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Lyric Life

Mark Scarbrough

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Lyric Life

Lyric Life

Mark Scarbrough

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About Us

Join me, Mark Scarbrough, on this bookmarked journey through some of the best lyric poetry in the English language. I've got a passion for small, evocative poems. I'd like to share those poems with you--as well as a some thoughts about the best things we humans have invented: love, purpose, and identity.

Latest Episodes

Episode 47: Emily Dickinson, Poem #374 ("It will be Summer -- eventually")

Hope in winter, spring, summer at its fullest--and then what? Emily Dickinson knows. It's what she does best: language. Metaphor. Loss is poetry. Loss is expressed in poetic language. When summer's over, there's always poetry.

18 MIN6 d ago
Comments
Episode 47: Emily Dickinson, Poem #374 ("It will be Summer -- eventually")

Episode 46: Emily Dickinson, Poem #373 ("This World is not conclusion")

Dickinson's magnificent poem "This World is not conclusion" stands as a statement of doubt in a world of faith, or of faith in a world of doubt, or of a different kind of faith in a world where everyone's so very certain. The poem is mostly a testament to her skill as a skilled writer of nuance, irony, and voice.

18 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Episode 46: Emily Dickinson, Poem #373 ("This World is not conclusion")

Episode 45: Jane Kenyon, "Alone for a Week"

What if we need other people, not to make life more meaningful, but to make it less so? What if life alone becomes fraught, difficult, and, well, "allegorical," as Kenyon puts it? A powerful poem for this quarantined moment.

15 MINAPR 26
Comments
Episode 45: Jane Kenyon, "Alone for a Week"

Episode 44: Philip Levine, "What Work Is"

Here's Philip Levine's gorgeous meditation on the true nature of work, on how work happens, and finally on what it is: the love we never show because we don't understand "what work is."

15 MINAPR 8
Comments
Episode 44: Philip Levine, "What Work Is"

Episode 43: Philip Levine, "Gin"

Why did we ever start drinking gin? Maybe not for the reasons we think. Maybe there's something deeper than all the reasons, something more human, something more redemptive.

18 MINMAR 31
Comments
Episode 43: Philip Levine, "Gin"

Episode 42: e. e. cummings, "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in"

Maybe we all need a little Valentine's Day right about now. Maybe love is the strangest force of the universe. And maybe we, kept apart in this age of pestilence, have to resist the forces in the universe that keep the stars apart and find out ways to carry someone else's heart.

12 MINMAR 24
Comments
Episode 42: e. e. cummings, "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in"

Episode 41: Robert Pinsky's "Antique"

When you get beyond all the bombast of love, all that's left is the image of the one you love, held for a moment in a diminished world, held against the "acids of breath."

15 MINFEB 7
Comments
Episode 41: Robert Pinsky's "Antique"

Episode 40: Emily Dickinson, Poem 124 ("Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers")

What happens when you make your life all about safety? Especially in a world where there is none, where diadems drop every moment? You miss out. You live in hope--and miss the grand arc of time swirling above you.

14 MINJAN 24
Comments
Episode 40: Emily Dickinson, Poem 124 ("Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers")

Episode 39: Philip Levine, "The Simple Truth"

Philip Levine's deceptively simple "The Simple Truth" lays out what makes us human: the ability to taste simple boiled potatoes, seasoned with butter and salt. It has been a part of my life for decades now. It is lodged in my soul. I can't wait to share it with you.

16 MINJAN 17
Comments
Episode 39: Philip Levine, "The Simple Truth"

Episode 38: Emily Dickinson, Poem 282 ("We play at paste")

Dickinson's poem is both rage and acceptance. But at what? Becoming a woman in a man's world? Becoming a poet in Thomas Wentworth Higginson's world? Both? More? Elusive and captivating, her poetry is never easy but always right.

14 MIN2019 DEC 20
Comments
Episode 38: Emily Dickinson, Poem 282 ("We play at paste")

Latest Episodes

Episode 47: Emily Dickinson, Poem #374 ("It will be Summer -- eventually")

Hope in winter, spring, summer at its fullest--and then what? Emily Dickinson knows. It's what she does best: language. Metaphor. Loss is poetry. Loss is expressed in poetic language. When summer's over, there's always poetry.

18 MIN6 d ago
Comments
Episode 47: Emily Dickinson, Poem #374 ("It will be Summer -- eventually")

Episode 46: Emily Dickinson, Poem #373 ("This World is not conclusion")

Dickinson's magnificent poem "This World is not conclusion" stands as a statement of doubt in a world of faith, or of faith in a world of doubt, or of a different kind of faith in a world where everyone's so very certain. The poem is mostly a testament to her skill as a skilled writer of nuance, irony, and voice.

18 MIN2 w ago
Comments
Episode 46: Emily Dickinson, Poem #373 ("This World is not conclusion")

Episode 45: Jane Kenyon, "Alone for a Week"

What if we need other people, not to make life more meaningful, but to make it less so? What if life alone becomes fraught, difficult, and, well, "allegorical," as Kenyon puts it? A powerful poem for this quarantined moment.

15 MINAPR 26
Comments
Episode 45: Jane Kenyon, "Alone for a Week"

Episode 44: Philip Levine, "What Work Is"

Here's Philip Levine's gorgeous meditation on the true nature of work, on how work happens, and finally on what it is: the love we never show because we don't understand "what work is."

15 MINAPR 8
Comments
Episode 44: Philip Levine, "What Work Is"

Episode 43: Philip Levine, "Gin"

Why did we ever start drinking gin? Maybe not for the reasons we think. Maybe there's something deeper than all the reasons, something more human, something more redemptive.

18 MINMAR 31
Comments
Episode 43: Philip Levine, "Gin"

Episode 42: e. e. cummings, "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in"

Maybe we all need a little Valentine's Day right about now. Maybe love is the strangest force of the universe. And maybe we, kept apart in this age of pestilence, have to resist the forces in the universe that keep the stars apart and find out ways to carry someone else's heart.

12 MINMAR 24
Comments
Episode 42: e. e. cummings, "i carry your heart with me(i carry it in"

Episode 41: Robert Pinsky's "Antique"

When you get beyond all the bombast of love, all that's left is the image of the one you love, held for a moment in a diminished world, held against the "acids of breath."

15 MINFEB 7
Comments
Episode 41: Robert Pinsky's "Antique"

Episode 40: Emily Dickinson, Poem 124 ("Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers")

What happens when you make your life all about safety? Especially in a world where there is none, where diadems drop every moment? You miss out. You live in hope--and miss the grand arc of time swirling above you.

14 MINJAN 24
Comments
Episode 40: Emily Dickinson, Poem 124 ("Safe in Their Alabaster Chambers")

Episode 39: Philip Levine, "The Simple Truth"

Philip Levine's deceptively simple "The Simple Truth" lays out what makes us human: the ability to taste simple boiled potatoes, seasoned with butter and salt. It has been a part of my life for decades now. It is lodged in my soul. I can't wait to share it with you.

16 MINJAN 17
Comments
Episode 39: Philip Levine, "The Simple Truth"

Episode 38: Emily Dickinson, Poem 282 ("We play at paste")

Dickinson's poem is both rage and acceptance. But at what? Becoming a woman in a man's world? Becoming a poet in Thomas Wentworth Higginson's world? Both? More? Elusive and captivating, her poetry is never easy but always right.

14 MIN2019 DEC 20
Comments
Episode 38: Emily Dickinson, Poem 282 ("We play at paste")
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