A Voice of Initiation, Reconciliation, & Gender Intelligence

A Quiet Passion, a Film almost about Emily Dickinson

I so wanted to love this film! There were lovely things about it. The color and composition, for instance. The actress who plays Lavinia actually looks a lot like Lavinia and the actress who plays Emily as a girl is lively and charming. I liked her better than Cynthia Nixon in the role. Keith Carradine is good as the father, but oh, the movie is Slow!

I can’t figure out why the writer and director made such choices! The Emily that emerges is bitter, disappointed in love and angry. At times, she almost looks demonic! This is not and never was Emily. Almost 2,000 poems refute this image. The movie would have us believe that Emily, rebuffed by Wadsworth, spirals into deeper depression, mirroring her shut-in mother’s. But her mother was not always a shut-in. She took to her bed after her husband’s death and suffered through a long illness, then died. In the movie, she’s actively dying the moment we first see her!

The business with Wadsworth almost certainly never happened. Emily saw him preach once. They exchanged correspondence. Emily was not shattered by the married Wadsworth’s eventual move to San Francisco. I don’t think she was madly in love with him.

Even worse is Emily’s “best friend” in the movie, especially in the first half. Clearly, the writer and director fell in love with this character. She has all the best lines early on! It’s a shame she’s a fabrication. The character existed, yes, but she was younger than Emily and there is little evidence that they ever actually met, let alone became best friends!

The movie shows us that Emily and Lavinia meet Sue after she marries Austin. In fact, Sue was Emily’s best friend! They knew each other well for six years before the marriage. Why didn’t the director focus on this friendship?

Also missing are the parties! The Dickinson girls were vivacious. They were sought after companions. One young man proposed to Emily! No sign of any of this. Lavinia was a terrific mimic and comedian, but we’d never know it from this film. Why?

Also eliminated are the last ten-to-fifteen years of Emily’s life! Where is Judge Lord? Where is the scene, well documented, in which Lavinia walks into the kitchen and finds Emily in the judge’s arms, the two kissing? Lord doesn’t even appear in the movie! Neither does Thomas Wentworth Higginson, one of the great men of letters of the era. He visited her twice, at least, and saw her face-to-face at least once. We know this because he describes her in his journal. He gives us the great description of her in her coffin, too, just before the lid is closed. But in the film, he doesn’t exist.

Austin and Sue’s children, Ned, Gilbert, Martha, never appear or are mentioned. Little Gilbert’s sudden death was the last of twin blows from which Emily never recovered (Judge Lord’s death in 1884 was the first—he died after proposing to her).

other annoying inaccuracies…There is no record that Emily was ever furious about Austin’s relationship with Mabel Loomis Todd. The two were deeply in love and when they met in the parlor, they locked the door. Unlikely that Emily ever walked in on them and read them the riot act. In fact, there is no historical evidence that Emily objected to the affair, which lasted until Austin’s death.

At Emily’s funeral…why oh why didn’t the director put her in a white casket? What an oversight! Also, the casket was not loaded into a horse-drawn hearse and driven to the cemetery. As per her request, six of the workmen employed by the Dickinsons carried her through the gardens to the cemetery. And yes, in the film she is buried in the wrong cemetery! There are two in Amherst. The real Emily lies in the other one. Sheez!

So the film gives us a mature Emily who is spurned in love, bitter, priggish, angry and judgmental—all things Emily was not. That’s disappointing. The movie reinforces a popular image of a depressed, reclusive spinster who eccentrically wrote poems and tied them into bundles. It’s maddening, really.

The movie even misses out on a great closing scene—when Lavinia discovers 1,800 poems in Emily’s room and decides she must find a way to get them published.

This film pricked me until I bled. At first, I imagined Emily being quite cross about it all, but later she visited and let me know she was laughing at the thought that she had eluded everyone once again.

