Poetic Discourse

It was great to talk to Ted Kooser and Nancy Arbuthnot
yesterday. There were a couple of poems and resources that we referred to, and
I wanted to make sure that you had them. We talked about three books that Ted wrote Delights and ShadowsValentines and The Poetry Home Repair Manual. Here are the two poems we referred to, which can both be found in Delights and Shadows:

Praying Hands

There is at least one pair

in every thrift shop in America,

molded in plastic or plaster of paris

and glued to a plaque,

or printed in church-pamphlet colors

and framed under glass.

Today I saw a pair made out of

lightweight wire stretched over a pattern

of finishing nails.

This is the way faith goes

from door to door,

cast out of one and welcomed at another.

A butterfly presses its wings like that

as it rests between flowers.

Ted mentioned that he writes a lot of poetry, and ends up
with only a few that he really likes. I asked him if he could name one of the poems
that he cared about, and he mentioned this one:

Screech Owl

All night each reedy whinny

from a bird no bigger than a heart

flies out of a tall black pine

and, in a breath, is taken away

by the stars. Yet, with small hope

from the center of darkness

it calls out again and again.

Nancy Arbuthnot read three poems on the air from a
collection of poems based on passages from the Gospel of John that she’s working on. Here are two of them:


Bread like breath

that breathes through a thousand small holes–

Bread his father used to bake

mixing yeast and sugar

flour and water and oil

letting the dough rise

punching it down

the sweet moist aroma

filling the small apartment

May I have some? he’d ask

and his father would slice the still warm loaf

and place a piece in his hands

What purity of question–

what was wanted, asked for

What purity, the answer–

what was asked for, given


O moth now dead

that lived only a

crawling hidden
beneath the closed lid

of the cedar trunk

where in late
spring I stored for the summer

my wool sweaters,

as I run my cheeks against

the rabbity down
of my pink angora cardigan

the cashmere
elegance of the tight black jewel-neck

I wore to parties, pausing in the

to toss the purple
silk scarf

over my shoulder,

as for the last time I wrap around
my shoulders

this loose-knit
green sweater-jacket

I loved to read
in, curled on the couch

while outside a red-headed

knocked at the

O tiny
nibbling-mouthed moth

I cannot find–

nothing of your
self remains,

no papery wings,
no hard slug

of thorax and abdomen–teach me

from what remains

of my beautiful
wool sweaters

to love without

Episode 13 – Poetry, sheer poetry

Ted Kooser.jpgOur guest for the July 27, 2009 show will be Ted Kooser, 13th Poet Laureate of the United States.  He and Carol Howard Merritt will be talking about poetry, writing, probably reading poetry, and using poetry submitted to our producer.  If you are interested in submitting a haiku or limerick about the God Complex for use in the show, please send it to landon@godcomplexradio.com and you might hear it on the air!

Carol will also be joined by Nancy Arbuthnot, professor of poetry at the US Naval Academy, and the author of Wild Washington.
She’s a wonderful person and a great teacher. She also teaches poetry
at Miriam’s Kitchen, and helped the guests compile a book.

Most of the God Complex team will be scattered to the winds.  Well, OK.  Actually 3 of us will be at Montreat for the Youth Conference, Bruce will be in DC for something, and Landon will be on a mission trip in Guatemala.  We’d like to thank former guest and friend of the show Fritz Gutwein for helping out this week, along with Heather Scott who will be engineering from Montreat as usual.

We’ve also upgraded our subscription to BlogTalkRadio, and that will enable us to screen callers.  No more “Hello?  Caller?”!  We are Always Reforming here at the God Complex!

The show starts at noon EDT, 9am PDT on Monday, July 27, 2009.  Listen live or archived at https://www.blogtalkradio.com/godcomplexradio or here.

Episode 12 – Paul Raushenbush

Paul R.jpg

This episode features Rev. Paul Raushenbush, Associate Dean of Religious Life at Princeton University and moderator of the Progressive Revival blog.  Paul, Bruce and Carol will be talking about the Social Gospel in the 21st Century.

Join us for the program on Monday, July 20 at Noon EDT, 9am PDT for the live show, or listen to the archives after 2pm EDT Monday.

Read more

Episode 11 – Calvin!

JC.jpgThis week we are celebrating John Calvin’s Birthday!  (and probably discussing the oxymoron of a Calvin Celebration)  Calvin would have been 500 last Friday.

Our guest today is Rev. Dr. Stephen Ray of Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Chicago.  He is the author of Do No Harm:  Social Sin and Christian Responsibility and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.

Our music today will be provided by Switchyard.

The show begins at Noon EDT, 9am PDT today.

Episode 10 – Doug Pagitt

Summer time has hit us, and The God Complex team are not exempt.  This week Carol will be in New Zealand, and Bruce will likely be at some famous house in Washington DC.  As a result, this week’s program is pre-taped.

Doug Pagitt.jpgOur guest will be Doug Pagitt.  Doug is the founder of the Solomon’s Porch christian community in Minneapolis, MN, one of the founders of Emergent Village, and a candidate for the Minnesota state legislature.

Our musician will be Erik Johnson, who is traveling with Doug on tour.

This program will air on Monday, July 6, 2009 at Noon EDT, 9am PDT.  You can listen at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/godcomplexradio either live or archived.  The chat room will be open during the live show, but we obviously won’t be able to pass comments and questions to the hosts.

We’ll be live again next week.