In Memorium, Antonina Rumore Clarke, June 13 1920-Nov 23-24 2010.Music:
Amazing Grace
Camp Granada
I Will Survive

verb: grace; 3rd person present: graces; past tense: graced; past participle: graced; gerund or present participle: gracing

do honor or credit to (someone or something) by one’s presence.”

2.synony 3.dignify, distinguish, honor, favor

Her Grace is all she has—
And that, so least displays—
One Art to recognize, must be,
Another Art, to praise. —Emily Dickinson

Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.  Amen” ― Margot Benary-Isbert


This is your own Professor Barbara Mossberg, Welcoming you to our Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540AM, Produced by Sara Hughes, as we slow down for the news we need, the news we heed, the news without which “men die miserably every day,” according to William Carlos Williams, OB/GYN by day, who knows life and death stakes and can write with authority about why we need what he admits are “despised” poems and “difficult to read,” but this is grandstanding self-deprecatory shenanigans, we know this, he looooovvves poetry and WE love poetry, gathered here today, when what’s been in the news is all about poetry, the 50th anniversary of the death of John F Kennedy, and a columnist Paul Greenberg of the Arkansas Gazette was reflecting about it, and graced his column with Emily Dickinson’s “there’s a certain slant of light,” and did not mention or attribute it to her—she is not surprised, she said after all, “I’m nobody—who are you?”—well, Emily, you are going to get your gingerbread desserts, in our show in two weeks celebrating your birthday, you had written, “Me come! My dazzled face in such a shining place! Me—hear—the sounds of welcome there! –. . .my fame shall be that they pronounce my name—“ and we will, we will, meanwhile, you grace our national writers on the political scene with your words: and then there is the grace, the amazing grace, of a so-called “near miss” by the largest explosion in our universe since the Big Bang, which narrowly missed us, in space terms so to speak, 13 billion light years away, as a star three times the size of our sun died, sinking into a black hole and exploding in a supernova, the likes of which have never been seen, gamma rays which if earth was in its path, well, there’s the poetry of relief, of a certain grace we have been given as earth, and a more personal news, the anniversary of another supernova, someone who graced us with her presence, my mom, who we celebrated at Arlington National Cemetary, with the singing of Amazing Grace. Our show today is on grace, and fierceness, inspired by my mom, her own fiery grace and fierceness, let’s go! Let’s get outta here, as she said—and a related word: gratitude. Grace may be the experience and expression of gratitude. Gratitude may be the experience and expression of grace. A Thanksgivingish theme for this coming week!

Okay, I’ll start—with some bookends for this star in my life sky, gracing my life, first, from many years ago, on my mom as the mom of a poet, who may not have felt graced by a daughter poet, and mothers out there, and dads, this is just to say, I hear you.

. . .

So Poetry Slow Down, amazing grace, finally: as we say goodbye once again to JFK, and a star, and my own mom, what do the poets say about tough love, radiant being, feisty spirit? We’ll slow down to hear (hear hear!) tributes to moms and feisty shenanigans, poems about grace and gratitude as inextricable, Billy Collins, Bernadette Meyer, Wendell Berry, Joy Harjo, Grace Paley, Herman Melville, Margot Beneray-Isbert, Jane Hirshfield, Thoreau, Derek Walcott, Rumi, e.e. cummings, and more . . .
© Barbara Mossberg 2013

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