The BeZine, August 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 11, Theatre

August 15, 2017

In the introduction to his translation of Beowulf, Seamus Haney comments that “as a work of art it lives in its own continuous present.” For me, theatre (whether in its broadest or narrowest sense) is very much the same. Theatre always encourages us to be in that continuous present. As an over-arching art form it can integrate every other form of human (and even animal) expression. It usually rewards our engagement and disdains our detachment. Even when a show runs for a thousand performances, it can never be quite as canned, as mass produced as many of our other entertainments. Human variability is on display every night.

More broadly, theatre tends to mean any place in which we think there is a scripted or specialized drama occurring. In that sense it often indicates that we’re seeing a performance driven by an agenda and perhaps designed to deceive. We criticize this as hypocrisy. In ancient Greece, a hypocrite was merely an actor, i.e. one who had made a judgment or assessment of a script when preparing to perform that script for others. At that time, it was also thought unworthy for actors to become politicians since actors were skilled at impersonation. We could not know their true selves.

In the context of our art, we would probably judge this as unfair. We’ve all had the experience of “donning the mask” or crafting a persona as a way of freeing ourselves. In expressing the lie, we hope to tell the truth.

I’m delighted to be Guest Editor this month. It coincides with a production that I’m currently in. This is an experimental production staged as immersive experience. We’re telling the story of a family in crisis (the passing of parents, dealing with aging and the end of life, and the break-up of relationships). We tell this story in a residence where small audience groups (a dozen to two dozen at a time) sit in the “living rooms” of the characters. This intimacy connects us with our audience. They do not participate in the sense of interacting with the actors. But, they are side-by-side with us as we make the journey, watching us, crying with us, laughing with us and even eating with us. Detachment is not an option. We join together in the continuous present.

This month’s pieces remind  us of these connections and touch on so many of the stages on which we act.

Priscilla Galasso speaks of her experience with theatre and its broad impact in her life. “Playing the muck of human behavior” as she says.

Charles W. Martin’s poetry talks passionately of life’s stage, reminding us that, yes, detachment is not an option.

Corina Ravenscraft gets to the root of why we should all spend time in “the seeing place.” It’s a broadside worth taking around when it comes time to fund arts in schools and communities.

Michael Watson recounts an early experience where his personal humiliation also reflected larger and deeper ones around him. He shows us how Playback Theatre is another powerful way to connect.

John Anstie recounts the life of his mother. In reading her story, I think on the many roles we are often forced to play and how we adopt certain personas to help us survive.

I feel that basic joy of theatre in Renee Espriu’s contribution. “The hills are alive…” means a little more to me now than it did before.

Jamie Dedes points us to theatrical entertainment with its golden moments and the theatre of life with it’s chaos and absurdity. [And, seriously, check out Fanny Brice’s physical comedy.]

John Sullivan’s four poems this month are, for me, intriguing and searching meditations on the self. They speak to who we are, the personas we have, the masks we wear, the music we sing. And, he’s allowed us to publish an excerpt from his new play, Hey Fritz, Looks Like You Lost It All Again in the Ghosting.

Naomi Baltuck’s discussion of Come From Away focuses right in on an essential aspect of our experiences both in life and in theatre. Specifically, I’m thinking about what it means to literally commune with strangers, whether it’s the characters in Come From Away or the audience who watches it.

Karen Fayeth shows how, no matter what size or shape the spectacle, there is something profound in the simplest of relationships. Say, between a boy and his horse. Because, whether we’re seeing animals at play or a play about animals we are moved.

In bringing together both her visual art and her poetry, Sonja Benskin Mesher has each explain the other. And, yet, each also enlarges the other and perhaps we see our own actions a little differently, too.

Of course, plays and poetics go hand-in-hand. Michael Dickel thoughtfully discusses how one arises from the other and the personal origins of both.

Paul Brookes’ poems read as very modern, but also touching on things quite old, such as shared rituals and the hypocrisy of actors (in the classical sense).

And, finally, there’s a last word from Denise Fletcher. I hope we’ve achieved a kind of success along the lines of what she describes.

Thank you to all who contributed this month and for letting me join the show. I’m having a wonderful time! I look forward to seeing where the story goes from here. And, to the last one who leaves the theatre, please turn on the ghost light.

Richard Lingua
Guest Editor

THEATRE

How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.
  • To learn more about our core team members, please link HERE.

Photograph: Gargoyles as theatrical masks above a water basin. Mosaic, Roman artwork, 2nd century CE. The piece can be found at the Capitoline Museum in Rome, Palazzo dei Conservatori, first floor, hall of the Horti of Mæcenas. From the Baths of Decius on the Aventine Hill, Rome.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Priscilla Galasso

Charles W. Martin

Corina Ravenscraft

Michael Watson

John Anstie

Renee Espriu

Jamie Dedes

John Sullivan

Naomi Baltuck

Karen Fayeth

Sonja Benskin Mesher

Michael Dickel

Paul Brookes

Denise Fletcher


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator

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The BeZine, July 2017, Vol 3, Issue 10, Prison Culture, Restorative Justice

July 15, 2017

This month’s publication focuses on Restorative Justice. This is a topic that is dear to me. I am the Director of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition. I have been working with incarcerated folks and those touched by incarceration since 2003. I have seen the ripples of harm that have come. There is harm to the victim, of course. But there is also harm to the person who committed the harmful act, harm to their families, and harm to the communities that encircle all of these people.

Restorative Justice is an en vogue term. Everyone wants it but we don’t know much about how to do it. Most of us look backwards at the ancient ways of first peoples such as the Māori people of New Zealand or the Tagish and Tlingit First Nation people of the Yukon. We lift their practices and bring it forward into a defined court case.

