It's often said of poetry that there's a kind of music to it.  You'll get no disagreement there from Stephen Rodgers

He's a professor of music theory and musicianship at the University of Oregon, and his research focuses on the relationship between poetry and music.  19th century composers get Rodgers's greatest scrutiny. 

This month's edition of Curious: Research Meets Radio features a visit with the professor. 

Emily_Dickinson_daguerreotype.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10602252

Emily Dickinson is revered for her poetry, yet still something of an enigma.  No one is quite sure why she was so reclusive later in life, spending nearly all of her time at home. 

Lest anyone think she spent all of her time in her room writing, we have the new book Emily Dickinson's Gardening Life: The Plants and Places That Inspired the Iconic Poet.  Dickinson tended a garden outside and plants in her home. 

Richard Blanco has traveled many miles since his appearance reading his poetry at the second Obama inaugural in 2013. 

And his travels have taken him to Southern Oregon more than once, including his spending time this summer at the Young Artists Institute at Southern Oregon University.  YAI is for high school students to develop their already-demonstrated artistic skills; Richard Blanco will teach creative writing. 

His latest book of poems, out this year, is How to Love a Country

Lewis and Clark College

Reading the name of Oregon's current Poet Laureate can make people do a double-take.  Because his name is Stafford.  Kim Stafford

He is the ninth poet laureate of the state, and the second with the name Stafford; his father William also held the job in the 70s and 80s. 

Kim Stafford has made his own way in the world of literature, writing and teaching poetry and prose. 


We certainly live in an inspiring place.  It's almost like poetry. 

But there are plenty of people who write poetry from and about the region.  They include Tim Applegate and Pepper Trail, who will share a live poetry session at Bloomsbury Books in Ashland on Monday, April 1st. 


When people call Richard Blanco "the inaugural poet," they don't mean that he's the first poet ever. 

But he is rare, in that he recited his poetry at a presidential inauguration (Obama II, 2013).  There's much to Blanco's work, from poetry to memoir and beyond. 

He brings his talents back to Ashland at the invitation of Chautauqua Poets & Writers (tonight, April 16). 

Marylhurst University

It only took a few thousand years, but Oregon has its first official Native American Poet Laureate. 

Elizabeth Woody was named Oregon Poet Laureate by Governor Kate Brown last year. 

Woody is member of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, a writer in several genres and a visual artist as well. 

She visits Ashland for a speaking engagement (May 11), and drops by the studio for a visit. 

İncelemeelemani, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32889117

You have to be a VERY good poet for your work to still be revered hundreds of years after you die. 

Even Shakespeare's work has not been esteemed as long as the work of the Persian poet generally known as Rumi.  He died in the 13th century, but his work is still held in high regard today. 

In fact, several days of Rumi events are planned for this week in the Ashland area.  Andrew Harvey will participate, reading and exploring the poet's work. 

Southern Oregon Stars Of "Poetry Out Loud"

Mar 17, 2016
Oregon Arts Commission

Speaking to an audience: check.  Speaking to an audience without notes: uhh, check.  Speaking to an audience without notes and in verse: okay, this is where we lose most people. 

But this is the essence of the Poetry Out Loud competition for high school students across the country. 

Oregon's winner came from the Portland area, but he got stiff competition from Southern Oregon.  Chad Moncus, Olivia Frakes, and Sadie Swartout, all from the Medford area, all took part. 


Open wide and get ready to take a bite of a "poetry sandwich." 

Rogue Valley resident Daniel Sperry is both poet and cellist, and he combines his skills by alternating spoken word with music.  Voila: Poetry Sandwich. 

The 102nd birthday of the late Oregon poet William Stafford will be observed tonight (Jan. 21) at Southern Oregon University's Hannon Library, and guess what's on the menu? 

Poet Kwame Dawes Visits Southern Oregon

Oct 16, 2015

It's not every day you meet a poet who has won an Emmy Award, but you start today. 

Kwame Dawes is a poet, yes, but also a writer of novels and nonfiction works, including a book analyzing the lyrics of the late reggae musician Bob Marley. 

Dawes is Ghanaian by birth, but raised in Jamaica, and in Ashland at the invitation of Chautauqua Poets & Writers. 

He drops by the studio to talk about his body of work.

Geoffrey Riley/JPR

California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera joined us on the Jefferson Exchange on Wednesday morning, October 16 (full audio here).

And when we asked him to share some of his work, he delivered a new poem, just written this morning on hotel stationery in Ashland.

Chautauqua Poets and Writers

Both of our states can boast of official Poet Laureates, and today we meet with California's. 

Juan Felipe Herrera is a prolific poet, a professor at the University of California-Riverside, and the winner of several awards for his work.