Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm—That’s Ralph Waldo Emerson, and hello, this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, welcoming you to the Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540’s Think for Yourself radio, and enthusiasm has been in the air. I’ve been researching poetry’s role in public life in Washington, D.C., home of a great and enthusiastic lover, Walt Whitman, imaginative lover of our whole cosmos, and all its details and warts–to be loved by Whitman is to be loved for oneself totally, and on the path of poetic citizenship I’ve traveled to the roots of Whitman’s visionary heart, New York, correction, Brooklyn, Walt Whitman’s stomping grounds . . . Brooklyn, where he was editor of The Brooklyn Eagle. His reading of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, The Bible, filtered through Brooklyn became a barbaric yawp, Brooklyese, an American voice. So we’re heading east, over the 59th Street Bridge, our show’s theme song by Paul Simon, slow down, you move too fast, you’ve got to make the morning last, just kickin’ down the cobblestones, look at the fun and feeling groovy. . . we’re looking at the Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn bridges connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn. Our show today and next week is about the poetry of Brooklyn, a quintessential hard-core hard-hat tough-mind hot-heart identity that generates literary art and consciousness. . . think, Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman (its Broadway birthday was this past week and so is the anniversary of his death), Hart Crane’s epic The Bridge, think, “Only the Dead Know Brooklyn,” Thomas Wolfe, think, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Betty Smith, think the Dodgers, YA BUMS!, think the Brooklyn Bridge, and yes, it’s a story of poetry (including Goethe), and my dad, let’s not forget this poet, working at Charles Pfizer in Brooklyn, making penicillin . . . and more! Marianne Moore (huge Dodger fan)! And Ferlinghetti, A Coney Island of the Mind, I know, I know! Brooklyn is never far from his mind. Brooklyn, the Musical, on Broadway! Neil Simon, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby’s valley of ashes and Robert Moses and the Brooklyn Ash Company and . . . . How does poetry help us see and experience and value and engage our landscape—and change it, even save it, even bring it back to life? In what ways is Brooklyn the soul of and central to American culture? Beer, pizza, film! Last Exit to Brooklyn, Moonstruck, Spike Lee’s Crooklyn . . . what is its meaning to so many writers, who live here in their imaginations, as an east, a fallen or vanished West, and wait, you have poems on Brooklyn, yes, you do, send them to email@example.com, and now I remember, so do I, it’s where we all came of age as poetic conciousnesses. . . so, let’s get a move on, let’s get a groove(y) on, let’s cross Brooklyn Ferry with our first commuter poet Walt Whitman, and is there a more enthusiastic commuter, taking Henry James’ advice, always try to be one of those on whom nothing is lost? He’s excited, he’s ebullient, he’s exhilarated, he’s enthusiastic, he’s exclaiming, and you’re there—I’m there, we’re all there, Team Whitman, his frolic companions, frolic on, river, drench us with splendor! This show and next week’s, we’ll explore the meaning of Brooklyn as iconic landscape, comic, tragic, resilient, redemptive. Reporting live with news we need to live, from Brooklyn, crossing that bridge when we come to it, I’m Barbara Mossberg, join me and Walt! He’s our guide, saying slow down, inviting us to loaf and take our ease, our Brooklynese!