rustin larson's blog

Bob Dylan and Alan Ginsberg at Jack Kerouac's graveGladys Swan joins the circus and writes about it in her new poetry chapbook; a couple of Diane Frank singles are ready to spin; an original musical composition from the hosts of The Pocky Talky Music Mystery Show will make you scream; cool surf-drunk-punk vibes from The Lear Jets; and more on the next episode of Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost, Sunday, February 28th at 10:30 am, and Monday, March 1st at 1:30 pm.

Blue Chord

from baby to mother

from guitar to amp

Marge PiercyMarge Piercy is the author of seventeen novels including The New York Times Bestseller Gone To Soldiers; the National Bestsellers Braided Lives and The Longings of Women and the classic Woman on the Edge of Time; seventeen volumes of poetry, and a critically acclaimed memoir Sleeping with Cats. Born in center city Detroit, educated at the University of Michigan, the recipient of four honorary doctorates, she has been a key player in many of the major progressive political battles of our time, including the anti-Vietnam war and the women's movement, and more recently an active participant in the resistance to the war in Iraq.

A popular speaker on college campuses, she has been a featured writer on Bill Moyers’ PBS Specials, Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Terri Gross’ Fresh Air, the Today Show, and many radio programs nationwide including Air America and Oprah & Friends.

WB YeatsIowa poets, learn your trade, sing whatever is well made...

--W. B. Yeats

65th Annual Contest

General Rules For All Divisions


Gladys Swan

Have you ever sat down to lunch with someone and felt like you’ve become a memory sandwich? Say your present is a slice of multi grain and the sandwich goes down through strata of deviled whatever, shredded cheddar, a cool crisp year of Romaine, an autumn of roasted garlic till you hit that subtly spicy bit of sweet relish that’s been haunting you all along. She was hard to forget, wasn’t she? And equally hard to forgive.

Such entrées veteran fiction writer Gladys Swan (who, by the way, is a major presence in The Iowa Source’s recently released poetry anthology, Leaves by Night, Flowers by Day) serves us in her short story collection, A Garden amid Fires, released in 2006 by BkMk Press.


derpWell, skibbery biscuit, looks like we're in for some new shows soon!  But first enjoy a rebroadcast of the interview with Joseph Millar.  Coming up in February:  interviews with Gladys Swan and Marge Piercy, an excursion into angel-headed hipster madness with Albertino Alma Spaghetti, and special tracks laid down by The Lear Jets and The Gargling Barbers of Frankfurt.  Spitzen nagel!

I drove to Iowa City to hear Rhino read from his new book, “The Rutabaga Dalliances.” It had been 13 years since I last saw him, and in that near decade and a half he had received many piercings to his face and body. Couple that with his tattoos (an anaconda whose head peeped out on his neck and wound– I was told– round and around his various body parts with its tail finally doing a little shimmy-shake number around his ankle), he resembled a stage version of Queequeg who had been attacked in the face with a staple gun. He read well. A flock of grad students, with hair dyed the twenty flavors of Hawaiian shaved ice, listened attentively. The upper room of the bookstore where he read was well packed with the curious, the kooky, and the radio and television techs from the university FM and cable stations.

Jennifer ConnellyMy friends:

I want to talk for a few minutes with the people of the United States about poetry -- to talk with the comparatively few who understand the mechanics of poetry, but more particularly with the overwhelming majority of you who use words for the making of poetry and the drawing of conclusions.

I want to tell you what has been done in the last few days, and why it was done, and what the next steps are going to be. I recognize that the many proclamations from State capitols and from Washington, the legislation, the Poetry regulations, and so forth, couched for the most part in poetry and poetic terms, ought to be explained for the benefit of the average citizen. I owe this, in particular, because of the fortitude and the good temper with which everybody has accepted the inconvenience and hardships of the poetry holiday. And I know that when you understand what we in Washington have been about, I shall continue to have your cooperation as fully as I have had your sympathy and your help during the past week.

DTOne Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

All the Christmases roll down toward the two-tongued sea, like a cold and headlong moon bundling down the sky that was our street; and they stop at the rim of the ice-edged fish-freezing waves, and I plunge my hands in the snow and bring out whatever I can find. In goes my hand into that wool-white bell-tongued ball of holidays resting at the rim of the carol-singing sea, and out come Mrs. Prothero and the firemen.

Heather Derr-Smith
Part two of Heather Derr-Smith's reading at MUM Library airs this Sunday at 10:30 am and Monday at 1:30 pm on Irving Toast, Poetry Ghost. Heather has just returned from a trip to the former Yugoslavia, giving readings and workshops there. Here's some news from the University of Sarajevo:

dt & poochSled-ule of shows:

12/6/09 Part One of Heather Derr-Smith at MUM Library;


12/13/09 Part Two of Heather Derr-Smith at MUM Library;


12/20/09 A Child's Christmas in Wales;


12/27/09 Bum Canto's Happy New Beer.


Peace on earth, good will to all,

and the luster of mid-day to objects below.

roadHeather Derr-Smith Reads at MUM Library December 1st

Heather Derr-Smith, who earlier made an appearance on Irving Toast, will be reading at the MUM Library, north lounge, on Tuesday, December 1st at 8:00 pm. This will be Heather's last state-side reading before her trip to Bosnia.

Heather Derr-Smith will be reading from The Bride Minaret and Each End of the World as well as from her latest work, in four cities in Bosnia in the following venues: International Universityof Sarajevo, Sarajevo Institute of Science and Technology, Buy Book, Corner Book, the British Council, University of Travnik, University of Zenica, and University of Tuzla, December 3-9th. Check back in for full schedule dates and times! The Readings and Workshops are funded by the Iowa Arts Council, TheNational Endowment for the Arts, and a grant from Iowa State University.

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