Monday, April 21, 2008

DYI: Blogtalkradio / Letters to the Editor @ LPR

The Washington Post published a piece that caught my eye a few weeks ago about something called "Blogtalkradio." It seemed there was a technology on the web that would allow anyone with a phone, a computer, and an internet connection to have a "radio show." What I found appealing about the concept was that after the so-called "show" was "broadcast" (on the internet), it would remain in an archive as a podcast that anyone could subsequently listen to.

A few days after that, Craig Perez made mention of being interviewed and sharing some of his poems on what appeared to be a setup of this nature. (I say this because he mentioned "a mic and a laptop." But come to think of it: Blogtalkradio doesn't require host and guest to be in the same room; in essence, it's a recorded phone conversation that can include as many as six speakers. So perhaps it wasn't the same setup.)

Last week, I got an e-mail announcing, specifically, a forthcoming blogtalkradio show featuring Yusef Komunyakka and Sasha Feinstein (it took place on April 16). It included a link to blogtalkradio's website. I couldn't resist. I clicked. I looked around, browsed, heard a few snippets of this and that. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was creating an account and a profile and committing to a half hour slot for Sunday, April 20 at 11 PM eastern time! I had no idea if I'd be able to navigate the instructions. The site advised against using a cell phone and said that land-lines provided better sound quality, etc. etc. What was I getting myself into?

I had created what I'm calling the "audio segment" or "companion" to Latino Poetry Review (LPR). I threw up a description. Afterwards, I couldn't decide if I'd just do the first show on my own as a test run, maybe reading a few poems (by others: something I always like to do) with commentary, or if I might persuade someone to "be my guest." All the deliberate, long term planning that went into launching Latino Poetry Review (LPR)---well over a year's worth---was thrown out the window where this new LPR-related venture was concerned! I heard the Nike commercial throbbing in my ear: Just Do It.

And so I did. It easily ranks as the most impulsive, least thought out initiative, where Letras Latinas is concerned. But in the days leading up to the "show" I have to admit that the prospect of having an audio forum that would allow for further discussion and sharing of poems and ideas related to LPR's mission seemed both appealing and fun. I'm very grateful to the guest who accepted my invitation to, in essence, be a guinea pig.

After listening to the result last night at around 11:40 PM, which my guest generously claimed in a later e-mail was "pretty good for a first go around!", I think I can safely say the shows can only get better. I feel like a student in Radio 101 who has just turned in his first assignment and is thankful he's taking the course pass/fail.

My inaugural guest has graciously agreed to offer further feedback over e-mail about how the experience felt and how it could be improved. Readers of this blog who take the time to listen through the show are welcome, of course, to offer feedback and ideas for future shows---keeping in mind LPR's mission.

Latino Poetry Review's inaugural audio segment featured LPR contributing editor, María Meléndez, who read some work from her collection, How Long She'll Last In This World, as well as work from her second, full-length manucript. She also shared some thoughts on what I guess I'm coming to view as the continuing "Selinger-Huerta asunto"

And speaking of which: the ILS webmaster informs me, as I type this, in an e-mail: "OK it's up." He is referring to a "letter to the editor" Eric Selinger has written in response to Javier Huerta's thought-provoking "letter" in response to Selinger's piece in LPR, which originally appeared in Parnassus. To read them both, click here.

And finally, on this Monday morning, a hearty congratulations to Daniel A. Olivas who announces today the publication of Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press, 2008)


javier said...


I really ejoyed the audio segment. I look forward to future blogtalk radio stuff.

Maria is right about the conflict between the hombres and the mujeres. I'm in a Xican@ Culture Working Group with a couple of Chicanas who are always reminding me not to forget about the Chicana poets. I recommend Gloria's Borderlands: the New Mestiza and Ana Castillo's Massacre of the Dreamers for those who may be interested in Chicana critiques of the machismo in the Chicano movimiento and Mexican(American) culture in general.

I really love Maria's "The Simpsons" poem.

bjanepr said...

Francisco, I am looking forward to hearing this. I am hearing good things about Maria's talk on women in rel. to the literary scene/movement. This is very similar to the SF Bay Area and West Coast Filipino American literary scene which is popularly dominated by so many forefather figures and their literary works dealing with generally masculine (early 20th c. migrant laborers, war veterans, et al) experiences.

I echo Javier on recommending Gloria Anzaldua. And while I haven't yet read Sheryl Luna's book, Oscar has said some very good things about it.

Francisco Aragón said...

It nice to know someone is actually listening to this (or is going to listen to it). It's an incentive to keep this strand of the LPR project alive. Thank you, Javier, Barbara.

Rich Villar said...

Oye Francisco,

Four poets and scholars affiliated with Acentos discussed community spaces, Latino/a poetry, spoken word, and the like last night right after the show. Part of the interview will be up tomorrow as part of Acentos' inaugural podcast. :-)

Serendipity is a wonderful thing.


Francisco Aragón said...

An ACENTOS podcast? Cool. Looking forward to it.

Weight Loss Warrior said...

very nice said javier, now as for marias the simpsons poem i beg the defer

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