HERE FOR THE PRESENT

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.”―Thornton Wilder

“Wonderful to be here”—Walt Whitman

That’s Thornton Wilder and Walt Whitman, and this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, with Producer Zappa Johns, and you’re at

HERE FOR THE PRESENT, for the Poetry Slow Down, the news you need, the news you heed, the news without which men die miserably every day—a good shoe—if the show fits, hear it! :

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In Memory of Anthony Bourdain THE POETIC CHEF: Stewing Those Lyric Chops– Tolstoys, Woolfs, Dantes in the Kitchen

Our #POETRYSLOWDOWN always says we are the news you need, the news you heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day” (Wm. Carlos Williams).  We are the news between the headlines, fast-breaking, late-breaking, heart-breaking news; we are the heart-making news. Here we hear a case where the headline, late-breaking, heart-breaking news and poetry’s news converge, as we make an homage to the man who put his heart and poetic feet in his mouth and made food and language exuberant art forms: Anthony Bourdain, whose life ended in France this week. We cannot know his sorrows or life anguish, as much as he was in our public eye, televised daily in his out-sized anthropologist fearless foodie role invoking stunt-like stories about food-making, but we can cherish his working life as a writer—fearless and fierce and open and joyous.

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THE DAY’S ON FIRE: It’s for the Birds

In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I meet my shadow

in the deepening shade; I hear my echo in the echoing wood—A lord of nature weeping to a tree. I live between the heron and the wren, beasts of the hill and serpents of the den. What’s madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire! I know the purity of despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall. That place among the rocks—is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have. A steam storm of correspondences! A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon, and in broad day the midnight come again! A man goes far to find out what he is—death of the self in a long, tearless night, all natural shapes blazing unnatural light. Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I? A fallen man, I climb out of my fear. The mind enters itself, and God the mind, and one is One, free in the tearing wind.

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THE DAY’S ON FIRE: It’s for the Birds

Theodore Roethke, In a Dark Time:

In a dark time, the eye begins to see, I meet my shadow in the deepening shade; I hear my echo in the echoing wood—A lord of nature weeping to a tree. I live between the heron and the wren, beasts of the hill and serpents of the den. What’s madness but nobility of the soul at odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire! I know the purity of despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall. That place among the rocks—is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have. A steam storm of correspondences! A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon, and in broad day the midnight come again! A man goes far to find out what he is—death of the self in a long, tearless night, all natural shapes blazing unnatural light. Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire. My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly, keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I? A fallen man, I climb out of my fear. The mind enters itself, and God the mind, and one is One, free in the tearing wind.

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A JUICY SHOW: INK IS DRIPPING FROM MY LIPS/THERE IS NO HAPPINESS LIKE MINE (Mark Strand); TODAY I WAS HAPPY SO I MADE THIS POEM (James Wright); NOW MAY CRIES OUT AGAIN, I’M HERE I’M HERE (Alicia Ostriker)

On this May day, as our on-air show live today from Helsinki celebrates the happiness in the hear and now, with ecopoetry, an anniversary show of poems of juice shared on this show over five years, no, six, no, seven, eight. A JUICY SHOW We’re going to hear how poets define the juice from Robert Herrick, and Gerald Manley Hopkins (“all this juice and all this joy”) to Shakespeare to Pablo Neruda to Gerald Stern to Winston Churchill, with mojo moxie displayed in poems from Emily Dickinson, Grace Paley, Walt Whitman, defiance energy from William Ernest Henley, Albert Goldfarth, C.K. Williams, Timothy Seibles, the sense of fighting exuberant spirit of Rumi, Hafitz, Kabir, our most senior poets weighing in and showing us juice by the quart, Ruth Stone, Stanley Kunitz, Wendell Berry, Thomas Merton, W. B. Yeats; we’ll hear Mark Strand’s juice unnerving a librarian; we’ll see besieged and beleaguered leaders showing ways of juice including M. L. King, Jr., and we’ll hear Maya Angelou rising, and Nikki Giovanni—the ultimate juice machine—and Thoreau, and even your own Professor B, showing some juice chops as gravity weighs her down (“this is my time now/my baskets/my mysterious flesh”). We have May notes of Wendell Berry, Mary Oliver, Jane Hirshfield, Denise Levertov, W.B. Yeats, Naomi Shahib Nye, Antonio Machado, Rilke, David Whyte, William Wordsworth, and more . . . podcast at BarbaraMossberg.com, slowing down and heating it up, with poetry “without which men die miserably every day” (Wm. Carlos Williams). Thank you for joining me and our Producer Zappa Johns, himself live in our Central Coast studios, 10 time zone hours away, but in the miracle and reality of time/space, here we are all together for this one moment, slowing down for poetry, which has always stopped and held time precious. . . podcast anytime it’s morning in your life, and you’re slowing down to make it last. For the news you need, the news you heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day.” No, that is not you: you’ve got poetry, and poetry has your back and deepest interests at heart.

May I have the pleasure of your company, this May morning?

© Barbara Mossberg 2018

LIVE FROM THE DIPLOMAT, Stockholm, Sweden: CRY FOWL! HENPOWER (WHO KNEW?)

Ah, but the poets knew! Hear we are (hear hear!) at your Poetry Slow Down, our weekly hour news shoe since 2008—if the show fits, hear it!–the news you need, the news you heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day” (so says William Carlos Williams), produced by Zappa Johns, and I’m your show’s creator and host, Professor Barbara Mossberg, aka Dr. B, and my team, including Nico Moss, and I’m here live at the Diplomat Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, on Mothers Day, as we unruffle the mystery of how and why chickens are being brought in as a front line to combat elderly loneliness, especially in nursing homes . . .

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CAUCUS FOR THE HEARTS: WHY ART MATTERS TO CONSTANTLY KEEPING THE COUNTRY GREAT

A radio-waving welcome to Congresswoman Pingree, new co-chair of Congress’ Caucus for the Arts; how arts have played key roles in critical legislation for civil and human rights, war and peace, and the environment, including making Presidential reputations for greatness (e.g., Abraham Lincoln). And on the topic of what literary hearts can do for the nation, we explore what they can do for you, specifically, your immortality. O, I don’t mean how artists achieve immortality, but you, actually: your cellular reality. Really, Dr. B? Reading or writing a poem can keep me alive forever? Perhaps! We began to talk in recent shows about the possibility of downloading your consciousness, and you continuing on in digital form, which is, after all, what literature is, a downloading consciousness available forever, as long as time. But I’m also thinking of the news of the immortal jellyfish and its portent for us, and in fact, how the jellyfish’s strategy of infinite existence may describe the process of metaphor, and the existential realities of the metaphoric process. Finally, on the same topic, our show takes up the possible extinction of frogs and toads, long a favorite of literature, and how perhaps now literature can help to save them, not only on the page, in that forever sense, but in their cells, even before lessons of the immortal jellyfish are applied to species. We’ll hear lively earthy poems on frogs and toads by D.H. Lawrence, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Elizabeth Bishop, Marianne Moore, and Emily Dickinson, and paeans in lyric stories The Wind in the Willows(is it your favorite, too?), Frog and Toad Are Friends, and folk and fairy tales: the princess and the frog, and we tie it all up with happy endings and never endings: happily ever after!

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