To the tunes of Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Etta James, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong, we are Poetry Slow Down, stopping to listen, we are heeding Gerald Stern, Yes SIR! Welcome to our show today, with me your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, produced by Sara Hughes. It’s midwinter, here in North America on the Western Hemisphere, and we’ve finished Valentine’s Day which got us thinking about love, and Tupelo Press, promoting imaginative and vivid poetry, musical language virtuosity, set forth a Winter Poetry Project asking for erotic poems. Eros: considered one of the primal gods, right after chaos, night, and earth (this makes sense, right?).
So our Poetry Slow Down, love: our human minds conceive appreciation and desire for belonging and longing as right up there with creation itself, creativity, literally, intrinsic to chaos and night and all things we imagine as forces of life. . . and so Eros, love, we think of Romeo and Juliet, teenagers, she was not even fifteen, and in spite of their dying for love, what do youth know of love? Who said, youth is wasted on the young? Because what I realized, Poetry Slow Down, in thinking about Tupelo’s poetry project, and of course, I submitted three poems, and I will share these with you, oh I know my family will cringe, MOM! BUDDY! No! ohh nooo. . . . .okay, so, I realized, before I was so sweetly interrupted, that there are so many poems I love about love and loving and AND the poets who are writing them are writing from the point of view of life’s winter, in their fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties, and hundreds. I was realizing as I was assembling poems for our Valentine’s show that so many poems I love and wanted to share with you are of such poignance about eros, wise eros, of so-called elderly persons who walk with canes and hobble and ache in their joints and have loved and love with despair and exuberance as life perhaps demands as the one thing for consciousness on earth. The average age of the poets on this show today is about 88! Or maybe 78. If we count Shakespeare, who was not writing from the perch of middle and old age but who FELT like he was . . . in his sonnets and plays, he identifies himself as an old quivering geezer, That time of year thou mayst in me behold, what a sob story, what a manipulative sneaky crafty way as only sonnets can so sweetly be, pity party turned around to triumph, voila! Touché! What a tribute to the canny helplessly ingenious mind who loves and seeks love and loving . . . So, inspired by Tupelo Press’ call for late winter eros, Poetry Slow Down, we’re going to hear poems of love by Shakespeare, yes, and Wendell Berry, Stanley Kunitz, Pablo Neruda, W.S. Merwin, Gerard Stern, Emily Dickinson, our own Charles Tripi, KRXA listener, critic, poet, T.S. Eliot, yes, Prufrock’s pity party love song, May Sarton, Ruth Stone, Sandra Gilbert, me at sixty three, and . . . well, let’s begin, time’s a fleetin,’ and we’ll go now, you and I, slowly, going to town, getting down with, slowin’ down with our Poetry Slow Down. Thank you for listening! Write me at email@example.com. I’ll send you a bumper sticker that says, I Slow Down For Poetry! Next week we’ll be welcoming in March, Dear March, and I’m not lion . . . .
© Barbara Mossberg 2012