February Member of the Month: Doug Holder

Inside the SCATV studio is a monthly blog post where SCATV staff interviews members, to learn a little bit more about who they are and their background. There is a set series of 10 questions they answer. This month, we hear from Doug Holder, a longtime SCATV member and producer of “Poet to Poet, Writer to Writer.” You can check out Doug’s TV show Tuesdays from 5:00-5:30 p.m. on SCATV Ch.3, or online at http://www.scatvsomerville.org/watch.

1. Who are you and what do you do?
Doug Holder is the name and poetry is my game. I host the show Poet to Poet Writer to Writer, where I interview poets and writers about their lives and creative process. I also teach writing at Endicott College and Bunker Hill Community College; I am the arts editor of The Somerville Times, and for the past 34 years I have worked at McLean Hospital, as a counselor and as a poetry workshop leader. I also direct the Newton Free Library Poetry Series, and I am the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. http://ibbetsonpress.com In my spare time I write poetry and have been published in numerous journals. My most recent poetry book is ” Portrait of an Artist as a Young Poseur: 1974 to 1983″ (Big Table Books) I was recently awarded with the Allen Ginsberg Community Service Award from the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.
2. What was the strangest job you’ve had?
Well…way back in the day I got a job through MANPOWER, working in a vitamin factory. I walked around in a mask, in a perpetual mist of liver powder and such, dropping large dollops of powder in vats.
3. What was one of your first SCATV productions (your own or helping others)?
My first guest was Anika Nailah who founded the Books of Hope Project in Somerville. She started this great program to help kids in the projects write, publish and market their own books. That interview has been quoted in a couple of college texts that deal with community engagement.
4. Who were your early creative mentors or source for inspiration?
Well I always loved talk radio growing up as a kid in the New York metro area. I listened to a lot of the great talk radio guys in NYC like Barry Gray and Long John Nebble while growing up, and I always wanted to do something like that. I had a radio interview show in college in the 70s, and I can remember interviewing Piri Thomas, the author of Down these Mean Streets. I tried to get a visiting Allen Ginsberg on my show, but he politely declined. Of course I loved talk shows on TV. Tom Snyder was a favorite, and David Susskind was another guy who comes to mind. In terms of my own writing I was influenced by Allen Ginsberg, Walt Whitman, Robert Lowell, Elizabeth Bishop, too many to mention.
5. How do you get passed creative roadblocks?
Just keep writing and something is bound to happen. I find whenever I am at my perch at the back of the Bloc 11 Cafe in Union Square stuff starts to flow. Maybe it is the strong coffee.
6. How has SCATV been a positive influence in your creative media career?
Absolutely. I think it has helped me get positions at colleges. They are impressed with the many interviews I have done over the years, and some of my older ones on tape are housed at university libraries like Harvard, University of Buffalo, etc… I have learned so much from interviewing folks. I am in my element when I am a fly on the wall. People fascinate me, and this gives me license to probe.
7. When did you first feel successful?
Well it was nice when you guys gave me the Producer of the Year Award in 2008.
8. If you could have entrance music, what would it be?
” As Times Goes By” as played on sax by Dexter Gordon.
9. What’s your favorite spot in Somerville to hangout or visit?
I am like a fly on a cheap suit at Bloc 11–I am always interviewing folks–grading papers, reading the rags, etc… I just have to say “The usual” and the baristas get me my daily fix. I seem to always be at Market Basket, and I have been to the Aeronaut Brewery recently with friends from work–good beer and music to be had.
10. In 140 characters or less, how would you pitch your show or who you are?
Doug Holder is a man dedicated to interviewing, archiving, recording the many writers and artists who make Somerville the ” Paris of New England”