A celebration of an earth-struck poetry-loving man, as a geologist “rocks” around the clock. John Muir’s death certificate lists him as a geologist, but it’s not as a geologist that we name hospitals, stars, glaciers, schools, trails, flowers, and forests after him; it’s in his poetry we feel his glacial powers to create a flowing unstoppable force of civic support for our national parks, whose 100th anniversary we celebrate this year.
Our show today ponders the well springs of Muir’s purple prose strategies to save the earth, and it turns out it’s all about O Holy Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, and Joy to the World, effervescent enthusiasm kindled by memorizing the Bible, John Milton, Bobby Burns, Wordsworth, Emerson, Thoreau, Homer, Shakespeare. But his joy in what he sees and experiences of our world is over-the-top. Talk about bubbly: Muir’s words bring out the bubbly. So let’s celebrate the spirit of the creation of the National Parks, and the sorrow, yes, that this monumental legislation came out of, the drowning of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, what they say Muir died of, 102 years ago this Christmas Eve. Stay tuned for more on Hetch Hetchy and John Muir’s fight; but we have to remember that here we are talking about Muir, and celebrating the national parks, so there’s a happy ending. Hold it–behold–there’s no ending at all. It’s still ongoing, and there’s lots to do. So listen UP, as we slow down for The Poetry Slow Down.
The PoetrySlowDown, founded and hosted by Professor Barbara Mossberg, and produced by Zappa Johns, joining the communities of Eugene, Oregon and California’s Central Coast, where poetry wins the day. Hear the news you need, the news you heed, the news “without which men die miserably every day” (William Carlos Williams, speaking of “difficult” and “despised” poems).
© Barbara Mossberg
December 21 2016