Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.—Mary Oliver (from Swan)
Mary Oliver knows worry. Shakespeare knows worry. You know worry. I know worry. It’s what we’re made of, what distinguishes us from trees or chipmunks or glorious elk or owls or stars or salamanders. We’re worriers. Own it. But we’re also problem solvers, so we try to talk ourselves out of things, through things, to come up with a salve, some sort of savvy solace, something to rouse us ever onward. We need this: because hear in my morning inbox, Newsmax: 5 signs you will get cancer. Your last chance for . . . Don’t miss out on . . . Beware . . . Alert! Barbara did you know that . . .always adding to the day’s To Do list, worry about this, stress here and now! But hear come our poets, our own deus ex machina, to save the day, seize it, lift and heft and hoist and heave our worry-frayed spirits into resilience. And so we slow down, hold on, hear it (hear hear!) for our POETRY SLOW DOWN, radiomonterey.com, magic4life radio, produced by Zappa Johns, with your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, on the ways poets have our ears and backs, to wit:
“THE [EXTRAORDINARY] JOY OF TASTING TOMATOES, APPLES, AND PEARS” (William Martin)
POETRICIAN, n. Nutritious Character of Poetry, a show in which we consider poetry a soil necessary for growth, in the UN’s Year of the Soil–the viewpoint of poetry as our cognitive and spiritual 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, make up a living brew. And so poetry, remarkable makings of new life and old life, what is mud and what shines, the quotidian reality revealed as utterly remarkable.
To music of Counting Crows, Lady Gaga covering Carol King (“You’ve Got a Friend”—and you do), Billy Joel “Piano Man” at Shea Stadium the night before its demise, Boys to Men “End of the Road,” and the dulcet pipes of Dr. B singing “you are my sunshine” and “let me call you sweetheart,” we’re gathering round the PoetrySlowDown campfire as we always have, to hear poetry in days of 9-11, concerned as we are with developments in the world. We need each other, as we always have, and turn to Homer, Rumi, Jane Hirshfield, Pablo Neruda, the Tupelo Press 30-30 Poets Team for September, Mark Twain, Douglas Adams, Rilke, Shakespeare; taking heart from Star Trek’s “survival is insufficient,” and Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven which holds that in life’s extremities only the greatest art will do, and has a roving tattooed gang performing King Lear (and a symphony orchestra) amid the ruins of civilization. We explore how Lear informs all these poems and books, and Rumi (and Homer) were there first, to know how kind is ¾ kin, how we belong to each other and our earth, and how the answer is love and peace—as always, and now more than ever.
Sunday High Noon radiomonterey.com
Podcast 24/7: BarbaraMossberg.com
Follow Dr. B on twitter @barbaramossberg and write firstname.lastname@example.org
Producer Zappa Johns, © Barbara Mossberg 2015
Our New Show Is Hot Out of the Oven and Ready to be Plated!
We’re featuring the launch of the Tupelo Press 30-30 Project and the 9 well-known writers committed to a poem a day to support poetry shenanigans.
…Precious McKenzie, on the optometrist’s reply to the nymph, rhymed, giving an ancient patina–we have never seen this perky lust, amorous sensibility in the exam chair before, who longs to “push away the slit lamp stand/and ravish you like a young man.” Whoa–fanning myself here. Outed.
Catharine Sutthoff Slaton, “what was once tree”–science, geologic lyricism, astronomy verve: astonishing!—“the shatter and flint of brittle glass–a momentary Milky Way, the clash of shards on concrete–/the startle of an unstable glass.”