Word S5:E5 — National Poetry Month Part 2 — The Valley Of The Poet

By Tom Maxedon
Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 5:05am
Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 4:29pm

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Rosemarie Dombrowski
Rosemarie Dombrowski served as the Phoenix Poet Laureate until the end of 2020. She is a staple at Arizona State University and originator/editor of rinky dink press.

National Poetry Month continues and after a virtual trip to Tucson last episode, we come back to the “Valley of the Poet” and explore some intriguing questions.

Jia Oak Baker
Shawnte Orion is co-author/collaborator of "Gravity and Spectacle," a 2020 collection of poems by him and photography by Jia Oak Baker. He is also an editor at rinky dink press.

Shawnte Orion leads our podcast and is one of the editors of rinky dink press that focuses on micro-collections of poetry in a microzine form priced right: $1.  

To date, the press has published over 80 single-author micro-collections.

This month, they’ve also been producing video pop-up readings, like this one from Randy Heflin Jr. and his work, "Long Tall Scally."

Orion discusses publishing and inspirations for his own writing, some of which was shaped by his travels as a child with his mom who brought him to the Valley at young age.

Last year, he and poet/photographer Jia Oak Baker released their poems and photography in the collection, “Gravity and Spectacle.” He reads one of the poems from that book, "Forever Like The Stamp On Your Wrist."

Plus, Imogen Arate is a fellow podcaster who hosts “Poets and Muses,” an award-winning weekly podcast on which she chats with poets about their inspirations.

Imogen is an Asian American and we discuss how she has been coping with seclusion over the last year as well as recent news about the high number of hate crimes directed at Asian Americans. She reads her poem, "Eliminating Temptations," first published by The New Verse News. It's a response to the recent shooting deaths of Asian women in Atlanta.

Imogen Arate
"Mask" by Imogen Arate (2020).

Finally, we close out this edition with Rosemarie Dombrowski. Her tenure as Phoenix poet laureate ended last year. The city did not renew the position for 2021 and beyond.

Poets who have been conducting what we might call “Zoomoetry” over the course of this last year have reacted to the use of teleconferencing in a variety of ways.

Some say it’s been a drag not to engage in person with their audiences. Others have seen their work expand to national and international audiences as a result.

Jia Oak Baker
Jia Oak Baker is a writer, teacher, editor and photographer. As an Asian American, she often explores the concept of the “Other” and identity.

About this time last year, Rosemarie and I were scheduled to sit down in person to talk poetry, but pandemic protocols were instituted at our studios and we’ve been talking to guests exclusively online or over the phone ever since.

We review “Our Zoomdemic Year,” and talk about theraputic writing. She also reads her Emily Dickinson-inspired poem, "The Mornings Are Quiter Than They Were — An Elegy For 2020."  

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