Virginia Woolf’s Birthday

“Now then is my chance to find out what is of great importance, and I must be careful, and tell no lies.” –Virginia Woolf

Yet, it was not always easy for Virginia to tell no lies. Relentlessly honest, intellectually demanding, still she loved jokes and, to some extent, gossip. Family members knew that if you wanted to keep a secret, you did not tell Virginia, though you wanted to tell her! On occasion, she enjoyed stirring pots among her friends. She would often astonish friends and strangers alike by ‘going off’ at a party or at tea, settling on someone for her attention, then launching into a brilliant biography of the person, which she invented on the spot. Vita Sackville-West caught this complex, wonderful character when, musing on her perfect name shortly after Virginia’s death, she observed that her given name was virginal, while her married name had a hint of the fang.

Virginia was coyote, a trickster. She loved games, confidences, jokes. “Exquisite self-containment.” That was her goal, and it could also be a description of the woman and artist she knew herself to be. Aflame, she lived at a pitch of ecstasy that only a genius knows.

While still in her teens, Virginia created the process by which she diligently worked at her craft, navigating through the immense canyons of bi-polar disorder to produce five great novels (To the Lighthouse, The Waves, Mrs. Dalloway, The Years, Between the Acts), a brilliant satire that is also the longest love letter in English literature (Orlando), the best criticism I’ve ever read (the two Common Readers), five volumes of astonishing Diaries, terrific Letters and the inspiring, feminist call-to-action, A Room of One’s Own.

That Virginia deliciously haunts my waking and dream hours is an added benefit I could not have anticipated when I first met her. Intellectually, spiritually and romantically, she lifts me up. I commune and converse with her. Her unbridled, almost hooting laugh is daily music to me.
There is a wonderful way to get to know Virginia better, and that is to listen to her. I listen to her novels read aloud over and over, and I have a hot tip for you. If you can, get a recording of To the Lighthouse narrated by Virginia Leishman. Here is a link for you:

https://www.amazon.com/Lighthouse-Virginia-Woolf/dp/1419367323

Leishman is superb, beautifully modulating her voice from character to character and sounding so much like Virginia Woolf herself that it’s almost eerie.

*

About ten years after her death, Vita Sackville-West and her husband, Harold, kept company on the terrace at their home (Sissinghurst). It was a fine, soft day and Vita looked up, asking her husband, “Of all the people you’ve ever known, who would you most like to see coming up to the house from the road?” Without hesitation, Harold said, “Virginia”. “Me, too,” said Vita, “me, too.”

Me, too.

Guns, Guns, Guns; Again, and Again, and Again

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Read a Friend’s Heart

Guns, Guns, Guns; Again, and Again, and Again

The fatal shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, just 100 miles north on Interstate 5 from my home base in Ashland, becomes the 45th school shooting in the United States in 2015. Like many Americans and people worldwide, I’m sickened and heartbroken by the ongoing carnage, by the inevitable, histrionic defense of the NRA and their political puppets.

As a national community, we’ll do well displaying our collective grief in the next couple of days, but we’ll remain impotent when it comes to the task of changing laws and minds that would reduce and perhaps eliminate these nightmares. Tightening gun laws worked in Australia, in Europe, but the NRA and our politicians forbid that we try something similar here. As citizens, we have ceded so much power in the last fifty years! Thomas Jefferson once prophetically said, “Govern or be governed.” We are allowing ourselves to be governed.

As I always do, I seek solace and inspiration in the fellowship of poetry. Here are two poems I love, one by Christopher Buckley, another by William Stafford.

