Poetry slow down, screech! Break, for heart-breaking heart-making heart-shaking news without which “men die miserably every day.” Hello, RadioMonterey.com, this is your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, with producer Sara Hughes, and we’re taking to heart, our heart’s aroused, by William Carlos Williams’ “my heart rouses thinking to being you news that concerns you and many men.” He says that it is difficult to get the news from difficult and despised poems, yet “men die miserably day for lack of what is found there.” We’re going to see what Fall has in store for us, so to speak, and one thing is upcoming titles of poetry. I get news of this a lot, from the poetry journals, bless them each and every one, who bring the news, the word of the poet, to us . . . . From ABZ press, which ran a contest for poets’ first books, these these finalists’ titles: I wanted to share them with you, Poetry Slow Down . . .
- Trent Busch not one bit of this is your fault
- Mark Elliot Cullen Panalure
- Kip Irwin Extracurricular Pursuits
- Michael Kriesel Forgiving the Grass
- Mark McKain Eating the Sublime
- Ann Pelletier Strange Invention
- Ron Salisbury The Angel of Las Vegas
- Leona Sevick This New Language
- Stephen Sundin Halo Turned Down Low
- Lindsay Tigue System of Ghosts
- Elizabeth Trotter Hired Hand’s Almanac
So I started to think about these—I want to read every one. First of all, Trent Busch’s– I love that not one bit of this is your fault. I like being off the hook, by this generous poet, and it does makes me wonder what shenanigans and farfalle and just plain falling apart have been going on that I am not being blamed for—I remember once when I was about 8 I overheard my younger brother being yelled at for something I was reading and I heard him say, Barbara did it! I saw her! I didn’t even know what it was he was in trouble for, and I don’t think they took his pointing the finger at me seriously, because it turns out it was for dismantling the family radio, to see how it worked, which I had no interest in. To think that we are absolved of whatever is afflicting this poet’s world, right off the bat, not one bit of it my doing, that’s fantastic. So I want to know what’s going on. I was thinking of the poem of absolution by Robert Herrick . . .
So in our show today, we see (hear! hear!) where it takes us, with poems by Wendell Berry, Pablo Neruda, Siegfred Sassoon, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Walt Whitman, Karen Weyant, Edward Thomas, Lorine Niedecker, Herman Melville, Kathleen Rooney, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Mark Doty, David Ferry, Sandy Florian, Mary Oliver, William Wordsworth, Carl Sandburg, Gerard Manley Hopkins, William Blake, me (my Lemon Tree poem), John Kipling Lewis, and more . . .
Oh, it’s wonderful where even the titles of poems can lead us before we even get to the first line. So we will imagine what the poems will be, and so slowed down, will see our world through a prism of poetry, a welcoming context by poets across centuries and eons, beginning with Gilgamesh of 2700 B.C., and I’m excited to share them with you. Next week, Fall poems, perhaps (depending on what news comes in), and poetry in the kitchen, which is where we want to be these days, cooking up chantarelles and tomato soup and grilled cheese and ratatouille and pumpkin soup, but this poetry of kitchens is pretty wild, so I’m looking forward to sharing that with you. Here’s to you, us happy together, for our Poetry Slow Down . . .
THE POETRY SLOW DOWN
Dr. Barbara Mossberg
Produced by Sara Hughes
October 5, 2014
© Barbara Mossberg 2014