The Wonder Years

The Extraordinary Dale Davis and poet Jordan Smith hang out with me to talk about the poetry scene in Rochester during the 70's, a particularly fertile period that birthed many of the important literary and cultural institutions within the community. It's a fascinating look at an important time in Rochester.

About Dale Davis:
Dale Davis’ career as a writer, educator, publisher, scholar, producer, dramaturge, and advocate for young people began as one of the founding poets of New York State Poets In The Schools. As a publisher she established The Sigma Foundation, a limited edition, private press with Dr. James Sibley Watson, Jr., avant-garde filmmaker and publisher and editor of The Dial magazine, the leading modernist journal of arts and letters. In 1979, she founded The New York State Literary Center, which currently serves NYSLC serves incarcerated adults through interdisciplinary, strength based arts programs, and where she continues to serve Executive Director. Writers, editors, and artists who have worked with Dale Davis as integral contributors to NYSLC’s programs included Robert Creeley, Malcolm Cowley, Robert Fitzgerald, Kamilah Forbes, Jonathan Galassi, Hugh Kenner, Ted Kooser, James Laughlin, Octavio Paz, William Stafford, Carrie Mae Weems, and Eliot Weinberger.In 2014, she received the Andrew P. Meloni Award from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for dedication and commitment to improve the education of those incarcerated through NYSLC’s arts, education, and rehabilitation programs. She was one of the founders of the Association of Teaching Artists (ATA). In 2006 she became the Association of Teaching Artists’ first Executive Director where she continues to serve. Davis initiated the ATA’s distinguished Service Award in 2002 and ATA’s National Teaching Artist Appreciation Week in 2012. Her installations, combining the writing of young people and her own photographs, have been exhibited in several prominent venues. She has written hip-hop theater pieces, adapted from the writing of the young people with whom she works that have been performed in juvenile justice facilities, prisons, and jails across the country. Her writing has appeared in publications from The Iowa Review to Op-Ed in The New York Times.

About Jordan Smith:

Jordan Smith is the author of seven full length volumes of poetry, most recently The Names of Things Are Leaving, The Light in the Film, and Clare's Empire, as well as three chapbooks; his poetry and fiction have appeared in journals including AGNI, ANTAEUS, BIG FICTION, THE PARIS REVIEW, AMERICAN SHORT FICTION, POETRY, SALMAGUNDI, and THE YALE REVIEW; he is a regular poetry reviewer for THE ANTIOCH REVIEW. He has held fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. A graduate of Empire State College, the Johns Hopkins University, and The Writers Workshop of the University of Iowa, he has taught since 1981 at Union College, where he is the Edward Everett Hale Jr., Professor of English. He grew up in Fairport, New York.

Thursday, October 13, 2016