Joy Harjo has championed the art of poetry—‘soul talk’ as she calls it—for over four decades. To her, poems are ‘carriers of dreams, knowledge and wisdom,’ and through them she tells an American story of tradition and loss, reckoning and myth-making. Her work powerfully connects us to the earth and the spiritual world with direct, inventive lyricism that helps us reimagine who we are.

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress

Thank you to all who joined us for the 2021 inaugural session of Mindful Poetry!

We explored the poetry of Charles Simic, Joy Harjo, Billy Collins, and Wallace Stevens, enjoying how each poet’s vision expanded our own. Stones, kitchen tables, vacant chairs, houses – all hold more mystery than we ever expected. We tried our own hand at flexing our perception as well – using objects in still-life paintings to animate in our own poetry.   

For those of you who’d like to continue exploring these amazing poets and their work, check out the additional resources below.

More poems by Charles Simic, Fork and Prodigy. For a real treat, listen to Simic reading these poems by clicking on the red arrow next to the title. Also, The Snow Man, by Wallace Stevens.

Explore Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s “Living Nations, Living Words” signature project — it contains audio recordings of 47 contemporary Native American poets reading and discussing an original poem. Listen to Joy Harjo, Louise Erdrich, Natalie Diaz, Ray Young Bear, Craig Santos Perez, Sherwin Bitsui, Layli Long Soldier, and other featured voices.

Enjoy this interview with three-time Poet U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo.

Next session, with All Souls’ Day in mind, we’ll look at poems of remembrance and commemoration. Please join us again on Tuesday, Oct. 26, from 6-8pm PDT.

Our Curator and Guide:

Poetry has been a life-long passion and solace for Rebecca Echert-Lennstrom. The beauty and playfulness of verse captured her heart early and became a well-spring of reflection and inspiration. For the last 25 years, she’s been sharing that love with high school students as an English teacher and creative writing instructor, steeped in words and imagery. She’s coached students in the National Poetry Out Loud Competition for ten years, paired with professional poets in the classroom to inspire student writing, and published high school creative writing magazines. This is her second year curating the Mindful Poetry Series as a ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Questions? Please email Sylvia Sepulveda.

Learn more at our Mindful Poetry page.

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Mindful Poetry – Sept. Notes