I’ll admit some of them run over a thousand pages. Some are translated from Sumerian on clay tablets. Some are from Spanish, Greek, French, olde English, and quirky as the day is long. Poetry, prose, drama, spoken, written, sung, they have messages for us for how we live our daily lives. I’m reporting to you live from Washington, D.C., fresh from thinking about my students at the Clark Honors College, University of Oregon, and through their eyes, the meaning of classics lights our world, and heals the heart, and gives us hope. Is that all, Dr. B? No, it is not. Through the eyes of our next leaders of society, classic texts are good nutrition, vegan, organic, and gluten free. Thank you joining in!
From November, 2015:
I reflect that kind is three quarters kin. Our bonds, the actual equation of us, the Mayan saying, you are my other me. Emily Dickinson’s I’m Nobody draws us in to this secret shared identity. We are in this together. We ARE this together. We are the metaphor, that impossibility of connection, the poet’s vision. Dickinson is providing me spiritual leadership during this time of a French which is a world crisis. Our poetry organizations, you, Poetry Slow Down listeners, provide me solace of community as we reel from the revelation that no place is safe. But we have to live as if it is still our beloved world.
I aimed my pebble, but myself
Was all the one that fell.
Was it Goliath was too large, Or only I too small?
The poetry shoe of poetic feet in the headline news, late-breaking, fate-making, heart-breaking, heart-shaking, the news of “despised” and “difficult” poems “without which men die miserably every day” (Dr. William Carlos Williams). The news this week brings to the fore poetic language that challenges us to think more wisely—in terms of fairness, kindness, humanity. It’s not easy to think this way: Einstein calls for empathy and compassion, and it’s e=mc2, rocket science. Nor to speak up, out, for, against. To return to Dickinson, whom we don’t usually associate with putting herself out there in the public sphere, of course she did, boldly, altogether self-consciously, knowing what was at stake: committing oneself to words on paper is to enter the fray, engage with one’s times and all times, and add energy to the public discourse. It doesn’t always end well, at least in the short term. Dickinson herself, still unpublished and unknown, with no voice in her world, says,
They shut me up in Prose –
As when a little Girl
They put me in the Closet –
THE RADIO SHOE: Poetic footwork in the POETRY SLOW DOWN, with Professor Barbara Mossberg (“no place safe from poetry”), in which the news of poetry is a civic force of community building and health, and general happiness, and world peace, and this IS rocket science. So get your show shoes on, knock your socks off, and get a move on, those poetic feet slowing down (you know you move too fast!)for the news you need, the news you heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day” (Dr. William Carlos Williams, who should know). We’re talking about heroes of the earth today, and what angels and poets have to do with it.