WELL I DECLARE: LAYING IT ON THE LINE, POST JULY 4 REFLECTIONS ON GAME-CHANGING DECLARATIONS, PURSUITS AS FAR AS POETRY GOES, IN LOVE, LIFE, INDEPENDENCE, RIGHTS, AND OTHER KINDS OF HAPPINESS
Featuring Edna St. Vincent Millay, Duane Esposito, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Jefferson, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Gary Snyder, Walt Whitman, Julia Ward Howe, Emily Dickinson, Henry David Thoreau, Nan Lundeen, Kim Addonizio
I (do) declare!
I declare (to goodness)!
Welcome to our Poetry Slow Down. This U.S., these United States, have just been celebrating a national holiday that commemorates a Declaration. This declaration of independence was written by a man schooled in epic poetry (he put lines from The Iliad on his wife’s gravestone), a rhetoric of dignity and panache and fervor. Thomas Jefferson drafted it in two weeks, basing it on the Virginia Declaration of Rights, and John Locke’s philosophical language of liberty. The power of declaration—to set forth, to state, as a . . .
So there we have it, O Poetry Slow Down, the poetry of declaration, as we celebrate a national holiday founded on the fact that a group of poetry-reading and writing people wrote and signed a declaration of independence, and perhaps that is what all poetry is, a declaration of independence of thought, writing what no one else has ever written, or ever thought come what may. Something bold, a work of imagination, a vital consequential act, declaring what is the case, what is true, what you hold yourself accountable for. What’s in you: what you declare. And so it is that we end our show today, but only for now, KRXA 540AM Think for Yourself Radio, we’ll be back on the air, next week, making lemonade out of lemons, as in, And in July, a lemonade, to cool you in the summer shade, and we’ll do poems on transformation, plants do it, and poets do it do, turn what’s the matter into what matters utterly, and on that note, thank you Producer Sara Hughes, station guru Hal Ginsberg, and thank you, for slowing down with me, Professor Barbara Mossberg, So Long, as Walt Whitman said, for now . . .
© Barbara Mossberg 2013