Radio Dial, photo by Fernando Candeias.
Radio Dial, photo by Fernando Candeias.
John Giorno, Dial-A-Poem #6 (1975)
Hosted by Charles Ruas
Originally aired 1/14/11

This segment of Dial-a-Poem features American poet and performance artist John Giorno muses with co-producers and interviewers Charles Ruas and Linda Perry over the pragmatic-yet-existential dilemmas faced by poets (a poem just doesn’t sell like a painting), and also tells why he hasn’t read any poetry lately and why he’s friends more with artists than with poets.

Giorno has compiled a playlist of poems from a varied and radical group of poets: Edwin Denby (reading The Shoulder, Over Manhattan Island, Disorder Mental Strikes Me, and Suppose There's a Cranky Woman Inside Me), Helen Adam (reading Cheerless Junky Song), Diane DiPrima (reading Ave), John Cage (reading Moreau), Denise Levertov (reading Life at War), Kenneth Koch (reading Spring), John Ashbery (reading A Blessing in Disguise), and Charles Stein reading one of his Seed Poems. This program is courtesy of the Pacifica Radio Archives.

These poets riff off of everything and anything from the Vietnam War to New York City; prayer as poetic form to tongue twister as poetic form; poem as irreverent mini-musical to poem as word-music; writing on the quotidian to writing a poem that resists discussion.
(61 minutes)