THIS JUST IN: MID DECEMBER NEWS WITHOUT WHICH MEN DIE MISERABLY EVERY DAY—front page news, science says optimism is important for brain and body health–and what poetry has to do with it—from the poignant to the sublime, from a woman offering minimum wage to “rent a mom and dad who can give me attention and make me feel like the light of their life for just a couple of days because I really need it” (Stockton, CA), epic poetry’s role in student’s lives as we mourn the loss of a student, and celebrate the poetry of Nelson Mandela’s leadership as the world celebrates his life, to thoughts about walking in the snow and how it is (or is not) given due justice in poetry, Rilke’s birthday, and cleaning. Cleaning? Wait a minute Dr. B—this all sounds noble and interesting but what does cleaning have to do with the poetry of these December days? Well, that’s a good question, You Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540AM, Produced by Sara Hughes, and hosted by me, Professor Barbara Mossberg, and you are good to ask, on behalf of our evolved listenership of civic consciousness. I’ll tell you what. I’ll read you a poem on cleaning, just to get us started, and we have some great cleaning poems by Billy Collins, Sandra Gilbert, Lucille Clifton, Albert Goldfarth, Mary Oliver, with notes from Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Diller, Joyce Carol Oates, Kurt Vonnegut, Ruth Stone, and others—and I won’t lie to you, there is something about this topic that invokes long, looooooong poems, poems that are just the thing if you are snowed in on a December afternoon, or looong winter’s evening, a way to slow way down—and think about the things we think about when we are cleaning, when the weather outside is frightful or delightful, it’s your call, and we’ll hear Henry David Thoreau on that subject, and how it relates to Nelson Mandela, and somehow it all comes together, so let’s begin with

Cleaning a Fish

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