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01-02-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report :
Oscar Bermeo Reads at Caesar Chavez Library :
"I could be a poet."

By Kathryn Petruccelli

Bermeo was born in Ecuador, raised in the Bronx and currently makes him home in Oakland, California where he edits Tea Party magazine. In only seven years, he's seen his work widely published and anthologized, featuring everywhere from Columbia University to San Quentin Prison. Here, he will read two poems from his chapbook Palimpsest: “The Story of How Pigeon Came to Live in the City” and “Ghazal.” The title of the latter is also its form — the ancient Arabic verse using couplets. In it, he assumes the voice of his mom working through poverty and single-parenthood to raise her son. During this second poem, you'll hear a small child taken noisily from the proceedings. I'd refer you back to Baca's comments on children and their welcome at his venues, their crying and its inevitability.

01-01-09: Agony Column Podcast News Report :
Jimmy Santiago Baca Reads at Caesar Chavez Library

By Kathryn Petruccelli

Baca spoke at several venues while in the Monterey Bay area, including Rancho Cielo, (a campus serving at-risk and disadvantaged youth with alternative education). The main event for some came with his time at the Cesar Chavez Library in Salinas, California. The Chavez Library is a fitting setting for Baca — in part because of the demographic of Salinas (majority Latino and Chicano), but even more so because the power of books is such a big part of the message he delivers.

Baca is introduced by the library's program director, Garland Thompson. In this address to a more-than-full house, the poet dreams of a world in which everyone in jail ended up there because they stole books and where the kids in the poor barrios grow rich from their ingenious ideas for greening the world. He reads some of his poetry, including the first poem he ever wrote some thirty years ago — a love poem — from his collection Immigrants in Our Own Land. Ultimately, however, Baca is a storyteller, and this appearance is no exception.

12-31-08:Agony Column Podcast News Report :
A 2008 Interview with Jimmy Santiago Baca Conducted by Kathryn Petruccelli

Thirty years have passed and over a dozen books published since Jimmy Santiago Baca taught himself to read and write in prison. This esteemed Chicano author has gone on to win the Pushcart Prize, the American Book Award, the International Hispanic Heritage Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship, and other honors. His screenplay “Bound by Honor” was produced by Hollywood Pictures. He's currently at work on a novel. Baca's non-profit Cedar Tree, Inc. offers workshops on writing and literature for under-served communities with the goal of transforming lives.

I caught up with Baca at his hotel in Salinas, California in November of this year when he came out on a grant bestowed on the Salinas Public Libraries. Always a live-wire, Baca uses our conversation to speculate on everything from feminism to Jerry Seinfeld. Oh yeah, and writing.

12-30-08:Agony Column Podcast News Report :
A Conversation With Jeremy Lassen About Eclipse Two : Signing Up SF

Jeremy Lassen started Night Shade Books in large part to reprint a treasure trove of lost and out-of print classic genre fiction, from Manley Wade Wellman to Clark Ashton Smith. But he's gone well beyond this initial plan. This month sees the release of 'Eclipse Two,' the second installment in an all-original speculative fiction series. As the economy contracts and the world falls apart around us, are we really ready to read new science fiction stories? The Eclipse series follows in the footsteps of some very famous publishing ventures, and you can find out what Jeremy thinks of them in this link to the MP3 audio file.

12-29-08: Agony Column Podcast Interview : A 2008 Interview with Anne Ishii : Bat Manga Translated

When Chip Kidd discovered 'Bat-Manga,' he knew he had a treasure trove on his hands. He also knew he'd need someone to translate the work and that was Anne Ishii. I talked to Anne about her work with Kidd at Vertical and her work on Bat-Manga. The real steal in this interview is to get a woman's take on all this compulsive male collecting, and Anne provides just that insight in this linked MP3 interview

New to the Agony Column

04-29-13: Commentary : Ben Katchor Catalogues 'Hand Drying in America' : Subversive Cities of the Heart

Agony Column Podcast News Report : : A 2013 Interview with Ben Katchor : "...people are hesitant to make their own building into a ruin..."

04-28-13: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: : Time to Read Episode 95: Ben Katchor : Hand Drying in America

04-27-13: Commentary : Mark Morris Introduces 'Toady' : A New World of Horror

Agony Column Podcast News Report : : Thomas Frank from The Easy Chair and Harper's Magazine: TV's DC Fantasies : "... basically, everyone is corrupt ..."

04-22-13: Commentary : Danielle Trussoni Maps 'Angelopolis' : The Afterlife of Angels

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2013 Interview with Danielle Trussoni : "I wanted it to be accurate...absolutely accurate."

04-21-13: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 94: Danielle Trussoni : Angelopolis

04-17-13: Commentary : How Not to Leave the House : Reach for the Recycling

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Matt Richtel, Sophie Littlefield and Terry Bisson at SF in SF on February 9, 2013 : "You cannot do this all day long." Sophie Littlefield

04-16-13: Commentary : Stephen Kessler 'Scratch Pegasus' : Lens of Language

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2013 Interview with Stephen Kessler : "..knit a formal coherence by way of sound and rhythm..."

04-14-13: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE : Time to Read Episode 93: Stephen Kessler : Scratch Pegasus

04-09-13: Commentary : Paul McComas & Greg Starrett Sew Up 'Fit for a Frankenstein' : Hands All on Gretl

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Matt Richtel Reads at SF in SF on February 9, 2013 : "I'm much more interested in the mental miasma..."

04-08-13: Commentary : Ruth Ozeki Clocks 'A Tale for the Time Being' : Reading is the Future

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2013 Interview with Ruth Ozeki : "...through the act of writing, she would somehow conjure the reader into being..."

04-07-13: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 92: Ruth Ozeki : : A Tale for the Time Being

04-06-13: Agony Column Podcast News Report UPDATE: Time to Read Episode 91: Lawrence Wright : : Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief

04-04-13: Commentary : Danielle Trussoni Excavates 'Angelology' : Gothic Girl

Agony Column Podcast News Report : Three Books With Alan Cheuse : : 'A Tale for the Time Being' by Ruth Ozeki, 'Odds Against Tomorrow' by Nathaniel Rich and 'Pandemonium' by Warren Fahy

04-02-13: Commentary : MacKenzie Bezos Sets 'Traps' : Need to Know

Agony Column Podcast News Report : A 2013 Interview with MacKenzie Bezos : "...without intention or recognition, we're playing important roles in the lives of other people..."

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