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W.H. Auden observed that the extreme opposite of the daily newspaper is poetry. The poet according to Auden is not interested in personalities or psychology or progress or new is what moves him to write are his encounters with the sacred in nature in human beings. And nothing else by the sacred adn says he does not mean only the good la belle Dom is as sacred as Beatrice the sacred can arouse terror and despair as well as all. And wonder or joy and gratitude. Nor is the sacred confined to the romantically mysterious fairy lands for Lorne. Indeed every set of verses whatever their subject are by their formal nature him to natural law and a gesture of astonishment at that greatest of mysteries. The order of the universe. No one and nothing becomes sacred and hence a poetic subject. By their own efforts it is rather the sacred
that chooses them as agents through which to manifest itself. Vice versa the poet cannot feel its presence by wishing to. To say that good poetry must be inspired means not that poems are a sort of automatic writing and typing us to work but it's a stimulus to a good poem. He's given the poet he cannot simply think one up or is another Old Crow Carl Sandburg said of poetry. If you don't get it it ain't for you. Here's poet John Chardy is a poem that I wrote after an experience in Florida we live in this crazy time when things change too fast. I left in the middle of winter and a few hours later I was in Florida and I would like to at the University of Florida have the president's guest wait. I went to bed and I woke up and the cell was all covered by vines and I was a mocking bird on it. I just throbbing away doing the whole range of
things. That's too fast. I still had my other shows in my suitcase. I'm like there needs to be a translation for it. I call this yet not to listen to that song nothing. I found myself thinking I think maybe I'm just saying this in retrospect was that what a Mocking Bird says doesn't mean anything but a terrible mistake not to listen. I'm not sure but that's a prince of the whole world. I woke in the Florida late and lazy in my cell my few flown hours from wind to a blaze of tropic and on it like a small soul spilling its echoes of heaven. A fluff of bliss and full throb a Mockingbird went on in the thrill of itself to itself. Birds have nothing to say yet not to listen to
that sung Nothing is the death of the rapture rapture or loneliness. The difference is in what one is reminded of listening only after reminders can one hear the first last and first again the sweet skulled of nothing in the bird burst godlings that wake. Like Rose had just trembling on the trolley on hibiscus like a million butterfly just alighting all the rambling trumpets of a vine lifting to a blow to Zion that the time is come of the splitting of the heart of plant that the bird son is born and not heaven. Anyway keep in mind that the holy outpouring of an instant of nothing oh and nothing again and again on it's silly in that son where the infant soul of its few flown hours from winter again sayings and wake and
hears. I have I have a lot of birdwatch a poem which might affect the whole section of my last book because it is about what I think I'll go to a better good. William Butler Yeats he was always trying to find a branch to light on it was never there. And anyhow it doesn't make any difference he would go and I mention Madame Blavatsky here he spent a lot of time out of the lodge he was a spiritualist of medium and she had arranged Yeats was interested in automatic writing out of the vats he had arranged to send back signals and she had friends posted at the at the telegraph key to see what she sent back. Nothing came through. I think there's too much dust in the wind. Reality and Willi reality and Yates would too even tell them what to do.
Where to and what to say and when to turn and go away and let the ectoplasm was take his hand under right and right again make reality is reality they could not hide staff at least not while he held it in the trance of style. Their style is speech and the song long as reality is long it is the stylist lost his tongue and lost just text and his tone and they cut off no skin and bone style less as mud caked into stone reality and yeah she's one Madame Blavatsky who was part of Lily's vipers not his range with friends before she died and sure signals from the other side. Some of her friends insist she tried to send them back but none came through that same reality you and you
and I are never sure of. Must I conclude you include such dust as chokes off seg knows what we have is how it's Die. The Poms appear still to transmit and still today signals from some reality. I'd like to wind this up with a few minus farms. This one is very new I had to I had to get stern and act like God with my son. And it's I was a you know I'm I'm badly cast for the role and he was sitting there sucking because I made him to go to his room his great big brown the soft treacherous eyes letting out the biggest here as they were and I could I could get his it was partly fake but it's still so sweetly that I couldn't get it out of my mind and I sort
of exorcised him by writing this poem. It's called Boy he is in his room sout shot his small fist to the face clenched his chair is as close to holy water as I recall any first font shining above away and fierce in his sacrament. Father forced this to face to a lot of us. And I who am changed chafed and galled as any son his jailer my Will his sallow his hot eyes mine. Whose will be done I think wrong or very well. I make too much of nothing much my will of a boy's tears dry into the smudge of any time.
