This is part of a series highlighting some of the poets anthologized in Poetry of Presence. We thank the poets for providing the material. Today we shine the spotlight on Annie Lighthart.
Short bio: I’m a poet and teacher who started writing poetry after my first visit to an Oregon old-growth forest. I’ve taught at Boston College and in writing workshops with students of all ages. Poems from my book Iron String have been read on The Writer’s Almanac, turned into choral music, used in projects in Ireland and New Zealand, and have traveled farther than I have.
Thoughts about mindfulness and poetry: For me, poetry is a way of waking up mindfully to the world. After reading it or writing it, there’s a difference in my awareness and understanding. In a way, it’s like breathing. Yes, I breathe all the time—but I can feel a great difference between my regular usually shallow breathing, and those moments when I take in a slow deep breath. Poetry is that slow deep breath. Because of it, my life opens and is changed.
A favorite quote: The poet Charles Péguy writes, “All life comes from tenderness,” and I am coming to believe that when we live tenderly and mindfully—whether when we’re writing or parenting or simply acting kindly towards one another—a deeper life opens for us, right then, right there.
Fun Fact: I started writing poetry suddenly, right out of the blue at age 30. My first poem came to me all of a sudden, all in one piece. It was such a surprise, and such a joy, that I folded it up and carried it around with me in my pocket for a while as a talisman.