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A morning of poetry with Marilyn Nelson from the third day of our On Being Gathering.
This year, we were thrilled to host our very first On Being Gathering — a four-day coming-together of the On Being community for reflection, conversation, and companionship — at the 1440 Multiversity in the redwoods of Scotts Valley, California. We greeted each day with verse from some of our most beloved poets — and now we’d like to share these delightful moments with all of you. Here is how Marilyn Nelson opened our Sunday morning.
Marilyn Nelson is professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She is the 2012 recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal for “distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry.” Her books include “The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems,” “Mrs. Nelson’s Class,” and “The Meeting House.”
Find the transcript for this show at onbeing.org.
Marilyn Nelson has taught poetry and contemplative practice to college students and to West Point cadets. She gives winsome voice to forgotten people from history, shining a light on the complicated ancestry that can help us in what she calls “communal pondering.” To sit with Marilyn Nelson is to gain a newly spacious perspective on what that might mean — and on why, in this troubled moment, Americans young and old are turning to poetry with urgency.
September 6, 2018
Pádraig Ó Tuama and Marilyn Nelson
Choosing Words That Deepen The Argument of Being Alive
Pádraig Ó Tuama and Marilyn Nelson are beloved teachers to many. To bring them together at the On Being Gathering was a delight and a balm. Marilyn is a poet and professor and contemplative, an excavator of stories that would rather stay hidden yet lead us into new life. Pádraig is a poet and theologian and social healer at Corrymeela in Northern Ireland — “a soft place for hard conversations,” of hostility met in hospitality. They venture unexpectedly into the hospitable — and intriguingly universal — form of poetry that is prayer.
The poet Jericho Brown reminds us to bear witness to the complexity of the human experience, to interrogate the proximity of violence to love, and to look and listen closer so that we might uncover the small truths and surprises in life. His presence is irreverent and magnetic, as the high school students who joined us for this conversation experienced firsthand at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.
Editor’s note: This interview discusses sexual violence and rape.
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