I’M A LONELY STRANGER HERE (Clapton) here there is no place that does not see you (Rilke): YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO TO PRISON—A POEM HAS YOUR BACK. Yes, there is an epidemic that on the surface seems bewildering, counterintuitive—elderly people committing crimes to get arrested, petty shoplifting—especially women, with children and grandchildren and often spouses, ladies who want to get away—from where they are known but invisible, as they see it—to be actually known—and the only place they can come up with is prison—which turns out to be not only not so bad but a place where they are seen at last. Our shoe today examines how poetic feet can take you away to yourself, how poems can see you, and with poetry, you’ll never walk alone.

You’ll never walk alone, on our PoetrySlowDown, Produced by Zappa Johns, and I’m your host, Professor Barbara Mossberg, Dr. B, and we’re slowing down today to talk about a phenomenon in the news, and how the news you need is the news of you, in poems where you are seen for your complicated, ambivalent, greatly wanting, greatly aspiring self: where you are known, and belong. We’ll hear Rumi, Kabir, Jane Hirschfield, Machado, Emily Dickinson, Thoreau, Charles Wright, Yeats, Rilke, Hafiz, Anna Swir, Milosz, and Mary Oliver. And next week, we’ll continue, with Dorianne Laux’s “Dust,” on Spring Cleaning, and you know, you know, you need this show, right now. We have your back, and you are known, right here: hear hear!

© Barbara Mossberg 2018

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