Poet Molly Fisk turns her radio essays into new book
Award-winning poet Molly Fisk has a new book coming out, but there’s hardly a poem to be found in it.
Instead, it’s a print collection of Fisk’s radio essays, which are heard at 6:25 p.m. Thursdays on the KVMR “Evening News” and will be featured at 8:15 a.m. Friday on “The Morning Show” (KVMR 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming) during the final week of the station’s 35th birthday on-air membership drive celebration.
The book, “Blow Drying A Chicken,” features “the cream of the crop” from Fisk’s nine years and 293 original essays. “But who’s counting?” grins Molly.
She describes the selections as “a slice of a poet’s life,” delightfully capturing episodes in her life in Nevada County, ranging from her humorous attempt at bowling, evocative wordsmithing sitting in her mother’s house after her death, and cantankerous attitudes about modern romance. The book is riddled with satirical looks and whimsical takes on lifestyles, customs and everyday life.
Fisk plans a book rollout later this year, but she’s donating copies to the current KVMR on-air fundraiser, with the new book, plus a bonus audio CD of 20 essays, for a membership gift to KVMR of $89.50 (in honor of the station’s frequency) or an ongoing $7.50 a month contribution. New or renewing supporters can get the book-CD package via the station website, kvmr.org, or through its membership department at 530-265-9073, ext. 203.
“That station is why there’s a book in the first place. I owe them a lot,” she said. “So if you want to be the first kid on your block with an autographed copy, support your local down-home, stand-up, straight-ahead, 24-hour community radio station.”
The transition from published poet (now three books) to radio essayist began when then-KVMR news producer Carolyn Crane invited Molly to do a weekly commentary in 2004.
“They (poems and essays) are both short forms, and that might say something about my attention span,” Fisk jokes.
“For me as a writer, the poetry is more work — it takes more of my presence and preparedness and a lot more polishing.”
According to Fisk, the commentaries — known as “Observations Of A Working Poet” — are also work but “a very different kind.”
“The form comes more naturally to me,” she admits. “They’re kind of like writing letters to a friend. The trick is not to be glib, or boring.”
But the rigid time restrictions have taught Molly something as well.
“The radio essay format of three minutes has taught me more about editing than anything else I’ve ever done,” she explains. “Now I can turn a sentence into a pretzel if it will help me meet that time requirement.”
And with help from a KVMR grant through funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Fisk’s recorded essays are gradually expanding across the country. In addition to the eclectic Nevada City station, she’s now heard regularly on other stations in California, Colorado, Illinois and Wisconsin.
She’s hoping the book will be another way of reaching a larger audience for her essays
“As I was mulling over how to take over the world in this manner (via radio features), the idea of a book returned to hit me over the head,” mused Fisk.
According to Fisk, radio “is a good medium to turn into books, so people can read again what they have heard and maybe want to think further about.”
And Fisk has a bit of an online audience to give her a kickstart. She currently has 4,501 Facebook friends. “But who’s counting?” she replies.
35 years and counting
Longtime KVMR Saturday afternoon broadcasters Wesley Robertson and Thomas Greener have something up their sleeve this week when they co-host a three hour special 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday (KVMR 89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming)
They will play highlights of the station’s 35 years of Americana music programming, including stories and songs associated with KVMR country and rock music personalities and hosts from the station’s early era.
It’s all part of the station’s birthday celebration and special summer membership drive (530-265-9555 for those wanting to join or donate to the station).
Also, “Diamonds and Rust” host Laura Miller will feature the musical life and times of Gordon Lightfoot, also Saturday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.(KVMR 89.5 FM, kvmr.org).
Meanwhile, the popular “Cannabis Crusades” program does a membership drive encore at noon this Friday.
A weekly wrap-up of news and oddities about community radio station KVMR (89.5 FM, kvmr.org streaming), a noncommercial station offering diverse musical programming, independent news and provocative public affairs from about 150 volunteer “citizen-broadcasters.” Complete program listings are available at kvmr.org.
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