Yes: it all begins with sound, with wave, and of course, our voices are ways we connect with each other, our brain waves, becoming voice, and radio waves, and I think it makes sense on the imagery of waves that it’s the Beach Boys who produce Good Vibrations, as it’s all about frequency:
and other things I learn from my students: a celebration for graduation week, AND REFLECTIONS ON POETRY IN THE NEWSFEED AND ON THE SCREEN THIS WEEK—the news we need, the news we heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day.” We are all about living, living happily, every day. Towards that end . . .
Hello, Poetry Slow Down, my peoples, speaking of living happily every day, we’re all about making the morning last! Paul Simon says to slow down, we move too fast, we’ve got to make the morning last. What’s up with morning? We’ll hear from Thoreau, and Mary Oliver, and Tracy Smith, and video game and Eagles and Whitney Houston, and to start us off, a hymn by Eleanor Farjean, sung by Cat Stevens, and the great song from “Hair,” Good Morning Starshine.
A theory brought to you through blood, sweat, tears, and fears, through the post post-Civil War South, by your own fearful Dr. B, host of our PoetrySlowDown, recreating the experience of John Muir’s post-Civil War 1000 Mile Walk to the Gulf, enduring insects, cutting vines, alligators, and snakes, but failing utterly at starving. The slithery, slimy, stinging, starving and armed realities are a lens that illuminate Muir’s rapturous depictions of wilderness that turned our nation’s mind around in the light of trauma and danger in war-burned and desecrated land, shell-shocked people, and desperate crime. His sojourn through ravaged rural and community life forged his way of engaging wilderness in the Western Sierras. And on the note of converting trauma into poetry, we consider squirrels, as in googling, “squirrels peeing on patio furniture.” (We long ago became resigned to what we had googled as “squirrels eating all the seed in the birdfeeder” and “squirrels eating every last ripe peach”—to which the first google entry had “seven pumper.) There are ways to transform our annoyance. We’ll slow down our indignant heart rates to enjoy what poets know and say about squirrels. From Rilke to Emily Dickinson to Henry David Thoreau to yes, John Muir . . . . and who knew—these creatures have found their way into people’s hearts and if not my hearts, certainly my own poetry.
We’re produced today by Zappa Johns, our fusion man of tech arts and music science, and I’m Professor Barbara Mossberg.
5 plays coast to coast in two days: a view of poetry’s transforming role in civic and personal life. In which we consider The Great Comet of 1812, a musical of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, that covers Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, and Phantom of the Opera, Hairwhich covers Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which covers Plutarch, and Mark Norman’s and Tom Stoppard’s Shakespeare in Love, which covers Romeo and Juliet and Twelfth Night, and Jiehae Park’sHannah and the Dread Gazebo, following her Peerless which covers Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and a little dessert of pie, in the musical Waitress, with lyrics written and performed by Sara Bareilles with a book by Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, and we’ll hear “what’s inside” including the trope of “spontaneous poetry.”
There’s not a lot of it—on the surface—apparently—but what’s there is good-hearted and heart-breaking and moving and shaking, human beings at their humblest and poets at the most yearning and wistful and creative. In this show I reflect on my own poetry about my mother, and being a mother-poet, and the cultural history of mother poets and children poets talking about mothers.
No, not the revenge of the Fifth—this is your Poetry Slow Down, with a special intergenerational Star Wars unit devised by your intrepid geek nerd techy Producer Zappa Johns and host Dr. B, and Zappa is fresh from Orlando, Florida, attending Celebration, the Star Wars gathering, our man on the ground, so to speak, with the stars, on Star Wars, and we’ll have his thoughts for us, its epic meaning to his life, and my reflections of its relation to our times, our very headlines of the day, and U.S. and world history, and poetry (of course), including Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and the book and film Wizard of Oz, and then of course it’s Mother’s Day, and we’ll slow down for the poetry of that, including my own poem about my mother, and I’ll update you on my trek in the letter and spirit of John Muir’s equally epic-inspired 1000 Mile Walk to the Gulf.
Live from Denton, Texas, where poetry grows tall and thick as thistles
Occasion: time (n.), case, juncture, event, instance, incident, occurrence, circumstance, point, spot, position; chance (n.) possibility, opportunity, opening, season, contingency, stage; reason (n.), cause, ground, motive, justification, rationale, explanation, excuse, basis; cause (v.) motivate, induce, prompt, elicit, effect, give rise to, bring about
The news you need, the news you heed, the news of “difficult” and “despised” poems “without which men die miserably every day” (Wm. Carlos Williams)
On the occasion of Earth Day, Shakespeare’s Birthday, John Muir’s Birthday, March for Science, and “everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes” (e.e. cummings)
USE YOUR WORDS: IN A TIME OF TERRORISM, CLIMATE CHANGE, RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE: HOW POETRY MATTERS; HOW WORDS MATTER—AND HOW EVERYTHING IN MY LIFE TURNS TO—AND INTO—POETRY