May 182018

What drew you to Waterline’s blues-themed event?

I’m drawn to the music and history of the blues — maybe because it seeped into me growing up in Memphis. My mom grew up in Arkansas and my dad in Mississippi so I’ve spent some time around the birthplace of the blues. Later I sort of fell into hosting blues radio shows. I really enjoy getting to meet and interview musicians, learning more about their sources of inspiration.

Through my relationship with Waterline Writers, I heard about the call for blues themed poems a few years ago – to celebrate Blues on the Fox and Aurora’s Poetry in Public Places – where these two poems originally appeared.

To me music and poetry can be one and the same. When I hear music that stirs me, it’s most often blues based and urges me to explore and express the images and feelings it conjures up. Since my musicianship is sub-basic, I try by playing with words.


Paula is addicted to public radio. She writes regularly for the NPR station at Northern Illinois University, and her topics for WNIJ have covered Internet privacy and security, and the arts, especially music.

She started working in radio when she was living in Sydney and hosting a blues show that was syndicated across Australia and New Zealand. When she moved back to Illinois, she joined WNIJ as a host for several years of the Saturday Night Blues.

Her two blues poems were part of the Poetry in Public Places exhibits in Aurora.

For more information about Waterline’s event:

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