Poetry Club Talks…Rita Dove Part 1

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-jfk76-109c269

Topic: Rita Dove
Host: Shannon
Poem: “Rusks”
Recorded: July 24, 2021

Rita Dove – Poems Discussed

Shannon hosts the discussion on the well-known modern American poet Rita Dove.  Playing “devil’s advocate,” Shannon asks, “Do award-winning poets write amazing poetry—consistently?”  Perhaps you’ve wondered this yourself while reading a famous poem? If you remove the famous name from the poem, is it still a “good” poem?  Dove’s poem “Rusks” appears on all the top ten list of her best poems.  Poetry Club tackles it line by line.  Does it hold up or fizzle?  Listen to find out.

Dove_Rita

BIO

Rita Frances Dove (b. August 28, 1952) Born in Akron, Ohio, U.S., as an American poet and essayist. From 1993 to 1995, she served as Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. She has the distinct honor of being the first African American and the youngest person to serve as poet laureate of the United States (1993–95).  In 2018 she was named poetry editor of The New York Times Magazine.

President Bill Clinton bestowed upon her the 1996 National Humanities Medal, and President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts, making her the only poet who has received both medals.

“There are so many casual pleasures in Ms. Dove’s poetry that the precision and dexterity in her work — the darkness, too — can catch you unawares.    

Ms. Dove’s poems have earthiness, originality, power, and range. Despair and loss are among her central themes, but so is the hunt for bedrock human pleasures.”

-Dwight Garner, for the New York Times, May 31, 2016

All poems copyright by Rita Dove.
Please visit her webpage at the UVA to learn more: https://uva.theopenscholar.com/rita-dove

Poetry Club Talks… is produced by Chickadee Productions

Day 15: Digging In

Being honest today I feel suspicious of the pandemic reactions, specifically in the United States and specifically regarding our political & medical leaders.  I live in a country that has some devastating statistics about citizens’ premature, preventable deaths.  Cigarette smoking is responsible for over 480,000 deaths a year, including 41,000 deaths resulting from second-hand smoke exposure such as a spouse or child.  Domestic violence: every 20 minutes a person or 10 million men and women a year in the US are physically abused by an intimate partner. Gun violence numbers fluctuate, but an estimated 100 people a DAY die from gun wounds; suicides, homicides, and accidents.  Of all the things to rally ’round the pole, to shut down EVERYTHING to get people’s attention, WHY select a virus that projected deaths for the year was around 250,000?  WHY?

What has changed that our government suddenly cares about 250,000 people dying prematurely?  Cares SO much that they are crashing the stock market, destroying businesses, stressing the beloved medical industry in order to reduce the numbers?  American’s have been dying in a variety of ways, preventable ways, for centuries. They say “follow the money” to discover the motive.  Global finances are not my thing.  I can only speculate, and, like a free citizen, I do.

Now, at the same time, the stoic in me says the pandemic and the statewide Stay Home Stay Healthy mandate is outside my control, and therefore I should not waste time worrying about it. Instead, focus on the personal challenges it presents to my day to day.    ..but I still think “WHY” and wonder–what am I missing in this equation?  Can it be because of world travel and how quickly a virus can spread they want to protect the countries with less sophisticated medical abilities from being completely devastated by COVID-19?  If so that is dang heroic of them, but somehow less likely behavior to expect from this gang of greedy badgers. What is their motivation?

OK- I need to go now and prepare for a Zoom meeting for work.

1) an observed joy- Typing from my bed-desk this morning, I appreciate the blankets.  I’ve owned them for almost 20 years I think. Colors and patterns of my familiar.  I am warmed by them & thankful.

2) a real concern- I am wondering if I’ll ever be able to relax and enjoy this time away from physically running around? The other day, about 1-2:00 o’clock, I had this weird sensation that I had to be somewhere.  Three times I checked my to-do list and calendar, and no, the places I thought I had to be at were closed or available by appointment only.
This is not a vacation.  I can’t go out for dinner, a movie, a play.  If I can find a way to work from home and freaking RELAX  I might come out the other end of all this a better person.

3) a personal challenge- Try and keep your normal sleep pattern, walk twice a day. Focus on the NOW.

4) one personal success (no matter how small)- a successful department meeting for me yesterday.  I have very pointed goals and to-do list this week.  My boss was sick the first two weeks of the lockdown and I lacked organizational direction during this pandemic.

5) a random thought (no matter how silly)- My daughter who lives on San Juan Island, a place with a small but strong artist community, has mailed me a fancy hand sewn face mask made on the island.  Can’t wait to see it.

Here is my daily mood expressed by a meme, stay safe, stay healthy -Shannon

 

 


https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm
https://ncadv.org/statistics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States