Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

poetry

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

For the Weekend, we’re bringing you poetry from writer, poet, and Fresno State professor Brynn Saito.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: The National Transportation Safety Board has released its findings on the 2015 medevac helicopter crash that killed four people in the Valley. 

We also hear from both sides of the Senate Bill 1 debate -- that’s the state bill that aims to safeguard California from rollbacks in federal laws like the Endangered Species Act.

Later, we’ll introduce you to a young Mariachi singer from Delano. She’s just recorded her first album, and now she’s on her way to Harvard. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On Thursday, Fresno State alumna Marisol Baca was named Fresno’s fourth poet laureate. She is the first woman to hold the title. Baca is an English instructor at Fresno City College, and the co-founder of the Women Writers of Color-Central Valley collective. Her debut book, “Tremor,” published last year, won the Three Mile Harbor Press First Book Prize.

 

Listen to the interview above to hear about Baca's plan to expand connections between Fresno's elementary school students and local poets during her two-year term.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Megan Anderson Bohigian has been a teacher and writer for years, but only started publishing her own work after she retired in 2012. Her latest collection of poems, “Vanishing Point," uses metaphors to compare nature to her personal experiences. Megan says the inspiration to write about her memories in this way comes from "playing" with words; the poem often “emerges,” only after writing and rewriting a poem.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley is home to a number of renowned poets, past and present. Just yesterday, Juan Felipe Herrera, a former U.S. Poet Laureate, got a shoutout during Governor Gavin Newsom’s inauguration. Earlier this month, Fresno City College professor Lee Herrick came out with his own new book of poetry, "Scar and Flower." It's Herrick's first book since he finished his tenure as Fresno’s Poet Laureate from 2015 to 2017.

On this week's Valley Edition: The San Joaquin Valley has some of the dirtiest air in the country. In Fresno and Kern Counties, a state law has introduced a new strategy to tackle the problem: putting air monitoring in the hands of the community.

Later, we look at how some undocumented high school students are navigating college applications and applying for driver licences. Some are choosing to opt out entirely.

Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities

We’re remembering Peter Everwine, an acclaimed Central Valley writer who died last month, by looking back at his poetry. Everwine taught English literature and creative writing at Fresno State for 29 years. He was the recipient of an esteemed Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Everwine died in Fresno on October 28, 2018 at the age of 88.  

Brian Turner

Brian Turner is perhaps best known in Central California, and across the country as a poet whose art has been fused in a time of war. Author of the acclaimed collection Here, Bullet, Turner is one of the many literary giants to come from the San Joaquin Valley. Yet with his new project, he has turned his focus in two different directions: first in pursuing his musical visions, and second to showcasing the poetry of his late wife Ilyse Kusnetz.

Marshall W. Johnson / Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Seventy five years ago this month, the streets of Los Angeles turned violent in an event that came to be known as the Zoot Suit Riots. The cause is still unclear, but we know this: for 10 days in 1943, white service members attacked young Latino men on the streets of Southern California, while police turned the other way. The attacks are the subject of a new young adult novel by acclaimed children’s author Margarita Engle. In 2009, the Clovis author’s book "The Surrender Tree" won the prestigious Newberry Medal, the first book by a Latina to receive the honor.

Finishing Line Press

Fresno has long been a hotbed of poetry, from Philip Levine to Larry Levis to Juan Felipe Herrera. Now a new generation of poets is taking up the tradition of chronicling the region's land and its people. Ronald Dzerigian is one of those poets, and his new book "Rough Fire" captures a unique slice of the local landscape. Dzerigian is a Fresno State MFA grad, and the new collection is his first book, due for release on July 20th 2018 by Finishing Line Press.

courtesy Benjamin Boone

A new project from Fresno-based jazz artist Benjamin Boone is getting national attention. It combines original compositions by the Fresno State professor and saxophonist, with the poetry of the late Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. It also features some of the top names in the jazz world as guest stars including Branford Marsalis and Tom Harrell, as well as Valley Public Radio’s own David Aus. Levine was known for his love of jazz and recorded with Boone's band shortly before his death in 2015.

http://www.alatestyleoffire.com/home.html

Fresno is known for poetry. Perhaps it's because of unique hardships encountered here, but it's also thanks to poets like Pulitzer-Prize winning poet Philip Levine and others like current U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera.

The Fresno State Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing  is celebrating another noteworthy poet and alumnus of Fresno State with a screening of the new documentary “A Late Style of Fire: Larry Levis, American Poet." 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Central Valley native Juan Felipe Herrera was recently  appointed for a second term as the U.S. Poet Laureate. In his first year he traveled the states with a focus on diversity through his online project "La Casa De Colores." 

Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. Last year he joined the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

Mai Der Vang

Last week Fresno Hmong-American Poet Mai Der Vang was awarded one of the nation's most prestigious book awards. The Academy of American Poets selected Vang, 34, as this years recipient of the Walt Whitman Award. Each year the honor goes to an emerging writer to make possible the publication of their first book.

In an interview with FM89, Vang says she was shocked by the news.

VANG: “I was just thrilled. I actually asked if they could double check to make sure it was me.”

COURTESY OF ANDRE YANG

A Fresno poet has won one of the nation’s most sought-after book awards. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The Academy of American Poets has selected thirty-four year old Hmong-American Mai Der Vang as the winner of this year’s prestigious Walt Whitman Award. Each year the honor goes to an emerging writer to make possible the publication of their first book.

Vang says she was shocked by the news.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For the second time in five years, a Fresno poet has received the nation’s highest honor for his field. Former Fresno State professor Juan Felipe Herrera is the new Poet Laureate of the United States. Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both the beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. He joins the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

In this interview Valley Public Radio's Ezra David Romero chats with Herrera about his life, poetry and future. 

Valley Public Radio / Ezra David Romero

This week on Valley Edition Mark Keppler, the executive director of the Maddy Institute, talks about the state of trails in the region. Also on the program Daniel Swain, with Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment, talks about a new study examining the link between drought and global warming released last week.

Fresno State News

U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine died on Saturday at his home in Fresno. He was age 87. The former Fresno State professor was known as the poet of the working class, and drew inspiration from his time working in the auto industry in his native Detroit and from the San Joaquin Valley, which he called home for nearly 60 years.

Levine took pride in bringing stories of physical labor in America to the world of poetry. Poet Peter Everwine was a close friend and colleague.

Benjamin Boone

Fresno jazz artist, educator and composer Benjamin Boone has embarked on a fascinating new musical journey: mixing his music with the poems of former Poet Laureate of the United States and Pulitzer Prize winner Philip Levine. 

Levine, who is a longtime Fresno resident is among the nation's most revered poets. He's also a big jazz fan, dating back to his youth in Detroit. In fact, many of his poems reference jazz, including iconic stars like Clifford Brown and John Coltrane. 

In Visalia, Pizza and Poetry Mix at Howie & Son's

Aug 23, 2013
Howie & Son's

If you want to hear poetry on a Friday night in the San Joaquin Valley, stop by Howie & Son’s Pizza Parlor in Visalia.

You’ll find us in the back room, by the video game machines.

This isn’t your standard poetry reading. It’s poetry slam, the competitive art of performance poetry. We write our own verse and then deliver it, forcefully and in our own distinctive style.

Pages