Show Spotlight: The Poetry Show

Daphne Stanford, host of The Poetry Show, Sundays on KRBXThe power of the written and spoken word can echo through the soul forever. Daphne Stanford takes this exploration of the human spirit seriously (and sometimes not so seriously) as she welcomes guests weekly to The Poetry Show, one of the station’s flagship Arts & Issues programs.

The Poetry Show airs live every Sunday from 5 – 5:30 PM or listen anytime on Radio Free America’s archive.

How long have you been hosting The Poetry Show? What drew you to take on this show?

I’ve hosted the show since August of 2012, so going on seven years now. I wanted an excuse to stay current on the poetry world and to become connected to the poetry community – after graduating with an MFA from University of Oregon – both locally and on a national level. And just to keep learning and reading; it’s so important to me to keep learning something new all the time.

Boise’s literary scene is growing and expanding more. It’s an exciting time to witness that change. I consider it a responsibility to reach out to all the different schools of poetry in town and find a common platform for new and emerging writers, as well as more seasoned poets, to share their work with the community at large, via radio.

For those who may not be familiar with your show, how would you describe its format / feel?

I interview poets live or via phone (if they live out of town) for many of my shows. The others are made up of either themed shows based around themes – say Black History Month or the sonnet- and I put together a collection of curated poems from that theme.

The interviews are the most fun, though, since they contain an exciting element of unpredictability that is spontaneous and energetic, and I learn a lot from other writers through dialogue and hearing the work [performed] live.

So it’s a show that’s hopefully enjoyable for not only writers of poetry but also those new to writing or who simply want to hear something different and unexpected for half an hour on a Sunday afternoon.

How did you discover Radio Boise?

I remember hearing about a training meeting in 2011 via a friend, and I thought, “I want to do that!”

So I attended and, after a failed attempt at a radio theatre show (which has luckily been partially fulfilled by Stray Theatre), as well as sitting in on Drift Correction and Femme Fatale as the weekly poetry guest, I finally started my show in 2012.

What can you not stop listening to these days?

I’ve been listening to EMA, in anticipation of her upcoming set at Treefort, as well as St. Vincent, The National, Thom Yorke’s instrumental music (first heard on Sleepwalker) and The Glands- which I discovered via fellow Radio Boise DJs Wayne Birt and Joe Pollard.

In terms of poetry, I have Dorianne Laux’s newest collection, Only As the Day is Long: New and Selected, on my radar, as well as our Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s new curated podcast/newsletter with daily poetry selections sent to my inbox daily. It’s called “The Slowdown,” and you can sign up if you’re curious!

I also recently picked up Martin Corless-Smith’s latest collection, The Fool & the Bee, which is set up as a series of dramatic acts- really interesting to me, since I’m constantly fascinated by hybrid forms.

What is going on in the Treasure Valley that you’re excited about?

Treefort is on my mind a lot these days. I’m really looking forward to hearing all the Treefort writers, especially Sarah Manguso, Ashley Toliver and Tommy Orange. There will be performances by Migration Theory, as well as a Horrific Puppet Affair performance and Boise Contemporary Theater 5 x 5 reading that I’m hoping to catch. Also, a podcast called “The Dork Forest” will feature a live podcast recording and, well, anything by that title earns points in my proverbial book, without even trying.

Do you have a ritual surrounding your show? You know, a ritual meal or a certain artist you have to play?

Not really, other than needing to have a mug full of tea or coffee and a notebook with pen in hand, regardless of whether I’m referring to it or not.

If there are any rituals, they involve getting lost in the stacks of the BSU library and/or Boise Public Library, looking for inspiration and an excuse to visit a library. I love libraries with a passion; they comfort me, for some reason. I think it’s because some of my favorite memories and best experiences have involved discovering a book I didn’t realize existed, until I found it in a library.

What other Radio Boise shows do you listen to?

I listen to tons of other shows, but the ones I’ve tuned in to most regularly are probably Strange Feeling and Sleepwalker, along with Range Life, Daybreak Syndicate and Drift Correction – for more ambient music. I also appreciate the Post-Punk leanings of The Daft Manifesto and Smoke and Mirrors, which, given my musical predilection toward the the eighties, makes sense, I suppose. I also appreciate Beth Markley’s Vital Idaho and Democracy Now.

What other kinds of things keep you busy outside of radio?

I get outside and up into the foothills as often as possible – though the winter has made me appreciate long walks through urban landscapes anew, and there’s something fascinating to me about observing people from afar. Must be the whole writer thing: we’re all closet journalists or documenters of the mundane, which actually isn’t so mundane, after all, when examined from a new angle.

I also have a secret/not-so-secret affinity for karaoke and nerdy hangouts like places with lots of video games, books or records. Without naming names, you can probably figure out a few local places I’m referring to.

Why do you believe volunteering for community radio is important?

Volunteering for community radio is a wonderful way to connect to a number of different networks in our community, from the literary community to young people doing artistic things to other non-profits and arts communities making a difference in Boise.

It’s a way for folks to connect to local and national goings-on in a people-powered, democratic manner that isn’t tied to ticket sales or making a profit. Just like libraries, we exist as an independent, vital voice for people in our community.

Plus being in the DJ booth and the somewhat-nerdy art of radio broadcasting is just a lot of fun! And I get to meet other radio nerds who happen to be really knowledgeable about a lot of cool stuff. I’m always learning something that surprises me!

Daphne Stanford hosts The Poetry Show every Sunday at 5 PM.

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