Please help yourself to an hour (plucked from Daylight Savings Time), slowing down (because you know you move too fast) for the up of the ThePoetrySlowDown that aspires to be a Holy Fire Reiki for your spirit (as poetry perhaps always has been). With our Producer Zappa Johns, on California’s Central Coast, and me, your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, known to my students and certain bartenders as Dr. B, you are taking this time for yourself to dwell in mystery and wonder, as Paul Simon sings it, or the terrain of miracle, as Einstein conceives it, or Possibility, as the quantum practitioner Emily Dickinson says is a place and way she dwells. 

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“My work is loving the world”–WHAT IS OUR WORK?

A perspective on how we (should) spend our daily energies. A bossiness of poets weigh in, from the late (but always here) Mary Oliver, William Stafford, Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins, Lorine Neidecker, Alice Dunbar -Nelson, Gerald Manley Hopkins, William Butler Yeats, Christopher Smart, Richard Wilbur, John Milton, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Doty, e.e. cummings (who loved the world as much?). There’s a lot of loving going on in the work of poets, and the world needs it: maybe this is all our work, loving the world. Yes, I guess, we’re pregaming Valentine’s Day, The Poetry Slow Down with Professor Barbara Mossberg, Produced by Zappa Johns. 

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CALLING ALL LOVERS: YOU NEED THE TREE—BUT THE TREE NEEDS YOU! THE POETRY OF THE EQUAL SIGN, AKA GENIUS, or what’s at stake in how we see and express our earth (clue: life and death–ours)

Hello, and happy new year, O friends, O ears, hear hear! You’re slowing down for the Poetry Slow Down—you know you move too fast! You know you are supposed to slow down for your health, and mind, and spirit, and poetry is an excellent way of doing that, because it’s .  . . well, it’s beautiful, but it’s also strange, let’s be frank, and difficult, and despised even—this isn’t just me talking, it’s William Carlos Williams, who says, my heart rouses thinking to bring you news that concerns you and concerns many men. It is difficult to get the news from despised news yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there. –That’s what he said in To Asphodel, That Greeny Flower. That’s a lot. That’s life and death. Now you could say, well, Dr. B, of course he is saying that, he’s a poet. He is an interest in our reading poetry. But his day job is a doctor. It’s his business to save lives. He writes poems on prescription pads, at the end of his day saving lives, with blood on his hands. He should know whereof he speaks, when he speaks of life and death and what can save us.

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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

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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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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Travel with Dr. B!


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.