This somewhat misses the point.

The circling process that the first peoples used far pre-dates the term restorative justice. At the same time, restorative justice has become a term to be used by the justice system. And so we create another circling process that is set aside for the courts, jails, and prisons to use.

Circling or Peacemaking Circles, the process given to us by the ancients, is to be used everywhere and with anything: healing, sentencing, discernment. And it involves the entire community. The entire circle of ripples affected by an act. It is a big process. And that’s why we relegate it to the justice system.

Because if we don’t relegate it to the work of the justice system, that means we will have to change and do better. The first principle of the circle: You can only change yourself. As long as we make restorative justice the property of the courts, we don’t have to change. We don’t have to be more welcoming, giving, or inclusive. We don’t have to mentor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked. But I have news! Great news of good tidings! Restorative justice, Peacemaking Circles, is, as the ancients say, the wisdom of the universe. It belongs to no one person and is there for all for the healing and transformation—not of the world, but of each one of us.

This issue about Restorative Justice and new forays into restoration is explored by our core team and guest writers. Each brings their own wisdom to the topic.

Writing on aspects of justice and restorative justice are: Myself, James Cowles, and Chris Hoke. Justice oriented creative writers are Lisa Ashley, Carolyn O’Connell, Paul Brookes, Rob Cullen, Charles W. Martin, Marieta Maglas, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Paul Brookes, Jamie Dedes and a short stories by Joseph Hesch, Lisa Ashley and Rachel Barton. Gail Stone offers a video that speaks to her faith and hope in restorative justice. I have also offered a moderated discussion that I led regarding zero incarceration for youth. Denise Fletcher teaches us how to put together Comfort Kit Baskets for the incarcerated.

We hope this issue will give you pleasure even as it provokes you. Leave your likes and comments behind. As readers you are as import to the The BeZine project, values and goals as are our contributors. Your commentary is welcome and encourages our writers. As always, we offer the work of emerging, mid-career and polished pros, all talented and all with ideas and ideals worth reading and thinking about.

In the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,

Terri Stewart, Guest Editor

TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.

BeAttitudes

Do You Hear What I Hear?, Terri Stewart
Justice the New Old Way, Terri Stewart
Hearing Voice Underground, Chris Hoke
Refuge, Reconciliation, Recidivism, James R. Cowles
Of Pirates and Emperors, Jamie Dedes
Comfort Kits, Denise Fletcher

Videos

Hope and Faith in Restorative Justice, Gail Stone
Zero Incarceration for Youth, Terri Stewart

Music

Room at the Table, Terri Stewart

Short Stories

I Can Trust You, A True Story, Lisa Ashley
Walking Along the Edge, Rachel Barton
Comin’, Joseph Hesch

Poetry

A Child’s Touch, Lisa Ashley
Full Buck Moon, Lisa Ashley

(ANGERONA) Sunstead, Paul Brookes
Prisoner, Paul Brookes

The Boy in the Park, Rob Cullen

Oscar Wilde in Prison, Marieta Maglas

Restorative Justice for Sale, Charles W. Martin
before it began … , Charles W. Martin
teach a man to fish …, Charles W. Martin

#what more do you expect, Sonja Benskin Mesher
.verdict., Sonja Benskin Mesher

Confrontation, Carolyn O’Conner
Sacrificial Lambs, Carolyn O’Conner


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


CONNECT WITH US


Daily Spiritual Practice: Beguine Again, a community of Like-Minded People

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Soil Isn’t Sexy …. Neither Is War

A dirty argument for sustainability, social justice, and peace

In the late 1980s, one of my guests on a community radio program I hosted came from a soil conservation group. She discussed the importance of soil—healthy, living soil, not chemically-supported but dead soil. She emphasized the importance of developing organic farming and turning back the trend of agribusiness mass farming that depleted soils and then added chemicals back to support the plants—but did nothing for the living soil.

She admitted that “talking about dirt isn’t sexy,” and that her group had a lot of work to do to get people’s attention. A friend of mine told me after the show, which he had listened to, that she was right. Dirt isn’t sexy.

Soil may not be sexy but treating it well could help solve climate change.

Ignoring it could lead to our extinction.

Do I have your attention?


Cracked soil by a village in Iran abandoned by farmers because water reserves ran dry due to overuse. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images
Cracked soil by a village in Iran abandoned by farmers because water reserves ran dry due to overuse. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Now, 30 years later, The Guardian has run an article about soil as “the best shot at cooling the planet.” In it, Jason Hickel discusses an overlooked, “… simpler, less glamorous solution…” to climate change:

“It has to do with soil…40% of agricultural soil is classed as ‘degraded’ or ‘seriously degraded.’ In fact, industrial farming has so damaged our soils that a third of the world’s farmland has been destroyed in the past four decades.”

Industrialized forestry and agricultural practices have largely depleted organic material from the soil. The organic materials give the soil life. They also lock in carbon dioxide—second only to the oceans in its ability to do so. Hickel writes that soil “holds four times more carbon than all the plants and trees in the world.”

While dirt is not sexy, it is incredibly important.

Hickel goes so far as to say the science about regenerating soil is exciting:

“Scientists and farmers around the world are pointing out that we can regenerate degraded soils by switching from intensive industrial farming to more ecological methods – not just organic fertiliser, but also no-tillage, composting, and crop rotation. Here’s the brilliant part: as the soils recover, they not only regain their capacity to hold CO2, they begin to actively pull additional CO2 out of the atmosphere.”


