A consideration of what we consider news, and what’s at stake, for our own survival and for society at large. In which we take up the fate of earth and all life (including spiders—and you’ll be glad) (you truly will) in poems by William Carlos Williams, coming soon to a neighborhood near you in Paterson, Mary Oliver, James Wright, Theodore Roethke, Wendell Berry, Cynthia Wolloch, Elizabeth Bishop, Mark Doty, Robert Burns, Walt Whitman, Stanley Kunitz, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Lux, Shakespeare, Thoreau, Emily Dickinson, and more. In such poems, the so-called weeds and unloved creatures thrive by our own hand, thrive by our notice, thrive by our attention, thrive by our love. Spiders and what not live, and we live! So what matters? So much. And thus we sort out the news we need, the news we heed, the news without which men die miserably every day.
Let us go then, welcoming you to the Poetry Slow Down, you know you move too fast, we’re produced on the West Coast by Zappa Johns, I’m Professor Barbara Mossberg, based here in Eugene, Oregon, Track Capital of the World, for poetic feet, podcast at barbaramossberg.com, and we’re taking time out from the headline news, late-breaking fast-breaking heart-breaking news, for the news you need, the news we heed, the news without which men die miserably every day. Well, what do I mean by this, exactly, as I invite you to slow down . . . these words are taken from a long poem by William Carlos Williams, who is featured in the new feature film Paterson, named for the epic poem he wrote about his home town. In To Asphodel, That Greeny Flower, Williams says, my heart rouses . . . and he should know!
What’s in these poems, anyway? He claims it will save our life and make us happy. Then he writes a poem like The Red Wheelbarrow. What is he talking about? How can he say that? What depends? Let’s look at some poems that call on us to be happy and to save our life—not waste it.
THE POETRY SLOW DOWN
With Professor Barbara Mossberg
February 19, 2017
Produced by Zappa Johns
© Barbara Mossberg 2017