Sunday, May 27, 2007

Recording my poems for WKCR 89.9 FM

This afternoon I recorded the reading of my poems for a literary radio show called Art Waves, put out by WKCR FM New York (89.9 FM, www.wkcr.org on the net), a radio station in New York City with a daily listening audience of approximately 11 million. My reading will be a small part of the show's highlight of the new press, Poets Wear Prada. That feature will be broadcast sometime in August.

After the recording, I realized afresh how much I detest talking about my poems. Anne Fiero, the producer and interviewer, was prepared and easy to talk to, so she was not the problem. But how do you talk about your own poems on air and not come off as a pretentious prick, with a smarmy smirk? The poems are what they are, verbal artefacts, and commentary on them reduces them to paraphrase or simplifies them to abstractions. I should have been stronger, and declined talking about the poems, after reading them.

Anyway, the show is not about me but about Roxanne's demanding baby, so I am glad to contribute something to the establishment of her press. Other literary magazines/presses featured on Art Waves include Rattapallax Press, The Rose & Thorn, Watchword Press and The First Line, and so the show cannot do Poets Wear Prada much harm.

7 comments:

Greg said...

But isn't there a way of talking about poetry that isn't simplifying paraphrasing? What about when people say things like "This is what it was like for me to write this poem..." or "This is what it was like for me to read this poem..." or "This is what *I* make of this poem (though others may see it differently), and here is where my experience of the poem comes from..."?

What is it like for you to read commentary on your poems that people post to this blog? Are there some types of commentary that do you good, and other types of commentary that don't? And if so, how would you characterize the unhelpful and helpful types of commentary?

red said...

hey jee!!

is the recording available overseas? haha..

and! your newly uploaded photo looks pretty dynamic! got a photographer? just that your face ain't in the light.

Rui said...

adding on the greg's questions, do you think there's a difference between talking about your poems to an audience that can't talk back (eg radio show), and discussing your poems with pple who can and do (eg workshop)?

Jee Leong Koh said...

Hi all,

I like talking about other people's poems (what I get from them, what's good, what's bad etc.) but I don't like talking about my own. Perhaps it's because I haven't found a satisfying way to talk about them. After finishing a poem, I feel it is as much a mystery to me as it is to another reader. The writer and I shared certain experiences, but we are two different people. Workshop discussions feel different as they are about the nuts and bolts of the writing, and they take place during the process of writing.

I think the recording will be archived on the radio station website, so I will try to post the recording on my blog, for whoever is interested.

Red said...

Count me in! Jee, i miss you works of art!

Jee Leong Koh said...

Thanks, red. When school is over, I hope to write and revise in earnest.

red said...

i'm definitely aniticipating..

jee, you're the greatest! =)