What the Old Guys and Wise Guys mean to today’s young leaders and scholars—a snapshot onto our world, a wake-up call, and that’s waking up to smell the coffee and see with amazement the morning sun rising gloriously. To the tunes of Van Morrison’s “Dwelling on the Threshold,” Mel Carter’s “Hold Me Thrill Me,” Joni Mitchell’s “Circle Game” and Patti LaBelle (Lil Kim, Pink, Christine Aguilera) “Lady Marmalade,” we’ll hear Emerson and Einstein, Galway Kinnel, Emily Dickinson, James Wright, Wordsworth, John Muir, Lewis Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Thoreau, Bill Holm, D. H. Lawrence, Kabir, Chuck Tripi, Marie Curie, Milton Glaser, Pablo Neruda, e.e. cummings, Mary Oliver, Nancy Willard, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jennifer Franklin, and others, and feature Gerald Durrell, eloquent and poignant voices our peeps on the threshold have taken to heart, and taken heart from.
I’m Professor Barbara Mossberg, ye old Dr. B, and we’re produced by a member of this rising generation awakening us all to our world, Zappa Johns, Mr. Z, who is helping getting going our coming show on Hamilton, as I creak along, on my new hip, getting my hip hop moxie cranked up, and slowing down, down, down, for our up, Poetry Slow Down, on radiomonterey.com, Magic-4-Life, for as John Muir says, “Of all the upness accessible to mortals, there is no upness comparable to the mountains,” and Thoreau sang, “I went to the woods to live deliberately, and not discover at the end of my lie I have not lived at all,” and that’s how I feel about poetry, a place we can go, a way we can go, a way of slowing down to absorb and see what the world is UP to, as it speeds along, we along with it, trying to keep up as best we can, as we twist and spin, orbit and carry on. We’re hearing the news that William Carlos Williams, physician healing himself, says without which we die every day (“To Asphodel, That Greeny Flower”). And the news today is what it is like to be a young person, in our world, and what news matters. Our epigraph is from Gerry Durrell, a naturalist who wrote dozens of books, and has done films and many projects to celebrate and save our world, on the role of ignorance in surprise as a way of life, because the thing about Gerry Durrell in anything you read by him, in addition to earnest, earnest admonitions about what we are doing to our world, that he loves passionately, every creature, is his humor, his friendliness, his affection, his bonhomie, his affability, his warmth, his helpless happiness in being alive. What is the secret? We are helped here by another poet, T.S. Eliot, in “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” who takes us on a journey “through half deserted streets, the muttering retreats of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels,” a distressing and distressed and stressed journey, of a truly unhappy dude, who does not know how, or more to the point, why, to go on . . . He is afraid he’s getting old and no one respects him, he feels he’s mocked, and a fool. Why? Because he thinks he knows it all. He’s drowning in despair. But what if he doesn’t know it all? What if he opens himself to . . . surprise? Astonishment? Amazement? What if there’s another way to see and care about our lives? That’s what our poets are talking about, and my peeps on the threshold are a window of bright hope into our shining world. Thank you for joining me, speaking of my beloved peeps of our Poetry SLOW DOWN! Yours ever, Professor Barbara Mossberg. c Barbara Mossberg 2016
THE POETRY SLOW DOWN
With Professor Barbara Mossberg
Produced by Zappa Johns
February 21, 2016
© Barbara Mossberg 2016