A few years after the radio show, the novelist Nurrudin Farrah and I listened to a National Public Radio program while driving somewhere in the Twin Cities. The man being interviewed spoke extensively about economic colonization of farming in “underdeveloped” countries. He argued that hunger and poverty in the “Third World” was not about a lack of capacity to produce food or other necessities, but about multi-national corporations paying for crops they could sell for maximum profits in the “Developed World” and a system that then sold the farmers food they could have grown instead.

Farrah, a “post-colonial” author exiled at the time from Somalia, turned to me and said, “This man knows what he’s talking about.” The “development” that the U.S. and Europe pushes is an economic colonization of the so-called “under-developed” countries, he explained. The process of “Globalization” serves to develop pipelines of resources to multinational corporations, to develop markets to sell back those resources in the form of those corporations’ products (the push for “open markets”)—and simultaneously to develop cheap-labor markets to do the processing.

It is all about profits, not about providing for the economic needs of the people living there. Or anywhere. It is not about developing the countries into stronger systems for their citizens. It is about taking. Depleting. Degrading. As we are doing with the soil.

Agribusinesses push large corporate farming (and de-forestation) in order to profit share-holders—they have little interest in food production or sustainability per se. Farmers around the world who could grow food for their families and neighbors are pushed to grow cash crops—sugar cane and pineapple are two prominent examples. Beef cattle are grown on deforested lands, with the meat going to developed countries’ groceries and restaurants, with the fast food industry a huge consumer. Cotton is a major crop in some Middle Eastern countries. Cotton fields do not produce food, and do not produce cotton for local clothing needs but for high-thread count sheets and other luxury items sold in other countries.

If the farmers want food and clothing, they need to buy it from other multinational corporations.

This story is well known. It is not unlike the trade triangle England set up between itself, its Caribbean colonies, and its North American colonies. It is run by capitalists now, not governments, but the capitalists often control the local governments. Increasingly, the capitalists influence and control the national governments globally, in both the “developed” and “developing” countries.

This influence includes fighting against environmental regulations.

The “regenerative” farming practices Hickel writes about will not be easy to implement, especially against the will of corporate interests. They could lead to more economic justice globally, deriving from local farmers producing agricultural products for local consumers. This change won’t come about without a fight, though.


That’s half the story. A major effect of the economic displacement that this “development” has on the citizens of the country has been displacement of people.

More and more people move to urban centers, seeking income with which to pay their way into the system. There are increasing social and economic pressures as people press into the cities, increased competition that often fractures along ethnic, racial, and religious division. And increased armed conflict.

The other half of the story of the degradation of healthy soils is war. War results from it. War causes it. And right now, the world is at war.


Last year, almost to the day as I write this, the Middle East and North Africa choked on dust from September 6th to the 9th. An “unusual” storm disrupted normal living, even shutting down the Syrian air force. “The influx of dust triggered a rash of canceled flights, closed ports, and a suspension of daily activities for many people,” according to “Dust Storm,” an article on NASA’s Earth Observatory website.

The street where I live, Sept. 8, 2015
The street where I live, Sept. 8, 2015

People died. The pollution count for Jerusalem was 173 times normal, and the Environmental Protection Ministry in Israel advised everybody to stay inside, according to an article in The Times of Israel. Temperatures also rose to higher than normal, over 100 in Jerusalem in September.

dust-1-web
Out my apartment window

If you don’t know the Middle East, you might imagine that dust storms like this occur daily, weekly, or at least monthly. They don’t. Not like this. I’ve lived in Jerusalem almost ten years now, and I have experienced dust storms. None was this intense. And dust storms are more common in the Spring.

This 2015 storm was unusual for many reasons—scale, intensity, timing, and accompanying heat.

sept-8-storm-map-web
NASA Satellite image Sept. 8, 2015

And, as it turns out, its roots likely were in degraded farming lands related to both climate change and war. And all of this is instigating not only dust storms, but quite possibly the humanitarian crisis of the displaced refugees.


Six month before this particular storm, in March 2015, Craig Welch wrote Climate Change Helped Spark Syrian War, Study Says, for the National Geographic website. It opens with this paragraph, which should give us all pause:

“A severe drought, worsened by a warming climate, drove Syrian farmers to abandon their crops and flock to cities, helping trigger a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, according to a new study published Monday.”

The authors of the study from The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recognize that many social and political factors contributed to the civil war, of course. However, they “compiled statistics showing that water shortages in the Fertile Crescent in Syria, Iraq, and Turkey killed livestock, drove up food prices, sickened children, and forced 1.5 million rural residents to the outskirts of Syria’s jam-packed cities—just as that country was exploding with immigrants from the Iraq war,” according to Welch.

The severity of the drought and other weather conditions, according to their data, was outside the normal variability of weather in the region.

The social and economic pressures of the urban influx caused by soil degradation likely related to climate change, was probably a major contributing factor to the conflict that has been going on for years now, displacing millions of refugees.

While there are limits to the study, and perhaps the civil war would have erupted had there been no drought—the fact remains that the drought, at the least, increased tensions and the numbers of refugees.

This complicates the arguments about whether the refugees are economic, political, or war refugees. Depending where they come from, they could be all three.

And the three are interwoven—from the economic system that encourages farming practices that degrade the soil, to climate change-drive droughts, to the political climate in the region, there are many lines of connection and interconnection.

The need for sustainability, social justice, and peace weaves throughout this story of soil.


NASA Satellite image Sept. 7, 2015
NASA Satellite image Sept. 7, 2015

Some called the September 6–9, 2015, sandstorm “unprecedented.” It was.

A month after the storm, Zafrir Rinat reported in Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, that “Israeli scientists this week confirmed that one factor behind the heavy dust storm that hit the Middle East recently is changes in the use of land in northern Iraq and Syria.”

