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5 Questions for Poets: Part 4

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 04.17.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

In the 4th part of the National Poetry Month blog, I ask America's best poets to answer five more questions by readers of poetry.

5 Questions for Poets: Part 3

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 04.16.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

"I know a handful (if not a heartful) of poems by heart. Lines surface and go under. They keep me company, whether on the tip of my tongue or in the basement of my unconsciousness."

In the Interior

Mark Nepo | Posted 04.14.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

This poem speaks to a lifelong journey with my oldest friend Robert. We have known each other for close to thirty years. In the Interior When you le...

5 Questions for Poets: Part 2

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 04.08.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

Last week, some of America's top poets answered five questions from a pool of questions offered by readers of poetry for National Poetry Month. In this second part of the series, our poets tackle five more of their questions.

For My Brother

Mark Nepo | Posted 04.01.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

During my father's slow avalanche to death, my brother was a tireless advocate on his behalf, a bodhisattva in the way he cleared debris and made things easier for everyone around him. I was in a plane over the Pacific Ocean when I finally wrote this poem for him.

5 Questions for Poets: Part 1

Jonathan Hobratsch | Posted 04.02.2014 | Books
Jonathan Hobratsch

I have decided to celebrate National Poetry Month by submitting questions by readers of poetry to some of the top poets writing in America today.

The Murmur of Life

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.24.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

That our heart can receive and hold anything and that we feel that the intensity of living is too much to bear is a paradox we can only live into. Under what is both unbearable and endlessly uplifting is the murmur of life.

T. E. Hulme: The First Modern Poet?

Oliver Tearle | Posted 03.21.2014 | Books
Oliver Tearle

Who wrote the first modern English poem? When -- and, indeed, where -- was it written? There are numerous candidates, but one could do worse than propose the answer 'T. E. Hulme, in 1908, on the back of a hotel bill.'

Out of the Way

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.17.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Kindness and suffering are wordless teachers, ready to bend us and soften us until we accept that we are here; that, try as we will, we can't build our way out of existence or dream our way out of being human. Once opened in this way, we come to realize that the only way out is to love being here.

Poetic Justice for Todd Swift, Assaulted by Boy Band The Wanted

David Shook | Posted 03.06.2014 | Entertainment
David Shook

It's been less than a month since Irish-British boy band The Wanted announced a hiatus to pursue individual projects, but Canadian poet Todd Swift isn't sad.

The Dilation of What Seems Ordinary

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.03.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

The normal way we meet the world is full of bumps and bruises and noise that scratches up the heart. And yet, if we can endure and lean in, we are widened and opened to a depth that weaves the tissue of the Universe together.


Mark Nepo | Posted 02.26.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

An old friend died several years ago. At the time, I wrote this poem. I still can't delete his phone number from my contact list. To do so would seem so final, but I also still feel in contact with him.

To Cultivate Wonder

Mark Nepo | Posted 02.20.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

We have only a few seconds to love the wonder out in the open or those we meet will swallow it. Seconds to let this timeless resource come into our knowing so it can save us from the brutality of surface living.

Maggie Estep Made Me Love Poetry

Alexandra Rosas | Posted 04.16.2014 | Arts
Alexandra Rosas

Spoken word artist and novelist, Maggie Estep has died, and we won't see someone like her again. The performer passed away at 50 years old of a heart ...


Mark Nepo | Posted 04.13.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

In the days after my father died, there were many quiet moments and many stories told. It was a small thing my mother said while crying over tea that allowed me to connect these small stories of my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father. I never realized that they form a legacy I'm a part of.

A Must-See: Alice Walker: Beauty in Truth

Kathleen Buckstaff | Posted 04.08.2014 | Entertainment
Kathleen Buckstaff

I'd reach in my purse -- it's a true woman's purse, deep and full of everything -- and I'd open my notebook. "Here's one quote from the movie I loved. I believe it was from a poem of hers."

Rene Ricard

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders | Posted 04.05.2014 | Arts
Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

Artist, poet, writer and art critic Rene Ricard has died. Rene was frighteningly smart and brutally honest. If he liked your work, it meant a lot.

Astoria Characters: The Man Who Has His Way With Words

Nancy Ruhling | Posted 03.30.2014 | New York
Nancy Ruhling

Words, words, words. When they flow from Ron Kolm's mouth, they are not so much a stream of consciousness as a river of remembrance.

The Moon Hears My Confession

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.29.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

When I remember that I'm one small part in a very complex and numinous Whole, I may feel frustrated but I feel engaged in an ongoing process of aliveness that keeps demanding my cooperation.

Midway in Our Journey

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.23.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Part of everyone's journey in life is to arrive at precipice or fork in the road or at the end of a path and to realize we no longer know our way. Hard as this is, this is where the inner journey begins, when all we've carried has served its purpose and now we must burn it for warmth and to see what's next.


Mark Nepo | Posted 03.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

My father used to quip that old is always 10 years out from wherever you are. I'm 62 and to think of how old I once thought this was! What I'm learning is that age is not the distance from the beginning of our lives but the distance at any moment from the heart of our aliveness.


Mark Nepo | Posted 03.09.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

No matter what we're going through, the opposite is happening somewhere else at the same time. This awareness doesn't minimize our own experience but adds context and medicine to the truth of any given moment, the way a rip in the curtains we have drawn seems like a violation of the privacy we so wanted though it is only letting the light of the world in. This poem tries to understand this paradox.

Next to a Gull

Mark Nepo | Posted 03.01.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

When in the crucible of a difficult life change, I went to be by the sea, to clear my head, to open my heart, to imagine next steps. What I found was the beauty and resilience of life waiting under my trouble and all trouble. It helped me look beneath my pain and confusion to remember that while what happens when we're alive can be alarming and disappointing, the fact that we're alive is all that matters.

Where the Snow Begins

Mark Nepo | Posted 02.22.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

During his last year, my father suffered four strokes and a heart attack. We watched him be yanked back and forth between life and death. This piece was written during this time.

Things Dark and Light

Mark Nepo | Posted 02.15.2014 | Healthy Living
Mark Nepo

Without dark and light working together, we'd lose all depth perception and be lost in the flatness of the surface world. Living our story and working with dark and light helps us perceive depth.