Our Poetry Slow Down’s title takes off from Alicia Ostriker’s “April,” with notes of birthday glads Shakespeare and John Muir, speaking for Earth Day, and the theme today of “I’ll Take It, I’ll Make It, Anywhere I Am (Pray It Be Outside),” and “it” is poetry, making our day as we make our way, perhaps thinking we are wasting our time, in waiting and being non-productive, finding in the off-road, off-pavement, out-of-pocket moments something in our pockets for just such time when we s l o w down. Giving our poets a hearing in this Realm of Air, we have Charles Tripi on Gerald Stern and Li-Young Lee on prayer and their blessing poems redeeming wasteland through the agency of grapefruit and peaches, a revery of John Muir’s cover of his tutor Shakespeare’s “tongues in trees . . . sermon in rocks” from As You Like It, pocket poems to get us through the so-thought wasted moments to new juiciness, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbery, Ilya Kaminsky, George Moses Horton, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Mark Turcotte, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, C.K. Williams, Goethe, Karl Shapiro, James Wright (a poem I cannot get enough of, you know which one), Barbara Cooney (at last), Amy Lowell, Joy Harjo’s “Eagle,” Gwendolyn Brooks’s frontyard, David Brower, Christopher Morley, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Janet Loxley Lewis, Seamus Heaney. Professor Mossberg? Dr. B? With all due respect, a glory of riches, in one hour! You are right, so right, I got carried away like Heaney’s kite! Like Tripi’s prayer! The sermon in stone, to be astonished! So listen, I will be broadcasting next week from Central Park at Shakespeare’s statue, and we will do Miss Rumphius then, and Brower, and Shakespeare the eco-poet, because we have to hear them all—our need of poets: they are (and this is the note on which our show ends today) wonderful, astonishing, exemplars in ways to be, reading the authorial earth, in Ostriker’s words, “a concerto of good stinks.” Thank you for joining me! And I would love to see the “bench poetry” you find, at What is it about love and memory, when only poetry will do?
© Barbara Mossberg 2011

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