I’M A LONELY STRANGER HERE (Clapton) here there is no place that does not see you (Rilke): YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO PRISON—A POEM HAS YOUR BACK. Yes, there is an epidemic that on the surface seems bewildering, counterintuitive—elderly people committing crimes to get arrested, petty shoplifting—especially women, with children and grandchildren and often spouses, ladies who want to get away—from where they are known but invisible, as they see it—to be actually known—and the only place they can come up with is prison—which turns out to be not only not so bad but a place where they are seen at last. Our shoe today examines how poetic feet can take you away to yourself, how poems can see you, and with poetry, you’ll never walk alone.
A shoe for you, kicking up those poetic feet that will lift your spirits, the news you need, the news you heed, the news without which men die miserably every day—so says Dr. William Carlos Williams, and we’ll hear ideas for poems that will save trees by students in the Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon, my ecoliteratis—pre-meds, pre-laws, majors in chemistry, math, music, philosophy, business, physics, journalism, and “undeclared,” who cite chapter and verse for how and why to save a tree, and in the process, and perhaps bees, and heal your wheeze and knees, profess hope in what can happen for our earth, if we but take up the pen and use our words . . . . Thank you for listening to our PoetrySlowDown, broadcasting weekly since 2008, on words that matter, words that reveal what matters, matters requiring words.
© Barbara Mossberg 2018
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:
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?