Issue 23. March 2021 updates

Welcome to ESCHORAMA newsletter: creations from Jim’s workbench. If you are a first time visitor, sign up for a free email subscription so you won’t miss upcoming issues.


Hello all, I’m back with a quick update on creative projects I’ve completed in the last few weeks. Most of my creative energy has been flowing into podcasts of late, so we’ll be going heavy with connections to recent episodes. 

The author making connections in the dark.

The English Suite

I’m happy with the way the English Suite podcast is developing. There is no shortage of show ideas, and thankfully a set of very capable undergraduate students are on board, assisting in all kinds of ways: recording intros and outros, brainstorming show and segment ideas, and even producing their own content. 

In February, I produced a Black History Month special, featuring Widener students, alumni, and faculty reading favorite poems and passages by African-American writers. The readings are emotionally moving and the cumulative effect is one of celebration. I love how the podcasting format allows me to draw content from multiple sources and recombine them into a  most powerful creative juggernaut. Thanks to all who contributed content to this episode! 

The next episode featured Widener’s Spring semester visiting writer, poet Ruben Quesada. Ruben gave a public reading over Zoom, and we included some snippets from that event, as well as commentary from Dr. Jessica Guzman and an interview with the author conducted by undergraduate student Matt Lomas. It is nice to be able to use the podcast to commemorate the visit. Ruben’s latest book of poems is Revelations. For more information, see https://www.rubenquesada.com/

In early March I posted an interview with author Jane Rosenberg LaForge, who had two new books come out the month before: a novel and a poetry collection.

Jane delivers an unforgettable reading of a punk rock scene from the novel that is not to be missed! Find out more about Jane’s work at https://www.janerosenberglaforge.com/

After the Jane show, I passed the baton to Widener students Cloë di Flumeri and Christina Giska, who conducted an interview with Widener French professor Stephanie Schechner. Stephanie translated a novel by French author Mireille Best called Camille in October.

It’s a great interview, and I’m proud of the students for jumping in and doing such a fantastic job. Camille in October is distributed through University of Chicago Press.

And today, I just released the latest episode, a conversation with Widener alum Emma Irving, who is forging a path in the publishing world.

Recently Emma announced the publication of her first creative writing pieces—two nonfiction flashes in Millennial Pulp Literary Magazine. Congrats Emma! I enjoyed our free ranging discussion and look forward to having you back on the air very soon. 

Yes, you could say The English Suite is “cooking with gas,” and even more tasty dishes will be served in the coming months. Stay tuned, and please subscribe to the podcast at Anchor.fm.

Podula Rasa

Dave Blank and I have also been cranking out new episodes of the Podula Rasa podcast. Here’s the thumbnail rundown.

Life is but a stream…running on empty. A stream of consciousness conversation Dave and I had about albums, Steven Wilson remixes, music streaming platforms, toy Buddhas, memories of G-man grandparents, fathers in wartime, punk rock Sphinxes, and Dave’s hair-brained scheme for getting Brian Eno’s lawyers to sue us. 

Behind the Music: The Legend of the Skull Farmers. In this installment of our ongoing thread the Thom Williams Experience, Dave talked with Jeff Alulis, a New York Times bestselling author, filmmaker, musician, and former lead singer of Dead Kennedys.

Photo by Aaron Settipane

Jeff was a student of Thom’s at Marple Newtown High School. He shares many wild and entertaining stories about classroom interactions and creative collaborations with Thom, including the music demo he and his friends made in Thom’s class as The Skull Farmers, a parody Death Metal group. Dave underpins the episode with swooshy, psychedelic guitar textures. Jeff’s memory lane tour is a wonderful testament to the impact a teacher can have on a student’s creative path. A seriously cool episode. 

Dave’s Dream: Got Transcendence? Dave sent me an email about a cool dream he had, and we turned it into a deep sea dive exploration of Atman, Anatman, Narcissus, the conservation of energy, entropy, true self, transcendence, metaphysics and non-duality. We also had fun co-creating some instrumental music which you’ll hear early in the episode. Dave did the guitars and backwards masking vocal. I did the drums and synth lead. Here’s a copy of the track on Dave’s soundcloud:

Writing Updates

In preparation for a faculty/staff poetry reading at my University in early April, I’ve been dusting off old drafts and writing some new material for my five minute time slot, but I’ll hold off on sharing anything poetic until after the fact. The Widener Poets Reading will be held Wednesday April 7 at 7 PM over Zoom. Register for the event here.  


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Till next time, be well, friends, and keep in touch!