Florida Man: Poems on TV

In my family, Fox 13’s Linda Hurtado is iconic, so I was beyond honored to be a guest on her segment “Tampa Bay Reads.”

The week before the release of Florida Man: Poems, Revisited (Burrow Press) I crossed the bridge to the Fox 13 studio. 

As I waited for the producer, I paced around the green room with its green-painted walls. I snapped some selfies in the dressing room’s good lighting. Texted my friends.

The segment producer came back to check on me. He told me he hoped I hadn’t been pacing the whole time pacing. I smiled. We’d film at 12: 23. 

He left, and I watched Linda’s noon spot on the green room TV. I made a cup of coffee. Paced some more. 

The producer later led me to the set. It looked like a living room with two comfortable chairs and a coffee table. He put a mic on me. I took a deep breath as Linda glided towards me. 

They’d been shooting a breaking segment, so we didn’t have much time to small talk. We mentioned our commutes, both over bridges. Then, we were live. 

Linda – an author herself – had sent me the questions beforehand. I knew I wanted to answer them succinctly. I wanted to leave time for the poems. 

They’d said I could read one, possibly two poems if time allowed. Earlier, I had sent my two choices: “Alligator Heart” and “on a day i’m feeling especially bummed out about florida” (a poem I wrote about for Creative Loafing).

I chose “Alligator Heart” because the cold-blooded reptiles have long been a muse (as I wrote in this post). 

I also picked the collection’s final poem “on a day i’m feeling especially bummed out about florida” because it’s my love letter to Florida.

I was able to read both poems during the approximately four-minute segment.

My family recorded it, and I re-watched it with them through my brother’s iPad.  I’m grateful Linda asked me to be on her segment and that she uses her platform to promote authors.

It was a truly newsworthy day for my family.

[Note: I posted the segment to Instagram: @tyler_gills]

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