Two factors were identified—a decrease in farming in Northern Syria, which had preceded even the recent drought, and “military activity, which has caused harm to the soil crust in Syria.” In other words, the already drought-hardened soil was further degraded by tanks, artillery, trucks, bombs pulverizing it.

Instruments recorded the largest dust particles for a storm in that twenty-year time period since they have been in use.

Winds picked up the violated soil. And as they moved along, a dust storm of unprecedented proportions hit the region.

The storm of soil degradation could wipe us all out.


This is not a sexy story. It is, though, an important one.

—Michael Dickel

The BeZine, June 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 9


June 15, 2017

The environmental  challenges are complex, an understatement I know.

  • Big Ag pollutes our waterways and groundwater, air and soil. Some wetlands, rivers and their tributaries can no longer sustain life. Much pastureland is befouled with pesticides, animal waste, phosphates and nitrates and other toxic residue from unsustainable farming practices.
  • Sudan Relief Fund, World Food Program, Oxfam, Catholic Relief Fund, Buddhist Global Relief, the World Food Program and many other organizations are working to mitigate widespread  hunger, which is a problem of economic injustice as well as environmental degradation and environmental injustice.
  • Drought and resulting famine are devastating the Sudan, the West Upper Nile and Yemen.
  • In many areas of the world, access to potable water is sorely lacking.
  • Lack of access to clean water is exacerbated by a want of toilets for some 4.2 billion people, which has a  huge impact on public health.  The result of poor hygiene and sanitation is Dysentery, Typhoid, Cholera, Hepatitis A and death-dealing Diarrhea. More people die of diarrhea in Third World counties than of AIDs.

Our problems are pressing and complex and are made the more difficult as we struggle under a cloud of skepticism and division and the discouraging weight of a Doomsday Clock that was moved forward in January to two-and-a-half minutes to midnight in response to Trump’s election.  That’s the closest we’ve been to midnight since 1953.

Access to potable water may be the most pressing of our challenges.

“The world runs on water. Clean, reliable water supplies are vital for industry, agriculture, and energy production. Every community and ecosystem on Earth depends on water for sanitation, hygiene, and daily survival.

“Yet the world’s water systems face formidable threats. More than a billion people currently live in water-scarce regions, and as many as 3.5 billion could experience water scarcity by 2025. Increasing pollution degrades freshwater and coastal aquatic ecosystems. And climate change is poised to shift precipitation patterns and speed glacial melt, altering water supplies and intensifying floods and drought.”  World Resources Institute

The good news is that there are many working conscientiously to raise awareness and funds. Some of our readers and contributors are among them. There are good people offering time and expertise, sometimes putting their own lives and livelihoods  in danger.

This month our core team and guest writers have chosen to focus largely on water, but they also address the need to respect science (Naomi Baltuck) and the need to acknowledge that war is a danger to the environment in general as well as a cause of human hunger. (Michael Dickel). If the Syrian Civil War were to stop right this second, one wonders how long – how many years, perhaps decades – it would take to make that country’s land farmable again.

Michael Watson, Carolyn O’Connell and Joe Hesch touch their experiences of farms before industrial farming.  Priscilla Galasso, John Anstie, Paul Brooks, Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen speak to us of water.  Corina Ravenscraft and Sonja Benskin Mesher remind us of the element of greed – as does John – and Sonja points to gratitude.  Enough is truly enough.  Charlie Martin’s poems are poignant, making us think about how sad it would be if we lost it all.  Liliana Negoi brings a quiet and practical appreciation of nature.  Phillip Stevens paints the earth in all her delicacy and need for tender husbandry.

Thanks to our core team members for stellar, thoughtful work as always: John Anstie, Michael Watson and Michael Dickel, Priscilla Galasso and Corina Ravenscraft, Charles Martin, Liliana Negoi, Naomi Baltuck and Joe Hesch.

Welcome back to Paul Brooks, Phillip Stephens and Sonja Benskin Mesher and a warm welcome to Marieta Maglas and Rob Cullen, new to our pages.

We hope this issue will give you pleasure even as it provokes you. Leave your likes and comments behind. As readers you are as import to the The BeZine project, values and goals as are our contributors. Your commentary is welcome and encourages our writers. As always, we offer the work of emerging, mid-career and polished pros, all talented and all with ideas and ideals worth reading and thinking about.

In the spirit of peace, love (respect) and community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes, Founding and Managing Editor

Photo credit: A Mongolian Gazelle, victim of drought, Gobi Desert 2009 courtesy of Mark Heard under CC BY 2.0


TABLE OF CONTENTS

How to read this issue of THE BEZINE:

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling (now includes this Intro), or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.

SPECIAL

Children call on world leaders to save the ocean, World Oceans Day

BeATTITUDES

Walking With Water, Rob Cullen
Water Wishes, Priscilla Galasso
Our Albatross Is Greed, But We’re Not Sunk Yet, Corina Ravenscraft
Close to My Heart, Michael Watson

 POEMS

Let the Rains Fall, John Anstie

The Value of Water, Paul Brookes
WET KILL, Paul Brookes
What Use Poetry When It Floods, Paul Brookes

Hybrid: Warm Hunger, Michael Dickel

Water, Ralph Waldo Emerson

Don’t Blink, Joseph Hesch

The Desert, Marieta Maglas

Postponed Awareness, Charles W. Martin
off course evolution, Charles W. Martin
death by committee, Charles W. Martin

#what more do you expect, Sonja Benskin Mesher

prints, Liliana Negoi
growth, Liliana Negoi
what remains after the tree, Liliana Negoi

Remember the Farm, Carolyn O’Connell

Guerilla Gardening, Phillip Stephens
Resurrection Restoration, Phillip Stephens

PHOTO/ESSAY

That Was Then, This Is Now, Naomi Baltuck

MORE LIGHT

For My Children, Rob Cullen


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


CONNECT WITH US


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April 2017, Vol. 3, Issue 7, Celebrating interNational Poetry Month

April 15, 2017

Poetry Month means that we have arrived at

…the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain. (T. S. Eliot, The Wasteland)

One of the most famous poems “about” poetry, Marianne Moore‘s poem, “Poetry.” It famously begins with

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
all this fiddle.

