laughed when others did it.

The things a woman in power has to deal with.

If I'm the Bill Clinton of Poetry, I was the Hillary Clinton of WRCT Public Affairs.

They also started a pool on my impending "break-up date" with Chris.

Hah-hah, suck on the true love, fuckers!

Anyhow, Sam didn't like how I ran the Public Affairs department. He didn't approve of my decisions. He would have done things totally differently if he was still in charge. He considered me a bossy violator of all things public affairs and freedom loving (my words, not his) and I considered him kind of a bureaucratic communist in libertarian clothing.

Despite all of that we remained good friends throughout the years. He was an usher in my wedding, I'd shop with him for clothing, I helped him move and in the process inhaled some African bug spores that are likely still mutating in my organs, he helped paint my house and almost died due to his cat allergies -- you know, all the things friends do for one another.

Although we avoid discussing what transpired back in 1993 cause it quickly bleeds into fisticuffs cause he won't admit he was totally wrong. Or as he'll say, I won't admit that I was totally wrong. (he's so wrong)

Sam recently resurrected one of his talk shows with Ivan, another former public affairs host, called Curmudgeon's Corner via podcast. Ivan wasn't available for the second recording so Sam asked if I wanted to do it. I said yes. In addition to being an occasional guest on CC, Sam and I also did a talk show called The World in an Eggshell and we got along well -- it wasn't the hot Sam/Ivan firework chemistry, but it was nice nonetheless.

But it didn't happen. Or what I should say, my partipation didn't happen, the podcast went on without me.

See, Sam and I were having problems agreeing on topics. Presidential debates (not watching them at this point, saw clips, glad I didn't bother), Paris Hilton (no thank you), etc.

Earlier Sam offered to read a poem of my choosing, which apparently (unbeknownst to me) was a joke. He also had a long list of requirements for the poem, most of which I was fine with (no swearing, less than 5 minutes, etc.), but he was insisting the poem be more than 100 years old. I wouldn't agree to that. That was a stupid requirement put in place solely to annoy me.

But what annoyed me more was he kept asking what I wanted to talk about and I'd say, I want to talk about these poems and he'd said he didn't want to do a whole poetry show and I said I didn't expect a whole poetry show, but why all the resistance to spending a couple minutes talking about some contemporary poetry? He eventually relented on the 100 year thing, but I still backed out.

As a bizzy mom, as a bizzy wife, as a bizzy editor, as a bizzy publisher, as a bizzy poet, I have limited time to spend on projects. Laurel Snyder is due any day (possibly already given birth to her second son) and on Saturday night while Sam and I were debating what kind of poem he would allow on his podcast, I hadn't even finished laying out her book. And I was still working on Hugh's too -- and I haven't started on Jill's yet -- and what about the next Bedside Guide, the still-unanswered NTM submissions . . .

. . . and what's the point of arguing with someone who's so adverse to contemporary poetry? What good is it to get bent out of shape? I felt like I was having one of those arguments with Gideon where I'm trying to give him a delicious treat and he doesn't want the delicious treat, yet I try to force that delicious treat on him because it's a delicious treat and I know he'd love it if only he'd try it, but he won't cause he's two years old and I'm not the boss of him. (Oh, but I am the boss of him -- I relent because eventually it occurs to me that his refusal merely means more delicious treat for me!)

So Sam and I both agreed that the point of doing the podcast was to have fun and neither of us were having any fun.

I don't think I'll be getting any more invitations to participate.

But Sam did end up reading one of the four poems I suggested as a "peace offering," PF Potvin's "4th Grade Logic" -- and he read it very well. If I did the show, I would have asked him why he picked that one, what he liked and didn't like about it because I'm interested in his reaction -- aside from the feeling of being put out by having to consider a poem.

Maybe his high school English teachers let him down, ruined poetry for him, or maybe he's just a hostile poetry element? I don't know, but I'm just too exhausted to push the matter further.

To top it all off, he ended up talking about topics I would have loved to discuss. (putting the clamp down on the kiddies -- hell yeah!)

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At 8:48 PM, Blogger Samuel said...

Hmmm... should I answer the questions here, on my blog, or in next week's podcast. Hmmmm...


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