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Utopia and Dissent: Art, Poetry, and Politics in California by Richard Candida Smith. University of California Press. Berkeley and Los Angeles, California. London, England. Copyright 1995 by The Regents of the University of California. 283w

In addition to the Friday evening poetry discussions, Rexroth was a leader in the Libertarian Circle which met every Wednesday night at the Workingman's Club building. Rexroth prepared the lists of books the circle read and led discussions. Most of the poets attending the Friday evening talks also came to the Wednesday evening political discussions. The Libertarian Circle had monthly dances to raise money for its activities. During these dances, experiments with reading poetry to jazz began. The group also sponsored weekly poetry readings on Saturday nights and Sunday excursions for hiking in Marin County.

Ultimately the most far-reaching developments to emerge from Rexroth's combination of poetry and politics was the FM radio station KPFA, based in Berkeley. In 1947 Lewis Hill, director of the Committee for Conscientious Objectors, came to address the Libertarian Circle to enlist their support in establishing a cooperatively run, listener-supported, commercial-free radio station that would be peace-oriented. Richard Moore (b. 1927), a poet in the group who had also been on the editorial board of "Circle", found the idea exciting. He became the principal organizer of the project and raised $250,000 to start the station. Moore was the first general manager of KPFA and turned to his friends in the Libertarian Circle to help develop programming. Pacifica later opened stations in Los Angeles, New York, Washington, and Houston. The project expanded the social influence artists and poets would have far beyond their traditional circles. p 52

Typed by Barb. Golden. July 21, 1996.


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