The new year slumbers

Restless beneath quilted white

Dreaming of roses—

That’s California State University Professor Pam Baker, haikuing it up in mid January, and this is Professor Barbara Mossberg, hi you, haiku, Pam’s grand slam haiku, we’re at the Poetry Slow Down, KRXA 540AM, with Producer Sara Hughes, and the subject was roses, but we’ve still got roses on our mind–your fault, O flight of Poetry Slow Down radio waving community! This past week, you were so SWEET, sending poems and responses to our show, the green bough in our heart at bmossberg@csumb.edu, and the show began, give me a rose in the winter time, when it’s hard to find, give me a rose in the winter time, I’ve got roses on my mind, for a rose is sweet most any time and yet, give me a rose in the winter time, how easy to forget, and who can give us a rose in the wintertime, who are we asking—and voila, here comes running on poetic feet, iambically limb-ered, hell0, poets (if roses didn’t exist poets would have invented them, they are the ultimate symbol for whatever poets want to talk about—the big things); maybe it’s the poets singing give me a rose in the wintertime, when it’s hard to find. . . I’ve got roses on my mind . . . the poet in each of us, appealing to the Muse, in the wintertime of our imaginations, our spirits, when it’s bleak: our muse is a rose gardener, making roses bloom year round in poetry, and for us, poets till our souls’ gardens and cultivate roses out of the dark rich soil of our imaginations: so I gave you a little bouquet of poems and poets who have roses on their minds . . . who knew that it was going to turn out that  literature is a hothouse of roses. We continue with Pablo Neruda (and check out Carmel, California’s Cherry Center’s exhibition on artist Mary Heebner, who does paintings in response to Neruda’s poetry). Recalling Neruda’s poetry on roses, we trace the influences on Neruda, Shakespeare, William Blake, Walt Whitman (and Edgar Allen Poe, celebrate him this week with cognac and three roses), Garcia Lorca, and Cervantes, and their exquisite poems on roses. We hear from poets we love on weeds wax on roses, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Theodore Roethke, and follow up Roethke on roses with roses in Stanley Kunitz, Stanley Plumley, Rita Dove, Mary Oliver, St. Exupery, Hawthorne, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and W.S. Merwin, as poet and translator (of Neruda). Why does it matter that roses bloom year-round in poetry? Your own Professor holds forth on this “news we need” and the hypothesis that such poetry about the earth can change the news. More on this next week. And you are encouraged to contribute to a California Poet Laureate project I am excited to support that bridges painting and poetry (see below). I can’t remember when I have so enjoyed researching a show and reading listener mail on this topic—and it was all because of you. There are dozens of poets and poems on the subject of roses we did not even get to! Next week, stay tuned for poetry and civil rights, but don’t be surprised if roses are still on our minds. . .

© Barbara Mossberg 2011

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