But I am not much destiny. I am not best what prize with him. At worst that smallest God the keeper of one the limelight must be made to follow the last lot takes more god than I am to make. I'm wrong as a mind as right as love and father of the chair as I bless you and there's But but I may have cried enough when he has cried this little I confess I don't know my own reasons our own way. And a son was forgive the father as they all but. This is I think as a suburban Samson Agonistes days coming home on the 520 to apprise British well-tailored plump middle aged man swings off the train before it stops his two foot jump and small quick steps spring
a small pain in his hip socket but his stride Johnsen away this is a matter of pride. I really did that rather well. Not a track record to be sure but rather nimble All in all the deft mind lets his stride out feels the power of blurring past the cracks in the concrete his shadows strafe passionate and athlete. How did this fact and foolish man come over and they he is not I that I am hey you know I began as something else. When did I die. Well tell the truth not I but all of those I tried and Frerotte play like trying on a south not quite like thought like hope like fear. No not like they are that something outside and not afraid of what I am I can still hear our live sad I got to say I lived then
forgiven so I brushed you gentlemen let nothing you dismay and above SAW THE WORLD FOR TRYING TO THE WORLD the sane I used to say that sort of thing to God. He didn't like an idiot for a son. I wasn't played myself so I changed style. I was a little everything for a while. The one thing I was not see until it came upon me without being asked was this middle of nothing much with NO NO NO NAME this flap of thought a plane spry this piss out of a tree of apes. This vintage trying to act like gods first the rest of that ape up in the tree. The botanist below it the lone boy at every bot as the missionary days sucking the first solos the gun out with his new toy the stink of small ambitions bought a clown professor a poop. Pride of the noumenon.
How many faces I have Shad I think I see. Bone shot pencil could draw out that sound. Mine is dad. The Fallen pencil pointless as dad would want no hand holds it yet and that hands hold the fact an instrument of the mind. Hello. Told from himself too what a god might say at a on line desire for the passion and the struggle. Make of what it is today to brief his own fashion and yet long enough to shadow and the shadow and the shadow what he is not and he draw his own had dried the bone if bone is all that stays in his love. Dry a bone of my entry I get sad skull it's hollow Gray is the black and the grand the rounded white
brainpan double jointed to the light. The eyes for caves as well as sons roses unnamed deep slashed its way. Held on to the light on which the pencils slashed the dry and home and made a thing to say this joke good John Thain by his belly cashed in chatted Manet one hip and one knee creaking on the calcium grid through which he plays a large agonist muscle and mind of days. Well I forget and every face rips off the eight others and it is in every bone. I know him well and I have my coffee his cough and his aches closer than father and son this fall and I go home like you and your ignorance until some counsel makes us true.
