And so we are! Speaking of the woods:: e.e. cummings’ sonnet of gratitude, amazement, for every thing, alive again today, ready to take in all that’s leaping greenly, true blue: that’s us today in our PoetrySlowDown with Professor Barbara Mossberg, me, your Dr. B, what the doctor ordered, and our Producer Zappa Johns, and consulting editor Nico Moss, on the art and science of slowing down, and we’re talking about joy and what living deliberately has to do with it, and going to the woods, and poetry, and for that matter (life and death), slowing down. Did you just hear joy? Yes, joy. With our headlines and cultural fault lines and your deadlines and face lines and check out lines and check in lines—joy? Is this a typo—isn’t it Bossy Barbara’s Guide to Job—the Boss—job—I get it! But this is a radio show for our actual lives, the news you need, the news you heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day,” a line from William Carlos Williams, so let’s frame it with him in a real-world way. First, I would like you to jot down one line for what you worry about, fear, a hopeless knotty problem that you face. This is just for you—and of course for the whole world when it’s posted, but that’s for another time. We are going to get to this in Part Three of our series on Bossy Barbara’s Guide to Joy. Okay, now that we are grounded in the real world you actually live in, we take up our PoetrySlowDown theme, for we can’t get very far in this life without poetry—and it has always been that way:
July 16-24, 2018
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers, which together have shaped the scenery and culture of the Bordeaux region of France. In addition to the world-class wines made possible by Bordeaux’s perfect combination of climate and soil, the region has built a rich tapestry of culture and tradition from Gothic churches to opulent châteaus and medieval villages, all thanks to these magnificent waterways.
And so it is, a plating of lyric memoir about food and hunger, on eating and being eaten, on who is eating (or not), on what is, and is not, eaten—like Thoreau’s Walden, Where I Lived and What I Lived For, only, this is How I Cooked and What I Ate, and Did Not Eat—the same thing, of course. As actual recipes, the theme of this show is that whatever you do, is the right thing: you can’t go wrong. I find myself saying that a lot, in my recounting of cooking experience and reflecting with you. It is to encourage you to trust yourself as you live this life, knowing you have, in your soul’s pantry, what you need—beginning with the grace of your hunger.
Top o the morning to you, Poetry community! Post-Valentines, in the thick of birthdays of civic leaders, we’re slowing down for our Poetry Slow Down, I’m your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, with our West Coast Producer Zappa Johns, broadcasting live from the tree house, Eugene, Oregon. We’ve got good news today—we need it—in between the headline, deadline, late-breaking, heart-breaking news, we’ve got heart-lines, heart-making, heart-shaking, a slew of poems from our amazing next generation, students at the University of Oregon, with poetic feet in our poetry shoe (if the show fits, hear it!). They’ll throw their hats into the ring with John Muir, Henry David Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, Mary Oliver, William Butler Yeats, Pablo Neruda, Wendell Berry, and a slew of others, and I’ll get our ball rolling, greeting you first with my own valentine to you: glorious listener, friends and fellow earth-lings, ear-lings, this is the anniversary of our 10th year on the air, broadcasting every week since 2008.
© Barbara Mossberg
Life and Death Stakes in Paying Attention, Your Own, Each Other’s, Our Earth’s, and What Amazed Poetry Has To Do With It. (Mary Oliver (a lot), D. H. Lawrence, Emily Dickinson (of course), John Muir (a lot), John Steinbeck, Arthur Miller, Ray Armantrout, Rachel Carson, Susan Schultz, Thich Nhat Hanh, Andrew Epstein and more)
When there’s a murder, we investigate “who dunnit.” When something’s gone wrong, we look for evidence. But what about when something goes right? With good acts, great acts, can we also investigate “who dunnit?” What’s the “weapon?” What’s the motive?
The Poetry Slow Down with Professor Barbara Mossberg. In our show, broadcast live from Los Angeles, where John Muir died 103 years ago today, we consider his last words, sprawled as he lay in a hospital bed with the manuscript of Travels in Alaska. The book concludes extolling the beauty of aurora borealis, the Northern Lights, the most exalted he “has ever beheld. THE END.” At a time when the fates of the national parks and lands are uncertain, it is useful—and hopeful—to remember that John Muir’s heartache on his death, his mourning the drowning of Yosemite National Park’s Hetch Hetchy Valley for San Francisco’s supplemental water and power source, did not stop him from writing to preserve wilderness that still remained. And the furor over Congress’ 1913 decision to drown a national park valley led to the 1916 National Park System legislation. John Muir wanted to be the poet to the rescue to save wilderness, and in a profound way, he has done just that over time. How? He is, at the end of the day, a poetry man. His death certificate lists his occupation as Geologist, but it is as a poet that he created earthquakes in the minds and hearts of the American public. Today, we celebrate his work, building on poets from thousands of years, to behold earth so that we value it and save it. Thank you for joining our Poetry Slow Down, with Producer Zappa Johns, live at our podcast, Barbaramossberg.com
© Barbara Mossberg 2017