"As far as poetry goes, these days it's ‘performance art,'" John Tuschen, Madison's poet laureate, tells Listening In columnist George Vukelich. "You have to stretch yourself into a live audience, read to them. No one wants to read the printed word. They don't want to read John Tuschen or Walt Whitman or even Robert Frost. All America wants to read is The Wall Street Journal. But Americans enjoy hearing people read poetry, especially when you combine the reading with new music or jazz. It's really going back to Sappho, to the original poets, when you combine music with the words. You get communication and music, and that makes magic, which makes poetry, period. Which is not to say it's easy. It's hard work. After all, there you are reading poetry to people who were brought up by English teachers who hated poetry and who taught us to hate poetry. Damn right it's hard work. What I've learned in the 500 to 600 readings...: You have to get the audience involved. You play back and forth with the crowd and all that bullshit, but beyond that you must be yourself. Talk loud. And just keep on - no matter what happens. Eventually they listen." Tuschen dies in August 2005, at the age of 56. People were still listening.