Poet John Chardy newspaper columnist. Another one Harry Golden editor of the irrepressible Carolina Israel lied who by the by is a cross between Allan Sherman and Art Buchwald. Harry Golden observes in his book Mr. Kennedy and the negroes on December 1st 1955 in Montgomery Alabama a negro woman Mrs. Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. Mrs. Parks would not move because she was physically tired after a day's work cleaning someone else's house. She was arrested. The Montgomery bus strike was on. Out of this crucible emerged the representative Negro leader the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who not only led the strike but infused the Negro movement with a philosophy of nonviolence
and American adaptation of Gandhi's passive resistance. If the streets must run with blood. Let it be our blood and not that of our white brothers. Two sources writes Dr. King inspired this movement. Christ furnished the spirit and motivation while Gandhi furnished a method that speaks very good and it should be stated that a third man also influenced Dr. King greatly. Martin Luther King discusses that third man and the fine art of living in America. Survival might be a better word with Studs Terkel in Chicago. You yourself when you went to Morehead Morehouse College with Dr. Mays President your things your growth played a role. Your father then thought oh yes well the
role played a very significant role in that I came to see you when I first read his essay on civil disobedience which I read my second year in Morehouse College that non cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. And that has lived with me I have a sense I think this is the most moving of the most important influence of the role in my life. Think of the friend that has created Martin Luther King with oral and then it was Gandhi. Your reading of Gandhi and that individual man as an end rather than to me. Yeah well done day by far. I did more than any human being to lift the love ethic of the New Testament Jesus a sermon on the Mount to the powerful level of socio political
action and I often say that I received a great deal of the inspiration for this movement from Gandhi because he provided the kind of operational technique that made the love ethic a reality in so many dimensions and I think Gandhi said and this stands as one of the truly great persons of history and that the whole nonviolent movement that we see in the United States today is great led and flown by Mahatma Gandhi and particularly the Revolutionary work that he did in India. Like you say love is revolutionary love as and as a technique for social transformation. Yes exactly and this is on the whole we had seen love mailing and terms of. Individual relations
and the love ethic usually were sought obvious something that applied between individuals as they thought in the context of their relationship with each other but what Gonda dead was to live the love ethic. To this this grade level of social transformation so that not only must an individual love an individual but a whole racial group must love another racial group and that somehow through this love process all got into mass action we can bring about powerful social change like you sitting here and you're going to last this this matter of humor through adversity. I know a close friend of yours Dr. Robb Reverend Ralph Abernathy left because one of the funniest memory wonderfully speakers I've heard for years. Yes. Well I think you you've got to have the ability to engage in creative life in
order to live amid difficulties and tension. If you can't laugh in life you have a miserable human being and I think a great deal of truth often comes through laughter and some people have developed that talent. To get this truth over too many people die laughing. The truth into them and out of them so that I think Huma is most important in getting a truth and getting people to understand then all of to rise above that espouse which can surround them. So this a laughter through adversity the humor of adversity to survive. Yes yes that's exactly right. It is often necessary to laugh in order to survive I think this is what has happened to the negro So often people misinterpret the laughter of the negro it's a deep well laughed It's the
kind of laughter that most creative optimism out of a very pessimistic situations and it is the laughter that kept the negro slave going amid a very trying and difficult in the weltering situation. I think sometimes I hear this laughter in the midst of a better phrase or a better memory. That was the laughter that comes through as opposed to unable to survive the particular agony of that memory a moment as a laugh. It's a bitter laugh at the same time it's a laugh that a neighbors want to survive. Yes yes well I think you're exactly right and without it it would be a very miserable situation and we would be a miserable people. And when you're downtown sipping champagne with. Friends. Don't forget this glorious environment which molded. To. Make it. One hundred and twenty.
Seventh Street. Don't think that one hundred and twenty seventh Street. Like you're wrong. I remember. When you know something. Like that. Leave me.
Kids play here. And there. Place.
Me. Can. You make an ermine we've got Superman.
Right. The American Journal produced at the University of Wisconsin radio station WAGA a contributing editor Jack Summerfield New York. John Campbell is San Francisco. Gerry Ellis of JF Jacey Los Altos California. And Studs Terkel who appears through the courtesy of W F m t Chicago. The song one hundred twenty seven street with Sammy Davis and the original Broadway cast album of golden boy original percussion pieces theme and interludes played by Don vaguely. Jay Collins and Tom vaguely technical operation Babo Dean script by George bucolic.
Your host Carl Schmitt. A grant from the National Home Library Foundation has made possible the production of this program for national educational radio. This is the national educational radio network.
The American journal
Writing, part 2
Producing Organization
WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
This program, the second of two parts, features interviews about writing with John Ciardi and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Series Description
This is an informal, "magazine" style interview series on the fine arts.
Broadcast Date
Fine Arts
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Composer: Voegeli, Don
Host: Schmidt, Karl
Interviewee: King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968
Interviewer: Terkel, Studs, 1912-2008
Performer: Davis, Sammy, Jr., 1925-1990
Producing Organization: WRVR (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
Producing Organization: WHA (Radio station : Madison, Wis.)
Speaker: Ciardi, John, 1916-1986
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 65-13-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:28:25
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Chicago: “The American journal; Writing, part 2,” 1965-02-17, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 25, 2024,
MLA: “The American journal; Writing, part 2.” 1965-02-17. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 25, 2024. <>.
APA: The American journal; Writing, part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from