Last Saturday night Trev’s Kitchen in Lynd, MN, was packed to hear area poets read from Poetry of Presence. Our thanks to contributing poet Marianne Murphy Zarzana for organizing the event, to all the poets who graced the stage, and to everyone who turned out to listen. It was a great way to start the New Year!
The Poetry of Presence Book Bash was held at the Brookings (SD) Arts Council this past Saturday. In addition to great music by Green & Snow and delicious food, we enjoyed poetry readings from the book and the drawing of whimsical door prizes. Contributing poet Marianne Murphy Zarzana joined us from Minnesota for the occasion. She not only shared her anthologized poems but had a vital role in a wonderful experiment.
During the Bash we invited everyone to jot down a wish for the world and drop it into one of the many collection bowls around the room. With about twenty minutes left in the event, we gathered all the wishes that had been offered. Marianne retreated with them to a quiet place and creatively assembled them into a community poem, which she read to conclude the Bash. It was a very powerful experience.
We want to thank Marianne for her willingness to engage in this adventure. Thanks, too, to those “Bashers” who contributed to the making of the poem, which Marianne titled “Our Wish for the World.”
We’ll be finding various ways to share this poem with the public. For now, we’re happy to share it with you. Feel free to download your own copy here. Maybe share it with a friend? Remember: “The end of the poem is just the beginning.”
Our Wish for the World
We wish the world would turn from force toward feeling,
that everyone could be fed— body, mind and soul.
We wish we could approach our problems and conflicts by tapping deep into our creativity.
We wish that all could feel the sun of friendship warm upon their faces,
that we could see and speak of the beauty around us and within all people.
We wish that we could put ourselves into the shoes of those around us, walk at least a mile,
that kindness, compassion and peace received more attention than hatred and greed.
We wish our skin color and gender did not matter, that we could all be accepted for exactly who we are.
We wish the stuff that is no longer alive could come back to life, resurrect.
We wish that we could learn to create common ground rather than standing only on our own ground.
We wish that we could transform terror, watch it disappear,
that we could let go of all the distractions that keep us separate and lonely.
We wish we could be grateful for everything, and be kind to every living creature.
We wish we could forgive ourselves and others, and we could all be free.
The second annual Southern California Poetry Festival (SoCalPoFest) will be held on October 28th and 29th on the campus of Mt. San Antonio College, one of the largest junior colleges in Southern California.
Some highlights of this year’s event include readings by out-of-towners Kaveh Akbar, Rachel McKibbens, and Maggie Smith; a reading under the canned stars in the Randall Planetarium featuring local luminaries; professors and students reading from the grad programs at USC, Chapman, Cal State Long Beach, and UC Irvine; an ensemble reading of poets featured in the new anthology Poetry of Presence, including special out-of-town guest, Barbara Crooker; and so, so much more. There are approximately sixty local and visiting poets participating in this year’s event. Read the full schedule, or learn more bout this year’s participants.
Tickets for the event are free to the public; however, the planetarium reading includes a $3 admission fee, which goes towards its upkeep as well as their public outreach events. The most direct way to order your tickets is to visit our Facebook page, which you can do by clicking here. We’d love it if you could spread the word to the poetry lovers in your circle.
Plans are in the works for a major Poetry of Presence reading at the Southern California Poetry Festival. The Festival will be held October 28-29 at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA.
The reading will feature a number of POP authors and be the culminating event of the Festival. More details to come as we learn them. Our thanks to the Festival organizers, Donna Hilbert and Sonia Greenfield, for their generous support of mindfulness poetry.