Cover to Cover with Jack Foley is a celebration of poetry as it was, as it is, and as it shall be. Poet/critic Dana Gioia writes that Foley’s show “may be the best thing of its kind in the country” (turnrow, 2004). Since 1988 Foley has presented current poets of all schools in interviews that seek for depth rather than fashion. One poet remarked to Foley, “You’ve made me see my work in a new way.” His classic “Poetpourri” shows—a wide-ranging exploration of American and English poetry in the 20th century—are a testimony to the sheer diversity of American and English poetic expression in the 20th century. “Though various themes emerge,” writes Foley, “there is no one theme—or even two or three—to make it all ‘cohere.’ (These people cannot even agree on how a poem should be recited.) It’s a potpourri, a poetpourri.” He has interviewed extremely well-known poets such as Allen Ginsberg, Al Young, Dana Gioia, Michael McClure, Jerome Rothenberg, Diane di Prima, Kathleen Fraser, Ishmael Reed, Francisco X. Alarcon, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti as well as local lights such as Mary Rudge, Nina Serrano, and Ivan Argüelles. He has presented programs on Beowulf, on Romantic poetry, on “ethnic” poetry and has gone out of his way to find work that has been neglected: his shows on Clark Ashton Smith and Donald Sidney-Fryer attracted attention. Foley’s ability as a critic, his considerable historical knowledge, and his awareness of the current “scene”—including “spoken word” poetry—have all been poured into his radio shows and have made them a kaleidoscopic, always stimulating attraction for anyone interested in poetry—and even for people who are not. “Jack Foley,” remarked poet Kathleen Fraser, “is a fine poet, a man in love with his life, a contributor to the good.”
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