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 Linda M. Hasselstrom.
Short bio: With fifteen books in print, I write and conduct writing retreats in person and by email from my South Dakota ranch. My newest book is The Wheel of the Year: A Writer’s Workbook, containing two years’ worth of writing suggestions and examples.
Dirt Songs: A Plains Duet (with Twyla M. Hansen); No Place Like Home: Notes from a Western Life, Between Grass and Sky, Feels Like Far, Bitter Creek Junction, Land Circle, Dakota Bones, Going Over East, Windbreak, Bison: Monarch of the Plains, When a Poet Dies, The Roadside History of South Dakota, Roadkill, Caught By One Wing.
Editor of Leaning into the Wind, Woven on the Wind, Crazy Woman Creek (with Gaydell Collier and Nancy Curtis), and Journal of a Mountain Man (by James Clyman).
Thoughts on mindfulness and poetry: Buddha said, “With our thoughts we make the world.” Pablo Neruda said, “Poetry is an act of peace. Peace goes into the making of a poet as flour goes into the making of bread.” (Memoirs, Ch. 6)
These are among my many favorite quotations centering on the act of writing poetry. When I am deeply engrossed in working on a poem, which means every time I am writing poetry, I am creating my own peaceful world of words—even if the poem is about violence or pain. Making poetry is, thus, an act of utter mindfulness.
Fun fact: I may be the only person in the anthology (or not) to have won a big western belt buckle for poetry. This was called the Elkhorn Prize, and was awarded by the magazine Nebraska Territory in 1991—just as it says on the buckle in the photographs below.
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