Why I’m In Favor of a Nuclear Freeze

Because we were 18 and still wonderful in our bodies,
because Harry’s father owned a ranch and we had
nothing better to do one Saturday, we went hunting
doves among the high oaks and almost wholly quiet air . . .
Traipsing the hills and deer paths for an hour,
we were ready when the first ones swooped—
and we took them down in smoke much like the planes
in the war films of our regimented youth. Some were dead
and some knocked cold, and because he knew how
and I just couldn’t, Harry went to each of them and,
with thumb and forefinger, almost tenderly, squeezed
the last air out of their slight necks. Our jackets grew
heavy with birds and for a while we sat in the shade
thinking we were someone, talking a bit of girls—
who would “go,” who wouldn’t, how love would probably
always be beyond our reach . . . We even talking of the nuns
who terrified us with God and damnation. We both recalled
that first prize in art, the one pinned to the cork board
in front of class, was a sweet blond girl’s drawing
of the fires and coals, the tortured souls of Purgatory.
Harry said he feared eternity until he was 17, and,
if he ever had kids, the last place they would go would be
a parochial school.
On our way to the car, having forgotten
which way the safety was off or on, I accidentally discharged
my borrowed gauge, twice actually—one would have been Harry’s
head if he were behind me, the other my foot, inches to the right.
We were almost back when something moved in the raw, dry grass,
and without thinking, and on the first twitch of two tall ears,
we together blew the ever-loving-Jesus out of a jack rabbit
until we couldn’t tell fur from dust from blood . . .Harry has
a family, two children as lovely as any will ever be—
he hasn’t hunted in years . . . and that once was enough for me.
Anymore, a good day offers a moment’s praise for the lizards
daring the road I run along, or it offers a dusk in which
yellow meadowlarks scrounge fields in the gray autumn light . . .
Harry and I are friends now almost 30 years, and the last time
we had dinner, I thought about that rabbit, not the doves
which we swore we would cook and eat, but that rabbit—
why the hell had we killed it so cold-heartedly? And I saw
that it was simply because he had the guns, because we could.

~ Christopher Buckley

*

Meditation (1983)

Animals full of light
walk through the forest
toward someone aiming a gun
loaded with darkness.

That’s the world: God
holding still
letting it happen again
and again and again.

–William Stafford

What Home Looks Like–Read a Friend’s Heart

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After being asked to do so, this girl has drawn a picture of Home.

Is the truth of her home in the lines on the board, or in her expression and the oceanic depth of her eyes, or both? In the photograph she’s a child, of course, yet hers are the face and eyes of someone infinitely older. We’ve seen similar faces, similar eyes in photos of children in Berlin’s bombed out streets, in Vietnam, in Darfur, in India, in the Great Depression, in Buchenwald.

How does a child get such a face, such eyes? She’s been emotionally brutalized, perhaps physically tortured, yet she is still alive, and her survival looks like this. She’s crossed over, stepping purposely from the depths of one reality to another and back again, and she is forever changed by the journey. But who is responsible? Only everyone—you, me, make your own list, and every name you record will also be on her list. We are all behind her; we’ve all, in some ways great or small, made her.

I hear someone fretting, “Too much; too harsh!” Really? Ask the child. I’m afraid there is no wriggling free of this inconvenient hook for anyone, not for a single, living human being. For as long as one child looks like this, and draws Home like this, we must hold ourselves accountable.

All right, then; What can be done? What can be done that hasn’t already been done, day after day, year after year, natural catastrophe after natural catastrophe, war after war, divorce after divorce, by those who were more compassionate and empathetic than we could ever be?

To begin, measure yourself against no one but you. Ask yourself, what do you feel? What can you do? And then, what will you do? Will you traverse the canyon between the compassionate thought and action?
How will you do it?

A man I know left everything to assist refugees in Istanbul. He gave up his therapy practice, his club memberships, his beloved vintage car; he even found a home for his two cats and his dog. How long will you be gone? I asked. I don’t know, he answered. He said it cheerily, and he laughed, at the prosaic nature of my question, perhaps, or the absurdity of his plan; perhaps out of relief that he had figured out a way to alleviate the suffering of others, and that once he had made up his mind, everything seemed so simple.

I looked again at the girl’s drawing. The longer I looked at it, the less crazy it seemed. I thought, doesn’t a lot of daily life really look like that? If it does, of course, mostly we look away. Only if someone were to pin us to the task of drawing on a chalkboard the look of a day might we produce a drawing closely resembling the girl’s drawing of Home. I accept this as a revelation about reality; the scratchy reality underneath the artificial realities we clumsily construct to shield ourselves and get us through the days, the nights.

