Jonah Raskin is a writer - a poet and journalist - with a love for food and the people who make it. Jonah is the author of fourteen books on subjects ranging from women in rock n roll, marijuana culture and politics, Jack London, Alan Ginsberg, and a personal exploration of the food and farming culture of Sonoma County called Field Days. One thread that connects these works is a loving, exuberant sense of place. His countless articles in the local press in Sonoma County, where we both live, very often profile the eccentric characters here, and quite often, these people are immersed in lifetime projects of growing and making food. Jonah was raised on Long Island, got a PhD in England, and adopted Sonoma County in the late 1970s, where he taught literature and journalism at Sonoma State University. We met Jonah at a community meeting on oysters in West Marin County, California, and some of my favorite writing of his explores the bitter controversy over the closing of Drakes Bay Oyster Company. He is currently working on a book about the drought. In this episode, Devon and Jonah talk about the oyster wars, what nature is for, and the need for many kinds of creativity in response to the California drought.
Farnaz Fatemi is a poet, a writer and a teacher of the craft of writing at UC Santa Cruz, and a gardener and lover of tomatoes. Her poetry has been published in the Ekphrasis, Red Wheelbarrow, and several other poetry journals, and in the anthologies Let Me Tell You Where I’ve Been, and recently, Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran, both compilation of works by the Iranian writers outside of Iran. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. A favorite recent work of hers is in the Tupelo Quartlerly, a very personal and lyric essay about visits to Iran called The Color of the Bricks. Devon and Chelsea speak with Farnaz about tomatoes; the interplay between gardening, cooking, and writing; travel; and the necessity of poetics and creativity in a movement.