However, she goes on in the very next lines to say

Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers that there is in
it after all, a place for the genuine.

There is much that is genuine in this April issue of The BeZine, which celebrates Poetry Month globally with our celebration of interNational Poetry Month. We are proud to present a wide variety of poets and poetry from all over the world. We have 45 posts of poetry (many with more than one poem), an essay, and one short story. This issue of The BeZine is an anthology!

Over the years, questions of poetry’s health, suggestions of its “death,” and concerns over who, if anybody, might be reading it, continue to swirl around in various articles, essays, and round tables. While many of the debates one might encounter in this bubbling broth come from a perspective of poetry’s decline, it seems to me that the reasons that such questions arise come from two primary sources.

One is an anxiety about how society values what we do, as poets or readers of poetry. It seems that the writers from this vein often worry that, in fact, society does not value poetry—as recorded in statistics about readership or as suggested by some other perceived decline in attention to it. The other vein, in my view, is a more healthy concern with what poetry is and what we are doing when we “do” poetry (read, write, critique).

This past year, a lot of words spilled onto the screen and page regarding Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Prize—is a song writer a poet? Of course, poetry comes from song, so a song writer is a poet. Is poetry still song, then, or has it gone “beyond”? These articles and essays seem to flow from both of the sources I’ve suggested: anxiety and reflection. If our modest zine is any indication, poetry thrives throughout the world.

While the anxieties and reflections continue—and they are not new, witness the 1919 date of Marianne Moore’s poem—poets continue to write, and readers continue to read. You are reading this, so you are evidence of readers who have an interest in poetry. Whether there are more or fewer readers in any year or decade might fluctuate, or the methods of measuring them might change. However, as there are poets, there are those who read poetry. And listen to it—as in spoken word and slam.

Billy Collins opens his essay, The Vehicle of Language, suggesting that a problem with the reception of poetry is how poetry is taught:

For any teacher of poetry with the slightest interest in reducing the often high-pitched level of student anxiety, one step would be to substitute for the nagging and ultimately pointless question, “What does this poem mean?” the more manageable question “Where does this poem go?” Tracking the ways a poem moves from beginning to end puts the emphasis on the poem’s tendency to travel imaginatively and thus to carry the reader in the vehicle of its language.

In principle, I agree that the emphasis should be on where poetry goes, how it plays with language—not on decoding “meaning.” The same approach could be applied to the concerns expressed about poetry. The concerns need not be about where poetry is as measured against expectations of its current quality, akin to the “meaning” anxiety of its teaching.

Although some express an anxiety about the “quality” of online poetry or spoken word or even “today’s” written word, we would do well to reflect instead on where poetry is going, for us as readers and writers—where we as writers of it want to go with our poetry, and where we as readers of it want poetry to go to be most satisfying.

Poetry invites us to take an imaginative journey: from the flatness of practical language into the rhythms and sound systems of poetic speech. (Billy Collins, The Vehicle of Language)

It is our hope that you will read the poetry here with an appreciation for poetry’s “place for the genuine,” and find satisfaction in the depth and breadth presented here. Whether or not you will have “a perfect contempt for it” as you read, we leave up to you…

Michael Dickel
Contributing Editor


TABLE OF CONTENTS

Celebrating interNational Poetry Month

To Read this issue of The BeZine

  • Click HERE to read the entire magazine by scrolling, or
  • You can read each piece individually by clicking the links below.
  • To learn more about our guests contributors, please link HERE.

Poetry

April Fool, Iulia Gherghei
Barricades and Beds, Aditi Angiras
The Burgundy Madonna, Patricia Leighton
Common Ground, Dorothy Long Parma
dancing toward infinity, Jamie Dedes
Don’t Let Fall Go – sonnet, Liliana Negoi
Donatella D’Angelo | unpublished poems 2016
Dreaming of Children, Renee Espiru
A few from the vaults …, Corina Ravenscraft
Four Poems by Reuben Woolley
Full Buck Moon and other poems by Lisa Ashley
gary lundy’s poetics | 5 prose poems
A geography of memories | Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt
Grandmother, Dorothy Long Parma
having found a stone in my shoe …, Charles W Martin
healing hands …, Charles W Martin
Kali, Gayle Walters Rose
Kinga Fabó | 3 Hungarian Poems in Translation
Lead Boots, David Ratcliffe
levels, Liliana Negoi
luke 10:25-37…, Charles W Martin
Melissa Houghton | 3 Poems
Michael Rothenberg and Mitko Gogov
Ms. Weary’s Blues, Jamie Dedes
not with a bang but a whimper, three poems, Jamie Dedes,
One of My Tomorrows, John Anstie
patriarichal wounds…, Charles W Martin
Poetry and Prayer, Phillip T Stephens
PTSD Children, Charles W Martin
Rachel Heimowitz | Three Poems from Israel
the red coat, Sonja Benskin Mesher
Science Fiction, Phillip T. Stephens
Socks | Michael Dickel
Spring in my Sundays, Iulia Gherghei
Standing Post: Trees in Practice, Gayle Walters Rose
Teaching Poetry | Michael Dickel
Terri Muuss | and the word was
The Marks Remain, David Ratcliffe
Three Poems by Paul Brookes
Three Poems by Phillip Larrea
Three Poems from Albanian | Faruk Buzhala
To Our Broken Sandals, Mendes Biondo
To the Frog at the Door, Jamie Dedes
Two Poems by Denise Fletcher
Valérie Déus | 3 Poems