Learning this much is a small step, but it moves me one step closer to drawing a very different kind of home; and if I can learn to erase some of the crazy-quilt, cross-connecting that wants to fill the drawing surface, then anyone is capable of doing it. And so we inch closer towards a more peaceful, harmonious and spare representation of Home and the true place, the reality beneath fear’s surface, that always rewards the increasingly selfless, emboldened seeker.

I want to be that, and I believe you do, too. Let me surprise you; you surprise me. Let’s see what each of us can do to create a different truth of home for every child, and for every child still scratching for fulfillment in a grown-up’s body. Person by person, act by act, we can Rosie the Riveter this process. Let’s begin. Let’s keep moving and never give up despite voices insisting that what you do just doesn’t matter. Like me, I suspect the main voice like this you hear is inside you. Quiet that, and you’re free.

*

A woman and man stand alone in the street

The street is empty.
No human or animal appears.
Even the birds are absent.

They say to each other what
Are we doing here? Where
Is everybody? Lawn sprinklers erupt.

Automatic, the woman says,
Like most of our thoughts—actions
Without meaning, actions while asleep.

And consequences, the man murmurs.
Oh yes, she agrees, always results.
So, what will we do now? The man asks.

Walk, I guess, the woman says.
They slow down at the edge of town,
Listening to the ruckus over the hill.

What do you think? Machinery?
No, she says, it’s people, a lot
Of people. Hear it now?

Sounds like marching. Sounds like weeping,
Yelling, singing. Let’s go, she says. Why?
Because we’re needed. Because we have to.

*

I am accepting new clients for long-distance mentoring on writing/reading projects, poetry or prose, or both. If you’re interested, email me at poetrymentor@mac.com

Proceed with Presence & Compassion!

Robert

At Your Door: The Divine Feminine

Only The Divine Feminine—in women, in men—can restore to health our wounded planet. Yet, this goal can’t reach its full blossoming as long as women and men follow separate paths or work at cross-purposes to one another.
In this crisis is an immense opportunity to birth a new paradigm distinguished by evolved, gender-enlightened relationships between men and women. This work, already begun, must ramp up. How? What must be done? It begins with women and men embracing and transforming their shadows.
Men of the new paradigm must support and celebrate women. They’ll do so by unlearning conscious and unconscious patterns of behavior—cultural and familial hooks set in early childhood—that are intolerable and inappropriate. Gender-enlightened, they’ll do so by partnering with women in more balanced, creative ways. They’ll do so by recognizing and accepting the truth that this process of waking up and growing up will be often guided by women.

Read a Friend’s Heart #149

READ A FRIEND’S HEART #149
February 2nd, 2015
Dear Fellow Adventurers,

Your Freedom of the Impractical is here.

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Do you feel a little weary from all the pitches to improve your spiritual, emotional and physical health that you receive every day? I do!

I know. I send them, too. All teachers and mentors reach out to you because they deeply desire to do good work, to be of assistance doing what they do best, and to make a living while doing so. These are all good intentions.

Sometimes, though, the pitches become weighty, producing that feeling we all get sometimes when we’ve had too much to eat or drink. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but wow! The next day!

This is why I’m offering something a little different. To honor Brigid, Mother Goddess of Ireland and Poetry, to honor this month of Imbolc and Valentine’s Day, I am offering a three-week on-line course, Your Freedom of the Impractical.

This is an opportunity to let your hair down, to give voice to your inner wild woman and wild man. For three weeks, every day, I will send you what the Irish call advices, daily suggestions created to inspire and give voice to the precious impractical inside just itching to get out.

In addition, I’ll send you an overview of impracticality, how its blessing balances an active and forward-leaning life—your very own. I’ll also engage with your journaling and responses to your practice of impracticality.

I’ve designed this course to be fun and affordable. To honor Brigid, Imbolc, and your innate capacity to find balance in your life by layering impracticality into it, I’m offering this three-week Happiness Ride for just $39.00, payable by check or via Paypal.

