Two birthdays are considered in the life of a poet, mother, radio host, professor, and earth citizen: our newest Poet Laureate for the Library of Congress, W.S. Merwin, a Poetry Slow Down fav in multiple roles, as translator of Neruda’s love poems (and Poetry Slow Down loves Pablo Neruda–think lemon ode! no, tomato ode!), as author of moving poems that seem to come up no matter what the topic of the week, and to inspire the week’s topics in the first place (including The Blind Seer of Ambon), and as an environmentalist conscience and activist along with John Muir, Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, and others in service of earth –and trees–who walk the talk—he’s one—his life work is so important to me in all I try to promote, so we celebrate his life; and the other is my own son, Nicolino Clarke Mossberg, who was born 30 years ago yesterday, he was bald then and is bald now, still precious, and so this is the anniversary of me as a mom, I went into delivery holding my journal thinking I was going to record this for a poetic moment, aware there is little poetry on giving birth!–now I know why . . . and I will share with you some poetry on this occasion of humility and some of what I have learned as a poet and human being. This is Professor Barbara Mossberg, at the Poetry Slow Down, Join me! Lyric cake and song and do we hear Lamaze breathing? Stay tuned! KRXA 540AM, Produced by Hal Ginsberg, podcast by Sara Hughes, BarbaraMossberg.com.
“The Power of the Butterfly:” How Books Have Changed Our World–War and Peace, Civil and Human Rights, and Environmental Law
Ink is dripping from the corners of my lips—there is no happiness like mine—I have been eating poetry! That’s Mark Strand in a library, when he was poet laureate of the United States for the Library of Congress, founded by Thomas Jefferson who started it with his own library, and what he called HIS “canine appetite” for reading—arrrgh–and this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, as Pacific Grove’s Poet in Residence, speaking for the Pacific Grove Friends of the Library—I’m giving a Grovian, groovy, dripping and barking lecture called The Power of the Butterfly—how books change the world, October 7, 7pm, at the Library. We know that in history when a group wants to destroy freedom it first bans and burns books—closes libraries—shuts down literacy–writers are banned and burned—what? These marginal wise guys and wild guys and drooping spinsters and scandalous ladies, scratching on clay, trembling in attics, so powerful? Really? That’s my story and I’m sticking to it: October 7! I’m going to talk about books’ role in civil and human rights, environmental laws, and war and peace! It’s a tale of movers and shakers of our world, heroism, courage, heartbreak, inspiration on epic and nano scales, as writers use their moral imaginations to give us a vision of possibility, a brave new world, conscience and consciousness. So bring that canine appetite of yours down to the library. Join me at Pacific Grove Public Library, October 7, 7 pm, it’s free, like the best things of life, there’s food, for thought and literally! I’m Barbara Mossberg, your host of KRXA 540AM’s The Poetry Slow Down, and I’m looking forward to seeing you then, for what’s at stake in libraries for each of us, civic life and death! I’m just sayin. October 7, 7 pm, I’ll see you there!
When Wonks and Monks and People in Robes Read and Write Poetry; Poetry on Water; Poetry’s Role in Environmental Law and Public Policy. In Mossberg’s Poetry Slow Down series on the power of poetic language and the role of poetry in shaping not only our thinking about our environment but the law itself, we have broadcast shows about movements to restore wilderness and nature through laws, including Yosemite National Park (and the National Park System), and the Restore Hetch Hetchy movement (Go, Valley!). Today’s show continues this theme to inspire hope from the bench and the bank–the river bank, noting judicial opinions calling on poetry, discovering in civic leadership of public engagement in water projects the poetic muse, at Mono Lake (David Gaines and the Mono Lake Committee), in Seattle (Lorna Jordan and waste recovery metro-water projects), Portland, Oregon (Dr. Masaru Emoto water crystals project), world at large (Karen Bradley and the global river dance movement), Klamath River restoration project (Go, Salmon!), and more. We consider eco-monk Thomas Berry, eco-saint Aldo Leopold, Dr. Amit Goswami, and poetry’s invocation by the California Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court of poets from John Donne to Matthew Arnold. And we hear our own Dr. B, Poet in Residence for Pacific Grove, now living by the tidepools culled by Ed Rickets and John Steinbeck for Cannery Row (“a poem, a stink”), write about water, lake, pond, and the truths we learn about the world through our own sweat, from bodies ¾ water. Broadcast from Eugene, Oregon at the intersection of the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers.