Are We a Mean Culture When It Comes to Proclaiming Beauty? Not You, O Listener: read on–
” . . . again the spotlight is on the poet writing the poem—out of darkness, out of silence–she is a tragic epic hero in poem after poem, brave and self-sacrificing”
Beginning with Mary Oliver’s “Just Around the House, Early in the Morning: “Though I have been scorned for it,/Let me never be afraid to use the word beautiful” we explore the self-conscious and defiant proclamation of beauty by our poets, who see and hear the inner epic life. Even Emily Dickinson’s “I’m Nobody” reveals an inner epic life. From our show: “. . and when she describes putting her so called “small” life into the “purple well,” perhaps the ink well, with the words that make her royal, she talks about her life’s size, “the sages call it small”—but she sees herself as larger than life, immortal and epic-“supersize me” O Reader, O Muse. I think of Mary Oliver, her opening, “just around the house . . . though I have been scorned for it”: she has a heroic stance of writer’s bravery against our judgment: “let me never be afraid to use the word beautiful.” Are we a mean culture when it comes to recognizing beauty and being amazed and full of wonder and gratitude? Are we Mean Readers that Mary Oliver feels so self-conscious, so defiant and heroic in the use of the word beautiful? Not WE, Poetry Slow Down, not you, definitely, you are saying, bring it on! Charles Tripi is saying that, and Charles Gibilterra, and Emily Dickinson is saying, hell yes, I died for beauty, and William Carlos Williams is saying, yeah, and this is exactly what is in the poem without which men are dying miserably. So see it, say it, and that’s what we’re thinking about in our show today, and since she started us on this path, with her early morning meditation, we’ll look at how Mary Oliver does the poetic equivalent of transforming a parking space into a park, a happening place where beauty can be found .
. . showing us possibilities in our day—that we thought were paved—earthless—lifeless—a little wildness of imagination, of thinking . . . in which darkness is as valuable as light, and always leads to morning . . . .
Poets quoted on our show today include Mary Oliver, Henry David Thoreau, Chuck Tripi, Rumi, Mark Strand, Alicia Ostriker, C.K. Williams, Nancy Oliver, Tom Hennen, Kris Hurwit, and your host Barbara Mossberg.
© Barbara Mossberg 2013
And be sure to weigh in on your poet or poem to go to space! and light up the stars and future intelligent life!