BeAttitude

Look Upon My Works, Ye Mighty, Naomi Baltuck

Short Story

Whispers on an April Morning Breeze, Joseph Hesch


Except where otherwise noted,
ALL works in The BeZine ©2017 by the author / creator


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Keeper of the Secrets, Gretchen wisdom

‘Raven’s lesson is to walk without fear even if the way is not clear…trust your intuition to guide you.’ As it is with all original people history is recorded through verbal stories. I love the tales from Native American culture because they add to the spirit and mystery of the animals that I […]

via keeper of the secrets — Gretchen Del Rio’s Art Blog

The BeZine, Vol. 3, Issue 5, February 2017, Overcoming Hate

think how wonderful when all the registries are
…..thrown out with the trash
so that the children of the poor come out ahead
some half-pint future president
on the street the man who stopped you with his
…..pockets inside out
is loading you with fruits & sweets is kissing you
a hero who can send a message into every little head
…..the thought of some enchanted evening
the reciprocal tyranny of fathers & of sons is over
& the need or love grows always stronger makes the
…..master builder stretch the promenades into the
…..farthest outskirts
which is freedom yes & which is love

excerpt from Tyranny or Love by Vítêzlav Nezval in Atilyrik & Other Poems

Love can be a kind of tyranny but hate tyrannizes the hated and the hateful and everyone around them. My godmother used to say that it is harder to hold onto hate than to let go in love.  How do we overcome the hate in ourselves?

Michael Dickel comes to the subject by exploring the biblical story of Yaakov (Jacob) wrestling with himself and God.

“To overcome hate, we must wrestle with our own soul (tendencies toward harsh judgments, anger, hate—that is, wrestle with our own fears and demons) and with God …” Michael Dickel

Naomi explores all the “H” words, some positive and some not so much, including hate and arriving at like-Hearted. She gives us balance. Corina Ravenscraft explores how hate manifests and Priscilla Galasso comes to it from the position of personal growth. She says:

“The more I work with my own feelings and come to understand myself, the more I can begin to understand others. When I see someone who is angry and hateful, I understand that he is suffering.”

The times are challenging us to explore our emotions and how we react to the encroachment by some elements into the domain of compassion, freedom and justice. We see this expressed in Mark Heathcote’s poem, which reminds us that strong emotion needs fuel, and in Michael Dickel’s Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love and my own Time for the Temple Whores To Sleep With Insanity.

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”  Elie Wiesel

The core issues it turns out are indifference and fear. George Orwell reminds us of what we have to fear if we are not vigilant and proactive. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King reminds us that “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out fear: only love can do that.”  Love is freedom, the absence of tyranny, and the more we love, the more we are able to love.

In the spirit of Peace, Love and Community
and on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor


To read this issue of TheBeZine

  • Click HERE to scroll through and read the entire magazine.
  • Or, you can read each piece individually by clicking the links in the Table of Contents below.  Enjoy!

Table of Contents

BeAttitude

“The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” George Orwell, 1984

The Animals Are Running the Farm, Jamie Dedes

Overcoming Hate

Lead Features

Your Attention, Please, Corina Ravenscraft
The “H” Word, Naomi Baltuck
Transcending Anger, Power and Fear, Priscilla Galasso
Hate Is Not the Opposite of Love, Michael Dickel

Poetry

Silencing the Lambs, John Anstie
Time for the Temple Whores to Sleep with Insanity, Jamie Dedes
Wrestling with God, two poems, Michael Dickel
Five Glosses from Imaginary Exegesis, Michael Dickel
Deconstruction, Michael Dickel
Flying without dice, Michael Dickel
I remember dreaming, Michael Dickel
Hate, it is a termite mound, Mark Heathcote

– End – 

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DECEMBER 15, 2016, VOL. 3, ISSUE 3, THE HEALING POWER OF THE ARTS

“Poetry finds you when you are broken, insists on taking you into its fold, puts your pieces together and then you never leave.” Reena Prasad

Long before we had libraries teeming with medical and psychiatric tomes, we had cave paintings, carved images, storytelling, song, musical instruments and dance. The power of artistic expression to transform both creator and consumer was assumed.

The arts bear witness to sacred space, to the spontaneous dance between the conscious and the unconscious, to the existence of a symbolic realm. It is from these liminal places that our truest art and our healing words, visions, sounds and movement are born. Through art we experience a shamanic-like world that is beyond the consensual one, a world where each spirit is free to find its own core truth.

Hence, this month, we have: a poet (Reena Prasad) finding sanctuary and rebirth by reading and writing poetry: a singer/musician/poet (John Anstie) connecting with his own joy and the people with whom he collaborates; and Corina Ravenscraft’s interview with a soldier suffering from PTSD and finding relief in building and painting hundreds of miniature figurines.

Italian journalist, Mendes Biondo, brings us an interview with and three poems by Poemedic Deborah Alma, who prescribes “emergency poetry.” Our resident storyteller Naomi Baltuck offers us a PhotoStory that suggests just how empowering it is to tell our own stories. It is an excerpt from her book Apples From Heaven: Multicultural Folk Tales About Stories and Storytellers.  Michael Watson takes us for an intriguing peek into toy theatre/object theatre performance as therapy.

