Poetry as Spiritual Practice: Reading, Writing, and Using Poetry in Your Daily Rituals, Aspirations, and Intentions

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Simon and Schuster, Jul 15, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 272 pages
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"[When we read and write poetry,] it is as if a long-settled cloud in our mind suddenly dissipates, and we are divine once again." -- from the Introduction

Poetry is the language of devotion in prayer, chant, and song. Reading and writing poetry creates clarity, deepens and expands spiritual inquiry, and cultivates wisdom, compassion, self-confidence, patience, and love. In author Robert McDowell's words, poetry makes you into a tuning fork of the Divine.

But poetry has disappeared over the centuries from religious ceremonies, academic curricula, and public discourse. In Poetry as Spiritual Practice, the first inspirational and instructional guide to combine poetry and spirituality, McDowell restores poetry as the natural language of spiritual practice and invites you to recognize poetry as "the pure sound and shape of your spirit."

Vividly illustrated with a wide range of poems from all historical eras and poetic traditions, numerous religions and faiths, and McDowell's own and his students' work, Poetry as Spiritual Practice will reintroduce you to the unique pleasure of verse. And meditations throughout will allow you to integrate reading and writing poetry into your spiritual journeys and daily life.

Since many of us have long forgotten, or never learned, the mechanics and terminology of poetry -- trochaic feet and tropes trip us up; we can't tell a villanelle from its shorter cousin, rondeau; and a terza rima may as well be a tanka -- this is also an instructional handbook on reading and writing poetry. An engaging guide through the landscape of world poetry, McDowell argues along the way for the many practical benefits of poetic literacy.

Making poetry an essential part of daily rituals, aspirations, and intentions will put you on the path to greater meaning, growth, and peace in your life. At once an engaging technical primer, a profound meditation on the relationship between poetry and the Divine, and an inspirational guide for integrating poetry into spiritual practice, Poetry as Spiritual Practice will become a cherished companion.
 

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Poetry as Spiritual Practice: Reading, Writing, and Using Poetry in Your Daily Rituals, Aspirations, and Intentions

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Much-published poet McDowell's new book attempts two difficult tasks: to speak sincerely of spirituality and to create a kind of primer for writing poetry. Many books have attempted each of these ... Read full review

Contents

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1
Joyful Rituals of Poetry as Practice
19
Early Encounters
38
Waking Up Through Poetry
53
Building Blocks
73
Alliteration and Assonance
84
Rhyme and Meter
93
Stanza
106
Repetition in Practice
163
Playful and Laughing
175
Attention and Wonder
183
Questing Devotion Gratitude
191
Practice in Someone Elses Skin
205
FOUR
213
Diligent Individuality
226
Practicing Deep Delight
232

Forms for Practice
125
Be Nimble Be Quick
133
The Power of Echo
148
In Closing
255
Acknowledgments
265
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Robert McDowell's poems, stories, essays, and reviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies here and abroad, including Best American Poetry, Poetry, The New Criterion, Sewanee Review, and The Hudson Review. He has taught at Bennington College, the University of Southern Indiana, and UC Santa Cruz; and at the Taos Writers' Conference, among many writers' conferences; and he was founding publisher/editor of Story Line Press. In addition, he coaches businesses in improving spiritual awareness, communication, writing, and presentation skills. His Web site is www.robertmcdowell.net.

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