Tuesday, November 22 – Rich Ferguson, New Jersey Me


This week on Bibliocracy Radio (Tuesday at noon on 90.7 FM) my guest is performance artist and, now, novelist Rich Ferguson.  The crazy, wonderful, risky, vivid trouble that adolescents get into, especially in mid-1980s New Jersey is the stuff of, say, a Bruce Springsteen ballad about youth, sex, and fast cars.  In the work of the acclaimed LA poet and performance artist Rich Ferguson, we read and hear — loud! — the frenetic, joyful, urgent speed-ballad of that both simultaneously blindered and visionary perspective of adolescence.  His hero, in the novel New Jersey Me recalls Holden Caulfield or Sylvia Plath’s Esther Greenwood, but with the perverse humor of another LA favorite, Jerry Stahl.  And, of course, that voice which fans of Ferguson the stage performer have been engaged and charmed by, a singularly life-affirming, playful and rhapsodic one here, in the novel, set into sentences and dialog that combine to make a kind of literary rock’n’roll memoir meets coming-of-age critique of escape from otherwise dead-end working class life in a small, doomed town.  Rich Ferguson has shared the stage with Patti Smith, Wanda Coleman, and other esteemed poets and musicians. He has performed at the NYC Fringe Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, and is a featured performer in the film What About Me? (featuring Michael Stipe, Michael Franti, Krishna Das, and others). He has been published in the Los Angeles TimesOpium, and been widely anthologized. Ferguson is a contributor to The Nervous Breakdown and his poetry collection 8th & Agony is out on Punk Hostage Press.  Thanks for listening to Bibliocracy Radio, on the radio or as a free download from the KPFK Audio Archives.  Please remember to support your (!) anti-Trump, anti-corporate, community radio station for all of Southern California.