Verve: creative enthusiasm, vitality, syn.: energy, dynamism, vigor, vim, dash, spirit, life, animation, get up and go, brio, panache; ant.: lethargy. WHAT’S AT STAKE? ONLY THE FATE OF THE EARTH
Jonathan Schell in The Fate of the Earth identified apathy and despair as the greatest threats to humanity’s existence. Hopeless, we become lethargic, and do not use those great brains of ours to engage imaginatively with our environment to make solutions for what we need, solutions inextricable from beauty. Students on the case identify examples of writing with verve for us, writing which stimulates our thinking, our ability to notice, perceive, create, resist anything telling us no, give up, it’s useless, forget it. We’ll hear the “news without which men die miserably every day” (Dr. Williams, “To Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”), verve our students find for us from Edgar Allen Poe to Oriah, Mario Savio to Kay Ryan. Homer, Loren Eisley, and great critical writing. Stung but not unstrung by Steven Pinker’s critique of academic writing which lacks “verve and grace,” we consider not only poetry but discourse that in the immortal words of Lettice Douffet, Sir Peter Shaffer’s alter-ego and the epitome of Joseph Conradian how-to-be, “enlarges, enlivens, enlightens.” To the tunes of “Amazing Grace,” we proceed. Thank you for joining us, on RadioMonterey.com, Sunday Noon-1 pm PST, or podcast at BarbaraMossberg.com. Slow Down and listen—you know you move too fast!
© Barbara Mossberg 2014
THE POETRY SLOW DOWN, Produced by Sara Hughes, Dr. Barbara Mossberg, Founder and Host.