Hello my peoples, an iambic greeting to you this fair morning as we slow downâ€”you know you move too fastâ€”for our Poetry Slow Down, Iâ€™m Dr. B, your professor Barbara Mossberg, with our West Coast producer Zappa as in Frank Zappa Johns, on bass, alto, hitting all the notes for us, our music being old-school today and it tells you everything, especially when I tell you where I was yesterdayâ€”first, with 36 adults from the University of Oregon Extension Insight Seminar in our final class pondering the meaning of John Muirâ€™s writings for our world today, weâ€™re talking 70 year olds getting up for a two and a half hour class everyÂ Saturday morning, and then, a three hour hearing with the Oregon state legislature Ways and Means Committee, consisting of our elected House and Senate representatives from districts all over Oregon, and people had two minutes to state their case, everyone knowing there is a budget shortfall, not enough, not nearly enough, two minutes to describe the plight and fright and fight and might and sight and need of people for whom you care passionately. Continue reading
Monthly Archives: February 2017
SO MUCH DEPENDS UPON A RED WHEELBARROW . . . HMM . . . WHAT? WHAT IS THE NEWS IN A RED WHEELBARROW, IF IT’S GLAZED WITH RAIN BESIDE THE WHITE CHICKENS? WHAT MATTERS? WHAT SHOULD WE PAY ATTENTION TO? WHAT IS WORTH OUR TIME? AND WHAT IS A WASTE OF TIME?
A consideration of what we consider news, and whatâ€™s at stake, for our own survival and for society at large. In which we take up the fate of earth and all life (including spidersâ€”and youâ€™ll be glad) (you truly will) in poems by William Carlos Williams, coming soon to a neighborhood near you in Paterson, Mary Oliver, James Wright, Theodore Roethke, Wendell Berry, Cynthia Wolloch, Elizabeth Bishop, Mark Doty, Robert Burns, Walt Whitman, Stanley Kunitz, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Lux, Shakespeare, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and more. In such poems, the so-called weeds and unloved creatures thrive by our own hand, thrive by our notice, thrive by our attention, thrive by our love. Spiders and what not live, and we live! So what matters? So much. And thus we sort out the news we need, the news we heed, the news without which men die miserably every day.
BOOK ME: HOW GENIUS LOCI, A PASSION FOR PLACE, IS INVOKED BY POETRY AND CAN GET YOU INTO INTERESTING TROUBLE WITH THE LAW BUT IN A CIVIC HERO KIND OF WAY; POETRY AND THE CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE OF HELPING SAVE THE EARTH; AND A CELEBRATION OF WRITERS OF WATERSHED . . . NOW MORE THAN EVER
Our show reviews a history of writing passionately about earth, with conscience and anguish and infinite belief in the reader to do act on behalf of earth, focusing on David Brower (Archdruid of John McPhee fame, and Sierra Club director) and John Muir, as activist poets, and T.S. Eliot and F. Scott Fitzgerald, with notes of Gilgamesh, James Fennimore Cooper, Nathanael Hawthorne, and William Faulkner. Of course we end with Emily Dickinson on the environmentally correct way to see earth (ponder . . . an Experiment of Green/as if it were his own). And thus earth says, somebody sees me! Saved! Saved!
THE POETRY SUPERBOWL LINE-UP SHOW
In which football is bandied about as a theme and metaphor (of course) of what poetry is all about: football is a handy lens which gets us philosophical and full of insight; in such illumination, Emily Dickinson comes to light as wide receiver, Emerson as recruiting coach for The Poet (Hamlet is offensive coordinator for the players), and poets are scouted for their roles on the line.