rustin larson's blog

ShroesbreeRumi is read from the MUM Library; a confused puppet interviews himself; the blues guitar goes twang; Rustin reads a robust rendition of some rousing rural rarebits. This all happens Sunday at 10:30am/Monday 1:30 pm central.

bloom, fevers
flash, nebulae hover,

white and yellow. Can you smile dawn and dusk
and pretend it doesn't hurt? The nurse

a moment her whirl,

too perky, asks if you glitter,

MUM Library

"Molana" Jalaledin Rumi (1207-1273) was a poet and a scholar, a Sufi mystic, a learned theologian, and a seeker of the Divine inbibed in every human being, which is the ineffable meaning of life. He was an orthodox, sober professor until he met a wandering Sage – Shams of Tabriz (Persia) and was transformed into an enraptured lover of God. Through his life, teachings and poetry, he seeks to convey this meaning which can be found in this inner-dwelling divine of every human being.


Even though, our humanity, Rumi believed, has become longingly
separated from this state of divine union— like “a reedflute torn from
the reedbed", he uses his spontaneous poetry to remind us and re-kindle
our memory so we can regain what we have lost and to help us retrieve it.
This kind of life-restoring poetry, is beyond spiritual and cultural
boundaries and goes to the very heart and source of our humanity.


dudeThe Ghost gives up a lyric/narrative sequence entitled "Pavement" for the next episode of Irving. One quarter rock opera, one quarter literary jam session, and a good half of a long poem in progress, we'll take fries with that, a swig of the oh-be-joyful, and worship our muses and literary goddesses at will, be there the frank fact of the winter moon shining over the shimmering snows or no.

Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!


RumiDr. Ali Arsanjani, a Rumi scholar who is versed in the tradition of Rumi's "Erfan" poetry, or mystical Sufi poetry, is starting a new series of M.U.M. Library lectures that systematically explore the work of the great Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi. Recently, Dr. Arsanjani joined Rustin Larson at KRUU to record an introduction to Rumi's work and to talk about the upcoming lecture which will focus on a story in the famous Book of the Sun and one poem from the Masnavi Maanavi (Couplets of Inner Meaning). Says Arsanjani, "Rumi's poetry touches deep within us and resonates with our experiences of life and spirituality, regardless of denomination. It celebrates the passion of the human spirit in its quest of Unity with the Divine." Dr. Arsanjani's lecture, "Rumi Returns," will be at the MUM Library, North Lounge, Tuesday night, December 16th at 8:00 pm. For those who would like to know more about Rumi, please visit the Rumi blog. It offers a rich selection of Dr. Arsanjani's translations and commentaries.


How many sandwiches and bananas
and Fritos would it take? Running away from home
meant packing a bandanna
of toys and hiding behind the elm

on the playground until noon.
A narrow mountain pass in winter, frozen
puddles were lakes as seen
from 10,000 feet. Our scarves were oxygen

masks. Twigs were hiking staffs. Christmas
came but once a year: the X
on our treasure map: Johnny Eagle
with a telescope showed the bull

collapsing into the dust.
Nebraska was number one.
The darkness of night brought
a stranger to the door, no room in the sun.

Wednesday-night candles in church
so the baby could find his way
to the manger. Every
winter, a child born; the rook's perch;

A Concentration of Daylight

Do you have the voice?

Tune within and see.


The mysterious Chinese convenience store's

second door

opens upon the darkened China

of the mind.

Its tea is some sort
of excursion

and temporarily deals
with the permanent.


Rock L'Orange



So, who says Rock L'Orange
can't write? Certainly not I, Irving Toast, your beloved disembodied
poet laureate! Rock L'Orange's short fictions are tres poetique and
come at you from all sorts of weird angles. I love 'em. He should be
more widely read. Let me repeat that. He should be more widely read.
Ah, but his writings shall hit the airwaves soon, and you shall give a
listen to his fictional Autobiography of Clerk Typist, GS-5.


Rustin LarsonIn a reading recorded at the MUM Library on October 15th, 2008, Professor Larson intoned selections from his forthcoming book The Wine-Dark House (Blue Light Press).

Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry East, The Atlanta Review and other magazines. Crazy Star, his latest collection, was selected for the Loess Hills Book’s Poetry Series in 2005. Larson won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino magazine in 2000 and has won prizes for his poetry from The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation among others. A five-time Pushcart nominee, and graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival in 2002 and 2004, a featured writer in the DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts in 2007, 2008, and has been highlighted on the public radio programs Live from Prairie Lights and Voices from the Prairie. He is the host of the radio talk show Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost and lives in Fairfield, Iowa.

Robert McDowell

Robert McDowell's poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies here and abroad, including Best American Poetry, Poetry, The New Criterion, Sewanee Review, and The Hudson Review. He also offers one-on-one mentoring and coaching for businesses and groups interested in improving their spiritual awareness, listening, communication, writing, and presentation skills.

Joy Lyle


Joy Lyle, Joy Lyle, Joy Lyle! This was a live reading taped on Wednesday night, October 15th at the MUM Library. Most of you chose to watch the presidential debate that evening. Hey, I'm cool. But the Ghost was there to record Joy's rockin' reading and it is offered thusly on the next episode of Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost, 10:30 am, Sunday, October 26th and 1:30 pm, Monday, October 27.

How to describe Joy's reading? Oh, I listened to it on a CD with my eyes closed as I was driving down Highway 34 to Oskaloosa and babycakes I could SEE! I'm here to tell the tale aren't I? And now it's your turn!

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