Elation Equation: “And We Shall Be A Mighty Kindness” (Rumi)—or, e=mc² Explained–A Special Theory of Relativity

As we consider Emerson (whom the late Harold Bloom called “God”) and Einstein, and Astra theology, and what is known about the universe in ancient and emergent minds, considering human and civil rights,  peace, and the environment (Peace! Love! Freedom! Happiness!) in which we hear (Hear! Hear!) from Listen, John Steinbeck, Rumi, John Lennon, Elvis, and “Hair,” as well as Leonard Bernstein, as well as Ian Chillag’s Radiotopia’s “Everything is Alive.” And more—thoughts with the University of Oregon’s Insight Seminar and Clark Honors College’s “Thinking Like the Sun: Travel in Ancient and Emergent Minds.” This is Professor Barbara Mossberg with our Producer Zappa Johns. 

Who understands e=mc2? It takes a genius, right? Do we think genius is beyond us? That genius is Einstein maybe, but not you? Do we think Einstein is in his own orbit, far removed from us? We may think knowledge of the world is far from what we can grasp in our everyday life–and thus let it go as an intellectual luxury we cannot afford, and turn back to our daily reality, the shoelace and the biscuit, the diagnosis, the wine, the tomato harvested from the garden. Love—worry, trying so hard to do the right thing—these are our joys and work. And as for Emerson, well, is he just impossible to understand to the point of irrelevance?

“My heart rouses thinking to bring you news of something that concerns you and concerns many men. Look at what passes for the new. You will not find it there but in despised poems. It is difficult to get the news from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.”

William Carlos Williams gives both a diagnosis and Rx in poetry, as difficult and despised as it may be. Together with the idea of irrelevance to our stressed responsible lives, these ideas of literature, and genius as something we don’t have to worry about, are contested and exuberantly and earnestly interrogated by two of the greatest minds of the 19thand 20thcenturies, who sought to convince us that WE are what the doctor ordered. In fact, that we are geniuses the world needs now. And they are going to define just what they think this means, as wise, enlightened citizenry. 

© Barbara Mossberg 2019

ELATION EQUATION: “And We Shall Be A Mighty Kindness” —or, e=mc² Explained, A Special Theory of Relativity

Who understands e=mc²? It takes a genius, right? Do we think genius is beyond us? That genius is Einstein maybe, but not you? Do we think Einstein is in his own orbit, far removed from us? We may think knowledge of the world is far from what we can grasp in our everyday life–and thus let it go as an intellectual luxury we cannot afford, and turn back to our daily reality, the shoelace and the biscuit, the diagnosis, the wine, the tomato harvested from the garden. Love—worry, trying so hard to do the right thing—these are our joys and work. And as for Emerson, well, is he just impossible to understand to the point of irrelevance?

© Barbara Mossberg 2019

How Is It That Pumpkins Are Orange Coming Out of Soil?

Let us consider poetry as necessary for life as soil. Just because nutritious soil is necessary to life, all our lives on earth, does not mean it is not downright miraculous. A little clay here, rock there, dust, remains, odds and ends of minerals, a hodgepodge of organic and inorganic grow beanstalks for giants. And so poetry, remarkable makings of new life and old life, what is mud and what shines, the quotidian reality revealed as utterly remarkable. It turns out nursery rhymes are literal. People live in shoes. The dish runs away with the spoon. When we figure out dark energy, phantom energy, we’ll know this was right. We’ll know it is violin music that makes the chemicals in soil come to life, the spirit, God’s breath. As we consider harvest days, and pumpkins in the fields, it’s not the pumpkin spice we love in all the products now flavored with pumpkin, it’s the orange, the roundness we want, that we taste, it’s the goodness of its soil that makes the orange and the round, the remarkable of everything we see, everything we are. This is the dust of our minds, of our spirits, this not taking for granted what is here, this is the spin, the miracle of it.c Barbara Mossberg 2019

Food is on my mind, as you see, but on your mind as well. I know this, because you have written me about our “helpful banana bread” series on the poetry of food and hunger. So I’m in. This show does include an original recipe for pumpkin soup, so keep your pens handy—you remember pens—you remember hands—you remember hands—of course you do—you’re the POETRY SLOW DOWN, you’re evolved, you’re ancient wisdom on which so much depends, your ears are what the doctor ordered, the earth needs now: so HEAR’s the skinny (alas) on food from the point of view of your radio host, I’m your Professor Barbara Mossberg, aka Dr. B, produced by our faithful Zappa Johns, yes THAT Zappa, a West Coast commitment along the tectonic plates, and speaking of plates, and plating it, let’s begin, let’s gather at the table, for the Contents! The Tableof Contents! Ah, I get it, Dr. B! Of course you do—you’re the POETRY SLOW DOWN. 

© Barbara Mossberg 2019

Hassle of errands on Saturday’s stressed To To: when anything brings bliss and bless (in this case washing the car)

WWRS? (What Would Rumi Say?) What does poetry have to do with it? Stay tuned for The Poetry Slow Down with Professor Barbara Mossberg. 

Enjoy the video for this week’s episode on our Facebeook page.

SHAMBLING OUT OF SILENCE (BRIAN DOYLE), SCATTERING JOY (EMERSON), O TO MAKE THE MOST JUBILANT POEM (WHITMAN)–THE SERIOUS RESPONSIBILITY TO TAKE JOY SERIOUSLY

As we celebrate Walt Whitman’s birthday, we consider how seriously as a poet he took joy (very). As it turns out, in fact, poets taking joy seriously is a thing. We’re slowing down today (you know you move too fast) to consider this phenomenon, and ferret out the gloom in June that besets us on this journey of ours. We’ll hear from bossy poets and obedient poets on taking joy seriously—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emily Dickinson, e.e. cummings, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, W.B. Yeats, Charles Tripi, Mary Oliver, Shakespeare, Whitman, Brian Doyle. As our family says when we begin a trip, Hi ho! Let us go then, you and I, as T.S. Eliot said, let us arise and go then, as W.B. Yeats said, let’s go, says bc Mossberg, your joyful host today, with our Producer Zappa Johns, for the Poetry Slow Down–seriously joyful considering us seriously and our remarkable and necessary capacity for joy!

© Barbara Mossberg 2019 

QUANTUM MIRACLES THE POETRY OF EVERYTHING IS ALIVE (If e=mc2)

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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