We begin in one week on February 9th, so don’t delay in signing up! Space is limited. Email me at rmcodwell@mind.net or at poetrymentor@mac.com to participate.

If this is not or you at the current time, you might consider my Core Stories Program (details below).

I look forward to engaging with you, to listening to and working with you!

With blessings always,

Robert

*

CORE STORIES PROGRAM

My Core Stories Program guides you through your ten essential core stories. You’ll unlock them, unblock them, engage them and learn to work with them in your daily life.

Join me! Tap into your core stories. Celebrate and explore what makes you unique. Come with me on a journey of narrative healing through meditation, journaling, poetry and lively one-on-one conversations.

This journey heals old wounds, clear obstacles that hold you back and usher you into your creative, unique power.

For ten weeks, I’ll work with you to open up the core stories of your life. Each segment will heal, empower and enrich you in your spiritual quest, your job performance and your relationships.

Would you like to come along on this journey? Then email me at rmcdowell@mind.net, or poetrymentor@mac.com to sign up. The one-time cost for this Core Stories Program is $297.00.

As a bonus, I’ll send each participant, each co-creator, a PDF of five Poetry Talks, personal essays on the wisdom of poems through the ages.

*

NEW BOOK PUBLICATION

My fourth full-length collection of poetry, The World Next To This One, has been published by The Salmon Publishing Company in Ireland and is now available. http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=328&a=257 Order direct from Salmon Publishing, Orders over 20 Euro are shipped free worldwide! Please help us spread the word.

“Robert McDowell’s powerful narrative poems are among the best written over the last fifty years. His para-poems here extend the prose poem form with incisive, probing clarity and startling wit.”
–Ai, National Book Award, Poetry
Thank you again for your work, your interest and support.
Robert

Read a Friend’s Heart #147 Poetry Talks

READ A FRIEND’S HEART #147
January 15th, 2015

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Opening day, Empire State Building
Dear Friends,

Two weeks into 2015, how is your guidance working? Have your readings, consultations or past life mapping steeled your resolve? Will you finally heal the childhood wound you’ve nursed all your life? Will you break through in a relationship, or find one, or launch a new business venture? How is it going, your dialogue with yourself?

If you are still seeking empathetic company on your wild, unique journey, consider joining me for POETRY TALKS, a five-week online workshop that begins on Friday, January 23rd.

Together, we’ll discover a group of poems and unfold their messages that speak to your experience on a deeply personal level. These poems and their insights will help you break through barriers of self-doubt, recrimination and frustration to a place where genuine progress is not only possible but inevitable.

Each poem will enflower and empower you. Each will be accompanied by an MP3 for your listening pleasure (you can take it with you wherever you go). I’ll also suggest writing play that you can engage with in your journal and with friends.

If you’d like to join us, send me an email at rmcdowell@mind.net to sign up. The cost is $77.00 for the five weeks.

Please join us. Enrich your journey! You have only your true self to find.

With blessings always,

Robert

*

CORE STORIES PROGRAM

My Core Stories Program guides you through your ten essential core stories. You’ll unlock them, unblock them, engage them and learn to work with them in your daily life.

Join me! Tap into your core stories. Celebrate and explore what makes you unique. Come with me on a journey of narrative healing through meditation, journaling, poetry and lively one-on-one conversations.

This journey heals old wounds, clear obstacles that hold you back and usher you into your creative, unique power.

For ten weeks, I’ll work with you to open up the core stories of your life. Each segment will heal, empower and enrich you in your spiritual quest, your job performance and your relationships.

Would you like to come along on this journey? Then email me at rmcdowell@mind.net, or poetrymentor@mac.com to sign up. The one-time cost for this Core Stories Program is $297.00.

As a bonus, I’ll send each participant, each co-creator, a PDF of five Poetry Talks, personal essays on the wisdom of poems through the ages.

*

NEW BOOK PUBLICATION

My fourth full-length collection of poetry, The World Next To This One, has been published by The Salmon Publishing Company in Ireland and is now available. http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=328&a=257 Order direct from Salmon Publishing, Orders over 20 Euro are shipped free worldwide! Please help us spread the word.

