Monday, May 28, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Thirteen (Po)

Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain
by Li Po
Translated by Sam Hamill

This week I've selected a perfect little meditative jewel from Li Po--a prime example of how much can happen in so few words. Here we see the power of silence functioning in beautiful conjunction with the power of language. If you're not familiar with Li Po, he can be found under the names Lǐ Bái and Lǐ Bó, as well, and he lived from 701 - 762 in China. Po was a major poet of the Tang dynasty period, also known as China's "golden age" of poetry.

If you're new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post to see what this project is all about. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone! I hope you take time to really sit with this poem, perhaps until only the poem remains...

Zazen on Ching-t’ing Mountain

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away.

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Twelve (Neruda)

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon
XII From: Cien sonetos de amor
Translated by A. S. Kline

Neruda is my favorite poet, and this is one of my favorite poems by him. His gift for transformation and transcendence through metaphor is mind-boggling. Every line is a surprise, every image a delight, every phrase the birth of language.

If you're not familiar with Neruda, he was a Chilean diplomat, a poet, a politician, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was an incredibly versatile poet, writing in an eclectic mishmash of styles and modes and of great variety in subject matter.

If you're new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone! I hope you enjoy the poem!

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon

Carnal apple, Woman filled, burning moon,
dark smell of seaweed, crush of mud and light,
what secret knowledge is clasped between your pillars?
What primal night does Man touch with his senses?

Ay, Love is a journey through waters and stars,
through suffocating air, sharp tempests of grain:
Love is a war of lightning,
and two bodies ruined by a single sweetness.

Kiss by kiss I cover your tiny infinity,
your margins, your rivers, your diminutive villages,
and a genital fire, transformed by delight,

slips through the narrow channels of blood
to precipitate a nocturnal carnation,
to be, and be nothing but light in the dark.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

John E. Welshons and the Open Heart for Tiferet Talk

Tomorrow, May 21st, at 7 PM EST, I have the honor of interviewing renowned spiritual writer, John E. Welshons for Tiferet Talk. In addition to authoring the books One Soul, One Love, One Heart: The Sacred Path to Healing All Relationships, When Prayers Aren't Answered, and Awakening from Grief, Welshons is the co-author (with Mark Victor Hansen) of the audio tape Healing the Grief (…of The Loss of a Loved One).

As well, Welshons is the founder and president of Open Heart Seminars, an organization whose aim is to increase spiritual awareness and education, and he lectures frequently to businesses, churches, hospitals, hospices, synagogues, colleges, and universities throughout the United States.

Welshons holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from the University of South Florida and an M.A. in History of Religions from Florida State University.

Of Welshon’s most recent book, One Soul, One Love, One Heart, Edward M. Hallowell says, “Absolutely superb. Full of blessings for readers who seek deeper, more meaningful relationships and greater forgiveness and healing, this beautiful book is a wonderful antidote to our society’s tendency toward emotional isolation and spiritual disconnection. It will help you find your spiritual path and your spiritual heart in every relationship, in every circumstance, in every moment.”

I hope you are able to join us for the interview! If you are not able to listen live, you can listen to the permanent archives at the Blogtalk site or on itunes any time after the show airs.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Eleven (Clifton)

cutting greens

I've been just nuts about this poem ever since the first time I read it. The "kissmaking hand," the kitchen twisting "dark on its spine"--what a mythic image Clifton conjures of the hearth. And the culminating concept of consuming "the bond of live things everywhere" is just magic. Hunger is passion, passion hunger. We are what we eat; what we eat is our own dark passion.

If you're not familiar with Clifton, in addition to writing poetry, she served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Poet Laureate for the State of Maryland, and Distinguished Professor of Humanities at St. Mary's College of Maryland. A well-known quote about her work is the following from Rita Dove:  "In contrast to much of the poetry being written today—intellectualized lyricism characterized by an application of inductive thought to unusual images—Lucille Clifton's poems are compact and self-sufficient...Her revelations then resemble the epiphanies of childhood and early adolescence, when one's lack of preconceptions about the self allowed for brilliant slippage into the metaphysical, a glimpse into an egoless, utterly thingful and serene world."

If you're new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone! I know it will be a joy to memorize this poem.

cutting greens

curling them around
i hold their bodies in obscene embrace
thinking of everything but kinship.
collards and kale
strain against each strange other
away from my kissmaking hand and
the iron bedpot.
the pot is black,
the cutting board is black,
my hand,
and just for a minute
the greens roll black under the knife,
and the kitchen twists dark on its spine
and I taste in my natural appetite
the bond of live things everywhere.

Lucille Clifton, "cutting greens" from The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Write Step with R. Jeffreys and More

This has been an exciting week! On Thursday I read with a talented bunch of poets for the Walt Whitman Birthday Bash in Conroe, Texas; on Friday I found out that I won a coveted Lone Star College System Writing Award; and on Saturday, along with my beaux and the other authors of Mark Miller's One Series, I was interviewed by Mark Miller and Giovanni Gelati, of Gelati's Scoop. As well, I was able to show my sillier side in a blog interview by the wonderful Lady Krishna, of Journey with Books, and gorgeous reviews of both Six Weeks to Yehidah and My Yehidah appeared in Chiron, the Newsletter of the C.G. Jung Foundation of Ontario.

For week after next, I am looking forward to being interviewed on Blogtalk Radio by the talented and eloquent R. Jeffreys of The Write Step on May 23rd at 6:30 PM EST. I hope you'll be able to listen in!

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Ten (Yeats)

The Lake Isle of Innisfree 

Photo by Kenneth Allen

This week, thanks to the recommendation of Robert Craven, author of Get Lenin, we'll be taking a poetic journey to "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," courtesy of William Butler Yeats. Yeats composed the poem in 1888, and it was first published in 1890 in the National Observer. Click here if you want to have your mind blown by an amazing audio recording. 

As well, feel free to leave remarks about the poems. I love hearing what you think! Here's last week's posting, if you want to leave comments on Walt Whitman's "When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer ": The Mnemosyne Weekly: Poem Nine. Also, if you're new to the blog, please check out the first Mnemosyne Post. And please keep suggesting titles! I always learn the most from the ones I would have never thought to select myself.

Have a great week, everyone. May your hearts and minds find peace in the "bee-loud glade!"

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight’s all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet’s wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart’s core.

*Note* Because the link Helene Cardona and Enda Reilly so graciously tried to provide in the comments section did not come through, I am adding it here:

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Author News

The Accolade
by Edmund Blair Leighton 
Oil on canvas, 1901 
(in the public domain in USA copyright term of life of the author plus 80 years or less)

Many thanks to the redheads of Redheaded Stepchild magazine for bestowing the honor upon me of accepting my poem, "Integrating the Shadow," for publication in their Spring 2012 issue.

I realize that while I've been happily sharing the news and works of others, I've been neglecting to share my own author news, and I vow to be more on top of this from this point forward. I want to mention that my poems "Bareback Alchemy" and "Killing the Moth" were also recently published by Open Road Review and Red Fez, respectively. You can find them on the Bareback Alchemy sidebar under "Short Reads and Listens."

As well, I was recently interviewed by Monica Brinkman and Oana of It Matters Radio. They were delightful and lovely hosts, and I'm looking forward to visiting with them again soon. I'm sure there are many more wonderful events and publications I am forgetting, so let me just say I have been living an exciting and vibrant author's life this past year and loving it! If you'd like to know more about what I've been doing, and what I have forthcoming, please feel free to visit my WEB site at, where you can find a more complete list of links to events and publications.