Here is the latest “Inside the SMC studio,” a monthly blog post highlighting our members and who they are! This month, we hear from Doug Holder, one of the longtime movers and shakers here at Somerville Media Center. Doug has been producing his show, Poet to Poet, Writer to Writer for fiftteen years and he dedicates his time to feature talented poets and writers from the local area. Learn more about Doug below!
1. Who are you and what do you do?
I am Doug Holder–the host of Poet to Poet Writer to Writer. I also teach Creative Writing at Endicott College and Academic Writing at Bunker Hill Community College. For 16 years I have been the arts editor of The Somerville Times, and I am the publisher and founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. http://ibbetsonpress.com
2. What was the strangest job you’ve had?
Well I worked in a vitamin factory. My job was to put liver powder in huge vats. I was clothed in a white gown and mask. I walked like some ghost on the factory floor.
3. Where is your favorite place to retreat for mental or physical health?
My retreat is the Bloc 11 Cafe in Union Square. It is a place that I have my ritualistic bagel and tomatoes with smoked fish and hummus–grade papers, write, interview people–and just get my head together. I have achieved a certain status there–I say ” The Regular” and the staff knows exactly what I mean. Also, in the summer I got to Spectacle Island in the Boston Harbor–it is a poor man’s writer’s retreat.
4. Who were your early creative mentors or source for inspiration?
Well there were many–the folks at The Somerville Times taught me a lot about community journalism…not to mention Spare Change News where I was an asst. poetry editor and arts reporter. Robert K. Johnson–a now retired English professor at Suffolk University was instrumental in helping me with my literary magazine “Ibbetson Street.” Hugh Fox who was one of the founders of the Pushcart Prize–taught me a lot about capsule reviewing of poetry books, etc.. Allen Ginsberg–who I met in the 70s–inspired me to become a poet–he opened literature in a number of ways.
5. How do you get past creative roadblocks?
Just start writing–anything–the circuits usually heat up.
6. How has SCATV/BFR been a positive influence in your creative career?
Absolutely! When I was looking for teaching jobs they were impressed by my many interviews with literary figures–one of the reasons I was hired was because of my work at SCAT. My interviews are housed at the University at Buffalo Libraries, Harvard University, and U/Mass Boston to name a few–this makes me very happy.
7. What is your favorite music album?
Well I am a cool jazz fan–so I love Chet Baker’s ” Let’s Get Lost” from the documentary of that name. “Miles and Monk at Newport” is another favorite–also a lot by Lester Young, Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Louis Armstrong and the list goes on.
8. What would be your entrance music?
” Around Midnight” as played by Miles Davis.
9. What’s your favorite spot in Somerville to hangout or visit?
Well I am either at the Bloc11 Cafe or sometimes the Foundry–I also go to the Arts Armory–and the Highland Cafe.
10. In 140 characters or less, how would you pitch your show or who you are?
My show Poet to Poet highlights poets and writers–and explores the lives of writers and their creative process. It is also a forum for artists to read from their work. The interviews are archived on Youtube and the Internet Archive.