“Robert McDowell’s powerful narrative poems are among the best written over the last fifty years. His para-poems here extend the prose poem form with incisive, probing clarity and startling wit.”
–Ai, National Book Award, Poetry
Thank you again for your work, your interest and support.
Robert
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/McDowellRobert

Read a Friend’s Heart #146

READ A FRIEND’S HEART #146
January 8th, 2015

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Greetings in the new year!

The excitement, tumult and travel of the holidays and year’s end subside, and we lean in to the delicious opportunities and work before us. Are you eager to deepen your relationships? Will you visit places you’ve yearned for, inner and outer places that call to you? Will you launch a new project long in the making, or step up to the challenge of a brilliant new idea? Are you saying goodbye to old patterns or departed comrades? Will you recommit to your health and charity? Will you see clearly what lies ahead and all around you? What signature will you affix to the 2015 pages before you?

If you’re at all like me (and we’re all like each other in so many ways), you’ll be paying special attention to those stories you need to make sense of; you’ll be mending fences, opening doors and windows. Perhaps you’ll declare, ‘I am here. Engage with me. Call me to serve. I am ready.’ Or you may burrow deep into a winter of intense retrospection. It is all to the good. Be where you are. Be your best self.

Here is a poem I wrote for the journey.

I am 70 percent darkness
I am unknown to myself

We should shake hands
And introduce ourselves

All alone we should look
In a mirror and say I know you now

Nobody listens I know
It all moves so fast as it stands stock-still

Nobody listens and nobody hears
So today I say I’ll try hard to listen I’ll hear

What you’re saying on the other side of the room
On the other side of the planet

Who and what you are is what I am Can you feel that
We’re all so fast and silent We miss everything

But I have a voice and I will cast it
Into the lakes and oceans and rivers

I will send it into the trees and mountains
As I was taught by my ghostly brothers and sisters

I will sing it on your breast and down your spine
And touch my lips to your feet

*

CORE STORIES PROGRAM

MY Core Stories Program guides you through your ten essential core stories. You’ll unlock them, unblock them, engage them and learn to work with them in your daily life.

Join me! Tap into your core stories. Celebrate and explore what makes you unique. Come with me on a journey of narrative healing through meditation, journaling, poetry and lively one-on-one conversations.

This journey heals old wounds, clear obstacles that hold you back and usher you into your creative, unique power.

For ten weeks, I’ll work with you to open up the core stories of your life. Each segment will heal, empower and enrich you in your spiritual quest, your job performance and your relationships.

Would you like to come along on this journey? Then email me at rmcdowell@mind.net, or poetrymentor@mac.com to sign up. The one-time cost for this Core Stories Program is $297.00.

As a bonus, I’ll send each participant, each co-creator, a PDF of five Poetry Talks, personal essays on the wisdom of poems through the ages.

*

NEW BOOK PUBLICATION

My fourth full-length collection of poetry, The World Next To This One, has been published by The Salmon Publishing Company in Ireland and is now available. http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=328&a=257 Order direct from Salmon Publishing, Orders over 20 Euro are shipped free worldwide! Please help us spread the word.

“Robert McDowell’s powerful narrative poems are among the best written over the last fifty years. His para-poems here extend the prose poem form with incisive, probing clarity and startling wit.”
–Ai, National Book Award, Poetry
Thank you again for your work, your interest and support.
Robert
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/McDowellRobert

Read a Friend’s Heart #145

ROBERT MCDOWELL’S NEWSLETTER #145
December 14th, 2014

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Blessings to all

Who have been engaged with these messages, who have worked with me and mentored me, who have encouraged and criticized, who have co-created work for the benefit of the many and the few.

We are bidding adieu to a tumultuous year of emotional, spiritual and physical upheaval on a global scale. The personal is universal. I pray that everyone enters the new year believing in oneself. When you are lonely, when you are afraid, connect with someone. Do it even if you feel you just can’t. What you need will meet you.

