Our show ponders Ezra Pound’s injunction to the poets to “make it new.” We are thinking of the relation between making something new, and making news. The rare good news story about the sighting of the rare Sierra fox whom scientists feared extinct is one I chose for a project called I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY, sponsored by the Benecia Public Library, that brings together artists and poets to choose a news story and collaborate on a response to it in poetry and art. I update you on my progress on my poem about this story for the exhibit, and we reflect on the poetry about foxes that may have helped create the way of thinking that causes scientists to celebrate a kind of rebirth of an element of the wild. We hear the great Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto” which holds the fox as a model for resurrection moxy. Paul Simon and Alicia Ostriker are discussed as role models for what we mean by “making it new,” finding the new and news (aka poetry) in a walk down a city street. (This gives us an excuse to read Ostriker’s joyous poem “April” again even though it is May.) Gary Snyder is discussed for his leadership on the art of wilderness preservation in poetry, and the transformative role of the fox. (We will be having a show on him and the wise news poets in their eighties and nineties impart.) Speaking of the symbolic fox, Ted Hughes’ “Thought Fox” is thought of as revelation about the role of the wild on the human imagination. We conclude with a resolve to re-read Jean Valentine’s “The Japanese Garden,” Richard Wilbur’s “Young Orchard,” and Seamus Heaney’s “Planting the Alder ” (stay tuned!). And here is to the fox in each of us, ancient and making-news for what is wild inside our own minds, what new—and “news”—we can make of our lives—and make “breaking news” “making news,” good news, news of hope and morale, doing justice to the gift of consciousness of being alive again today.
© Barbara Mossberg 2011