PRACTICING RESURRECTION – I who have died am alive again today—e.e. Cummings

Ears of our ears are opened! Thank you mr. e. e. cummings, you ARE indeed alive again today and so are we,—slowing down for our Poetry Slow Down, I am your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, alive again today, on the theme of resurrection—life rising again—when it was thought it was over—done with—gone for good—or bad—hopeless—and up springs against all the odds and expectations, life! The title of our show today Practicing Resurrection is from a line by a farmer poet, Wendell Berry, in his Manifesto: Mad Farmer’s Liberation Front poem, where he gives us advice, concluding with, “practice resurrection.” I’ve been writing at my parents’ 100 year old house with pond and trees and bushes and flowers that our son is trying to honor by keeping them alive, and what we thought truly was nevermore, I mean, that we were sure was really really dead, no signs of life at all, pathetic dried twigs, brown drowned leaves, are furled bright green leaves and fruit and blossom and lily pads, no, you were done for, how, how now? How has this miracle happened, what is the meaning for us in these ways of resurrection? We are going to hear about people who actually practice resurrection, stories that will bring back to springing life our own hopes and visions for our earth and all creation—and what poetry has to do with it! We’ll hear about Joyce Kilmer’s “Trees” and other poems that are catalysts for resurrection, what has died and is alive again today, including David Milarch’s Archangel Ancient Trees project, and what the Williams (Blake, Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Carlos Williams, Merwin, Stafford—so many Bills we have a flock of birds or we’re millionaires—“Williamaires”—have to do with it. We’ll hear resurrection attitude in selections from Robert Bly’s anthology The Rag and Bone Shop of the Heart, from Charles Wright’s Appalachia, and ways that resurrection occurs in daily life including at the hair salon for a sixty-four-year old, and a “wild thing” child (Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are), and the inextricable connection of poetry and science and angels in the capacity of our world to spring back to life and life again. Thoreau is called our greatest writer on resurrection, while Whitman objects, and your host almost is not alive again today until this dust-up is resolved. Yours truly, Professor Barbara Mossberg, Dr. B, and next up, speaking of genius science in service of goodness, the Fulbright program, where going away gets us, and what poets have to say about the role of journey and experiencing ourselves as “other” and others, in the Mayan saying, as our other me, “You are my other me” and how poetry illuminates the Fulbright legacy. Until then, remember that when you do go away, and “have died,” when you come back to us, where you are loved most of all, your dinner will still be hot.

© Barbara Mossberg 2013

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