Hello my peoples, an iambic greeting to you this fair morning as we slow down—you know you move too fast—for our Poetry Slow Down, I’m Dr. B, your professor Barbara Mossberg, with our West Coast producer Zappa as in Frank Zappa Johns, on bass, alto, hitting all the notes for us, our music being old-school today and it tells you everything, especially when I tell you where I was yesterday—first, with 36 adults from the University of Oregon Extension Insight Seminar in our final class pondering the meaning of John Muir’s writings for our world today, we’re talking 70 year olds getting up for a two and a half hour class every Saturday morning, and then, a three hour hearing with the Oregon state legislature Ways and Means Committee, consisting of our elected House and Senate representatives from districts all over Oregon, and people had two minutes to state their case, everyone knowing there is a budget shortfall, not enough, not nearly enough, two minutes to describe the plight and fright and fight and might and sight and need of people for whom you care passionately. Continue reading
A consideration of what we consider news, and what’s at stake, for our own survival and for society at large. In which we take up the fate of earth and all life (including spiders—and you’ll be glad) (you truly will) in poems by William Carlos Williams, coming soon to a neighborhood near you in Paterson, Mary Oliver, James Wright, Theodore Roethke, Wendell Berry, Cynthia Wolloch, Elizabeth Bishop, Mark Doty, Robert Burns, Walt Whitman, Stanley Kunitz, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Lux, Shakespeare, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and more. In such poems, the so-called weeds and unloved creatures thrive by our own hand, thrive by our notice, thrive by our attention, thrive by our love. Spiders and what not live, and we live! So what matters? So much. And thus we sort out the news we need, the news we heed, the news without which men die miserably every day.
Our show reviews a history of writing passionately about earth, with conscience and anguish and infinite belief in the reader to do act on behalf of earth, focusing on David Brower (Archdruid of John McPhee fame, and Sierra Club director) and John Muir, as activist poets, and T.S. Eliot and F. Scott Fitzgerald, with notes of Gilgamesh, James Fennimore Cooper, Nathanael Hawthorne, and William Faulkner. Of course we end with Emily Dickinson on the environmentally correct way to see earth (ponder . . . an Experiment of Green/as if it were his own). And thus earth says, somebody sees me! Saved! Saved!
In which football is bandied about as a theme and metaphor (of course) of what poetry is all about: football is a handy lens which gets us philosophical and full of insight; in such illumination, Emily Dickinson comes to light as wide receiver, Emerson as recruiting coach for The Poet (Hamlet is offensive coordinator for the players), and poets are scouted for their roles on the line.