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Roger Housden
Roger Housden is the author of some twenty books, including the popular 10 Poems series ( Ten Poems to Change Your Life, etc). His new book, Keeping the Faith Without a Religion, came out March 1st. 2014.

Entries by Roger Housden

Imagine Being Jason Rezaian

(2) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 2:37 PM

In 2008 I was walking through the woods near my home thinking of nothing in particular when out of nowhere, the words came into my mind, "the other Iran." Nothing, however, is ever really out of nowhere. Even now, whenever I think of the color blue, I think first, not...

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The Power of Not Knowing

(0) Comments | Posted March 22, 2014 | 1:57 PM

Imagine a world in which everything is known and under control. It would be a flatland. There would be no amazement, no wonder, no edge. I believe that just under our skin, we intuit that we know next to nothing about our lives at all -- where we came from,...

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Trust the Changes

(0) Comments | Posted March 20, 2014 | 2:14 PM

My memory is not what it was. My face is not what it was. I am changing before my eyes. I didn't used to look like this, but then they don't make mirrors like they did. Three years ago I had money. Now I have no money. This morning I...

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The Spirit of Now

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2014 | 4:15 PM

Just sixty years ago, Tibetan Buddhism was the most secretive religious tradition in the world. It reserved its initiations exclusively for monastics, who had to prove themselves worthy of higher teachings with decades of intensive practice locked way behind the world's highest mountains. Now you can sign up in any...

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The Dare of Memoir

(0) Comments | Posted December 17, 2013 | 5:18 PM

Why is it a dare to write memoir? It's a dare because it means telling the truth. Not the factual truth of what happened necessarily -- after all everyone who was present at the time will tell it differently, and anyway, memory is constantly changing and shifting our notion of...

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Ram Dass, Island Boy

(5) Comments | Posted May 3, 2013 | 2:50 PM


I heard the sound of wheels on the wooden floor before I saw him. We turned to gaze at the open door and down through the corridor. He swung into our line of vision, swiveling his wheelchair around finally to face us in...

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On Sex, the Marvelous, and the Ordinary

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2013 | 8:55 PM

I love her work. The radical honesty of it, the searing tenderness of it, the joyousness, the irony, the sheer beauty of it. The poet Ellen Bass writes as a human being who shudders with the immensity, the worry, the love of being alive. She writes to connect with other...

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Homage to Robert Bly

(0) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 12:50 PM

The purple waistcoat, straining more than a little toward the bottom buttons, was fashioned of fine gleaming silk. The red cravat hung loosely down from his neck. The hat, a beaver skin without the tail, from Minnesota he told me, the city he called home, perched on a flock of...

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Materialism: A Failure of Imagination?

(41) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 1:36 PM

The selfish gene is not only the name of a best-selling book by Richard Dawkins; it is the prevailing meme of the new atheism and of much of science. It is also, in America, nearly one half of the language of popular political parlance. Ayn Rand, herself an anti-religious atheist...

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When Red Roses Fade

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2012 | 1:52 PM

In time, even the reddest of roses lose their bloom and gracefully let their petals fall. When half of all marriages end in divorce and -- despite our initial hopes for them -- many more informal relationships flicker out after just a few months or a year or two, we...

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Secular Spirituality: An Oxymoron?

(20) Comments | Posted January 19, 2012 | 3:36 PM

Is there an innate spiritual impulse independent of the fear of death and of religion itself? I have never been able to espouse any religion, even as I have been attracted to various elements in all of them. I am often moved by religious art and architecture in all its...

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Loving and Letting Go

(4) Comments | Posted January 9, 2012 | 6:29 PM

One of the most profoundly moving testimonies I have ever read on love, and letting go even as you love, is a poem by E.E. Cummings. This is why it is in my upcoming book, Ten Poems to Say Goodbye. True to Cummings' idiosyncratic taste in punctuation, it is called...

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Hitchens: Arch-Fundamentalist?

(167) Comments | Posted December 27, 2011 | 1:20 PM

Christopher Hitchens, who died on Dec. 15, was like all of us: he embodied some of the best and also the worst of human nature. He did so, however, on a scale that was larger than the average life, on a very public stage, from his own bully pulpit. His...

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Letting Go Of Who We Were

(5) Comments | Posted November 24, 2011 | 8:23 AM

The Lord gives everything and then charges
By taking it back. What a bargain.
Like being young for a while.

These are the opening lines of Jack Gilbert's poem The Lost Hotels of Paris. It was written while he was already beginning to experience the onset...

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Seeing the Good In Goodbyes

(4) Comments | Posted November 2, 2011 | 9:25 AM

When my sun was nearer noon, my days were all too easily obscured by the endless rush of days coming after it. There was a whole life left to live, with the best surely still to come. So many moments were left unrecognized for what they were -- my life...

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T.S. Eliot's Village Bares Its Teeth

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2011 | 11:49 AM

These were the center page headlines in the UK's Independent newspaper while I was in England a couple of weeks ago. Not only was I in England, I was in the very village itself -- East Coker, which gives its name to the second of Eliot's famous Four Quartets --...

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Lessons in Humanity From My Barista

(8) Comments | Posted October 16, 2011 | 11:42 AM

The first person I normally greet in the morning is Diego. Today, I look at him with eyes whose vision has been altered by reading the opening lines of a poem by Ellen Bass called "If You Knew":

What if you knew you'd be the last
to touch someone?

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Inward Bound

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2011 | 4:09 PM

Only the shallow know themselves.
-- Oscar Wilde

We all know that life lived with our attention solely in the shallows of gossip, the headlines of newspapers and our daily round of worries and responsibilities easily becomes two dimensional, dry and empty of meaning. Turn inward, the wise say,...

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Are We Afraid to Be Happy?

(14) Comments | Posted September 2, 2011 | 8:30 AM

Why all the embarrassment
about being happy?

Wendell Berry asks in his poem "Why." Why indeed! In the novel "Snow," by the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, one of the characters says to another, "You got drunk so you could resist the hidden happiness rising inside of you."


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The Pleasure of Not Being Perfect

(22) Comments | Posted August 1, 2011 | 8:21 AM

Something always seems to be missing, even if we can't put our finger on it. It's in our hard drive. We aren't earning enough, we don't have the right partner, we haven't found our life purpose, we aren't living in the right city or our nose isn't straight enough.


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