Our BeAttitude this month is by Priscilla Galasso, who tells it like it is, as she always does, a critical must-read.

You’ll find the poetry ranges from catharsis to confirmation. We feature the work of three emerging poets: M. Zane McClellan, new to our pages; Inger Morgan, who shares her poem, the splendor of blue, in Swedish and English and debuted last month; and Mark Heathcote, whose work has graced several issues.  Be sure to encourage them your “Likes” and comments.

The accomplished Reena Prasad who debuted with us last month is back with two poems.  Her stunningly beautiful essay Sanctuary is written from the perspective of the poet, but I’m sure other art forms offer the same potential for comfort and transformation to their own devotees.

We’re pleased to treat you to the work of regular favorites:  contributing writers Charlie Martin and Lily Negoi and guest writers Renee Espiru and Carolyn O’Connell.

We have a special guest poet this month, Myra Schneider, who has been featured in these pages before.  Myra is most well-known in the UK where – on turning 70 this year – she celebrated both her birthday and the publication of her fourteenth collection, Persephone in Finsbury Park. She teaches at Poetry School and is a consultant to Second Light Network.

THE JANUARY ISSUE

In January, our topic is Resist. We are piggy-backing on Michael Rothenberg’s and Alan Kaufman’s call to American poets to resist the incoming president.  Our effort is not restricted to poetry or to the United States. We’re doing a global call for submissions that counter policies – no matter what country – which undermine equity, foster poverty, encourage elitism, hate and scapegoating … all those things that pit people against people, putting many people at risk of disease, homelessness, starvation and murder. Please read the submission guidelines first. Send your work to bardogroup@gmail.com. American-Isreali poet and contributing editor to The BeZine,  Michael Dickel, and I will collaborate on the production of the January issue.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM ALL OF US AT THE BeZINE!

We represent the beautiful and great wealth of the world’s wisdom traditions, nationalities, races, disabled and LBGTQ.

The historic experience of our Jewish friends, the plight of our Palestinian friends, the suffering of our Syrian brothers and sisters and others who are or have been victims of social and economic injustice and human rights violations informs our effort. We know that lines must be drawn, that silence is not an option, and that scapegoating can only lead to pain. Having said that, we are  “prisoners of hope*,” and our hope is founded on our faith in you and on the foundation of those values we hold in common.

14720398_1514186551925651_1821171829511947280_n

In the spirit of community and
on behalf of The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Founding and Managing Editor

* Rev. Doctor William J. Barber
Illustration source unknown: if it’s yours, please let me know. I’ll take it down or credit as you prefer.

Bios of Contributing Editors and Writers

Bios of Guest Contributors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Link HERE to read The BeZine My apologies: I had some technical challenges and the Zine lays out in reverse order. I know what the problem is and the next issue will be fine. I recommend that you scoot to the end and move forward to read it in the correct order. Thank you! J.D.

THE HEALING POWER OF THE ARTS

BeAttitude

Armageddon and The Art of French Cooking, Priscilla Galasso

Essay

Sanctuary, Reena Prasad

Feature Articles

Power of the Word, Carolyn OConnell
Aftermath, Michael Watson
Piece by Painted Piece, Corina Ravenscraft
The Healing Adventures of Deborah Alma, Poemedic, Mendes Biondo
Singing for the Love of It, John Anstie
Don’t Confuse Hunger for Greed, the poems of Ruth Stone, Jamie Dedes

PhotoStory

Telling It To the Walls, Naomi Baltuck

Poetry

Special Guest Poet

Mahler’s Ninth, Myra Schneider

Poems

Dark over Light Earth / Violet and Yellow in Rose,Laura Braverman
Wabi Sabi, Jamie Dedes
More Than a Gift, Renee Espiru
The Artist’s Restorative, Mark Heathcote
a poet’s prescription, Charles W. Martin
Laying on of Hands, M. Zane McClellan
Birthing to Earthing, M. Zane McClellan
Writing to Stay Alive, Reena Prasad
The World in the Cracks, Reena Prasad

MORE LIGHT

Poetry

Special Guest Poet

The Silence in the Garden, Myra Schneider

Poems

the splendor in blue, Inger Morgan
december mail, Liliana Negoi
the was of the will be, Liliana Negoi
water, Liliana Negoi

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THE BeZINE, October 2016, Vol. 3, Issue 1, Rituals for Peace, Healing, Unity

October 15, 2016

I am honored to take the lead for this issue of Rituals for Peace, Healing and Unity. Lately, I have not felt very peaceful. In large part, it is due to the election cycle in the United States. It fills me with incredible anxiety. At the same time, I am actively part of a movement called Peacemaking Circles. Peacemaking Circles came to me via Saroeum Phoung who was taught by the Tagish Tlingit First Nation Peoples. Peacemaking is an ancient process that has been traditionally used in all forms of communal and family decision-making. The first principle of Peacemaking Circles is: The only change you can make is within yourself.

As painful as that reality is, it is true. If you change yourself to become peaceful, to be healed, to be one with the greater cosmic community, that will be enough. Because as you are settled and grounded in peace, it will ripple out towards others.

In some ways, I think that we are seeing the rippling of a great many people that have a cosmic concern for the ways of peace. As it ripples towards others, it does, unfortunately, lead to an increase in violence, intolerance, and ickiness. But it will be overcome. Love will win in the end. But the journey can be an anxious one. Staying grounded in peace while the world loses its collective mind is a challenge. Being a non-anxious listening presence in the midst of overwhelming anxiety is hard. And so, we offer you this issue focusing on expressions of rituals for peace, healing, and unity.