Wind howls off the mountain,
Turning our thoughts to snow.
What are you feeling, love?
Snow. Snow in my hair, ice on my eyelids,
Blood freezing in my veins, snow
In my solitude of snow. Who or what
Are you looking for? You, just you,
A snowy hand in a hand of snow,
A pomegranate cracked open in the snow,
And six luscious seeds thawing my tongue.
What then, my love, what then?
Going forward, forming the words ‘I love you’
From a burning core inside the snow.

*

Celebrate the winter solstice by taking advantage of this unique sale!

Details: Purchase a copy of Poetry as Spiritual Practice and/or The More We Get Together: The Sexual and Spiritual Language of Love for $15.00 (each); I will sign the copies and give you a one-hour writing consultation (normally $150.00) for free.

If you want to start writing, or move along a stuck writing project in prose or poetry, this session will help. Email rmcdowell@mind.net to procure your books and set up your special free session.

*

My friend and colleague, Dr. Diane Hennacy Powell, is conducting a crowd funding campaign to support her groundbreaking research in telepathy and autism. The book and documentary she’s preparing will be a game-changer. Visit her project here, and if so moved, offer any support you can. https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-telepathy-project

*

NEW BOOK PUBLICATION

My fourth full-length collection of poetry, The World Next To This One, has been published by The Salmon Publishing Company in Ireland and is now available. http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=328&a=257 Order direct from Salmon Publishing, Orders over 20 Euro are shipped free worldwide! Please help us spread the word.

“Robert McDowell’s powerful narrative poems are among the best written over the last fifty years. His para-poems here extend the prose poem form with incisive, probing clarity and startling wit.”
–Ai, National Book Award, Poetry
Thank you again for your work, your interest and support.
Robert
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/McDowellRobert

Newsletter #144: Winter Solstice

ROBERT MCDOWELL’S NEWSLETTER #144
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Winter Solstice Sale
December 2014
Winter Solstice Greetings and Blessings,

The days grow shorter, the nights longer. In the delicious dark, relax into the sweetness of your surprising, sullen, sad, snappy, sagacious, silly, shrill, snoozing self, and cut yourself all the slack in the world. Luna is patient; Venus is wise and forgiving. Where you fell short in 2014 is illusion; what you envision for 2015 is illusion. So, what’s real? Here, right now. This is the sum total of your life, precious. Be calm. Embrace. Serve. Live!

The moon neither laughs nor cries.
A fox curls up in its den.
The nights are so long you forget
Your name and where you were going.
Keep on. The road is familiar;
The road is haunted and intimate;
The road is where your foot falls,
You of a thousand names and faces,
You of the town and country bred,
You of promises kept and broken,
You forgetful and forgotten,
Breathe. You are here,
And now is eternal.

*

In celebration of the winter solstice, I offer a unique sale. Email me at rmcdowell@mind.net to take advantage of it.

Details: Purchase a copy of Poetry as Spiritual Practice and/or The More We Get Together: The Sexual and Spiritual Language of Love for $15.00 (each); I will sign the copies and give you a one-hour writing consultation (normally $150.00) for free.

If you want to start writing, or move along a stuck writing project in prose or poetry, this session will help. Email rmcdowell@mind.net to procure your books and set up your special free session.

*

NEW BOOK PUBLICATION

My fourth full-length collection of poetry, The World Next To This One, has been published by The Salmon in Ireland and is now available. http://www.salmonpoetry.com/details.php?ID=328&a=257 Order direct from Salmon Publishing, Orders over 20 Euro are shipped free worldwide! Please help us spread the word.

“Robert McDowell’s powerful narrative poems are among the best written over the last fifty years. His para-poems here extend the prose poem form with incisive, probing clarity and startling wit.”
–Ai, National Book Award, Poetry
May your long winter nights be delicious and cozy!
Robert
rmcdowell@mind.net
poetrymentor@mac.com
www.robertmcdowell.net
Follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/McDowellRobert