RECALCULATE: IN LIFE’S DIRECTIONS, SOMETIMES WE NEED TO REDEFINE WHAT WE MEAN BY HAPPY ENDING

From ancient drama to today’s poetry, lyric wisdom suggests (do or  die –“miserably”) that our sense of success, “home” and other destinations, and goals need to be rethought. Living is fraught with perils and defeats—or are our “defeats” really something to be re-imagined , evidence of necessary and heroic struggle? Is it brave to have a goal? How do we judge ourselves, and think others are judging us? Yes, Poetry Slow Down, we are slowing down to consider plots from Oedipus to The Odyssey, and the ways ancient and modern poets portray our lives. In these weeks we are thinking of Wendell Berry, Joanne Penn Cooper, David Denby, Mary Oliver, T.S. Eliot, Emily Dickinson, Dante, Shakespeare, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, and Oscar Wilde, weighing in on our human predicaments—brave, foolish, earnest—of identity, what it means to be human, now, and apparently always?  I’m your host Professor Barbara Mossberg, and we’re produced by Zappa Johns, so thank you for listening, as people always have, around some campfire, to poets and storytellers, sharing news of what it means to be us! Because, we live life from the inside out. We can’t see ourselves. We only see each other. Einstein—whom we consider a genius for saying e=mc2, and yes, it is a metaphor—says if you want to know about water, don’t ask a fish . . . But who else would we ask than the creature who swims in the water? Breeds, feeds, dies in it? But the fish doesn’t know water! Take it out of the water, however, and, gasping and flailing, it knows water. If we take ourselves out of our element, into the realm of other, out of ourselves, we can know ourselves. And that happens on the page, on the stage, in story for one another . . . and this is where our ancient wisdom begins, thousands of years ago, in the story of the Sphinx. So let’s slow down, you know you move too fast!

© Barbara Mossberg 2018

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