You will find an exploration of the ritual of writing as a spiritual practice from Jamie Dedes, a dharma talk from Gil Fronsdale, a reminder from Ram Dass on how to see others, a beautiful poem on healing from Carolyn O’Connell, a folk tale and illustrative photograph from Naomi Baltuck, a calming video and poem from Bridget Cameron, a poem from Renee Espriu that aligns with Ram Dass and how we see, Michael Watson offers an essay on ritual that is spot on, Corina Ravenscraft offers her daily ritual as does John Anstie, and I am offering five rituals that I have written that focus on gratitude, naming and releasing negative feelings, decision-making, a ritual for touch, and a ritual for release.

I’m sure I’ve missed someone. It is not intentional! We have such a generous community.

So, I offer you this issue. Get your warm cup of tea or coffee or water, take a deep breath, sit back and read. Enter into the spirit of peace, pax, shalom, salaam, and pace.

Table of Contents

Editorial Contributions on Rituals by Terri Stewart

A Ritual for Gratitude
A Ritual for Naming Difficult Emotions
A Ritual for Touch
A Ritual for Decision Making
A Ritual for Release

Rituals, Tales, and Poems of Peace and Healing from The BeZine Community

Breathless Between Language and Myth, Jamie Dedes
A Ritual for Peace, John Anstie
Convergence of Healing, Carolyn O’Connell
Ritual, Hélène Cardona
Holding Up the Sky, Naomi Baltuck
Visualize the Raindrops Falling, Renee Espriu
Falling into Ritual, Michael Watson
The Day Begins with You, Corina Ravenscraft
Waiting, Lynn White
A Rose for Gaza, Lynn White
Separate Development, Lynn White
Looking for Poland, Naomi Baltuck

Rituals, Tales, and Poems of Peace and Healing from the Wider Community

A Meditation for Peace, Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche (video)
Starting Where You Are At, Gil Fronsdale
I Practice Turning People Into Trees, Ram Dass
Grace, Bridget Cameron

When you are done, take five deep cleansing breaths, slowly, in and out. Then go, carrying peace and healing in your heart.

Shalom,

Terri

2016-sequim-0631
Photo by Terri Stewart

CONNECT WITH US
Daily Spiritual PracticE: Beguine Again, A COMMUNITY OF LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE

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Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine.

THE BeZINE, Vol.2, Issue 12, Environment/Environmental Justice

September 15, 2016

The Environment is a complex array of interconnections and interbeing (as Thich Nhat Hahn would say). Steve & I have various metaphors for this. He likes to refer to “his bowling pins”. He imagines setting up a toy set of pins on a lawn and bowling at them. When they scatter, you set them back up exactly where they landed and bowl again. This takes you all over the neighborhood in endless permutations. I think of “trophic cascades”, changes in an ecosystem that originate at an extinction or other dramatic altering of balance, similar perhaps to “the domino effect” but less linear. However you try to wrap your brain around it, the nature of Life on this planet is intricate and incomprehensible. We are wise to approach it with the utmost humility. Because we are intrinsically involved, however, we must not fear to engage. We are already immersed. We might as well learn to float, swim or drown with awareness. With that understanding, we invited our contributors to share their perspectives from where they are. And there are many other currents besides. Let me just mention a few for further research:

Environmental Law – there are some exciting changes emerging in the championing of the Rights of Nature in legal systems. Corporations have legal protection and rights as individuals in many countries, while communities and natural entities (bodies of water, land, animals, etc.) do not. The ability to stand up against the interests of a Corporation and say, “We don’t care if you want this resource. You can’t have it!” is an idea that can be incorporated into law. Thomas Linzey of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is working to make that happen. Watch his keynote address to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC) HERE.

Deep Ecology/Environmental Philosophy – Deep ecologists are a group of philosophers who question the anthropocentrism embedded in the logic and ethics of Western culture. Arne Naess is the “Father of Deep Ecology”. Peter Singer is another important philosopher who spearheaded the discussion about the ethical treatment of animals in the early 70s. These philosophers are everything from temperate reformers (Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry) to anti-civilizationists (Derrick Jensen).

Habitat/Wildlife/Green Corridors – where human interference has fragmented the landscape, other species suffer huge losses. Establishing connected corridors of undisturbed terrain help to shift the paradigm from domination to coexistence. The American Prairie Reserve has a habitat base of more than 353,000 acres. Read the story of this amazing management project HERE.

Organic Farming – the proliferation of large factory farms that employ pesticides, herbicides, hormones and other chemicals while dumping huge amounts of toxic waste on the land has significantly impacted the health of the planet. Soil health, human health, pollinator health – so many things are involved here. Returning to methods of food production that are more locally-scaled and less dependent on chemicals is a natural remedy, but must be radically and quickly implemented to turn degradation around. Support organic farming in your area!

And now, we proudly introduce our Table of Contents,
Priscilla Galasso (scillagrace) with Steve Wiencek

Editorial Notes

How Will I Behave Here?, Priscilla Galasso, Contributing Editor
Nature…Place…Community, Steve Wiencek, Guest Editor
Cruel Legacy, Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

Environment/Environmental Injustice

Awareness

All Things Are Connected,  Naomi Baltuck
The Power of Place, Michael Watson
The Hoopoes Are Back, Lynn White
Dawn Chorus, Lynn White
Another Kind of Beauty, Jamie Dedes
Cloud Watching, Jamie Dedes
Meditating on Ancient Oak, Carolyn O’Connell
The Wordless Mystery, Jamie Dedes
There Is Pleasure in the Pathless Wood, Gordon George Byron, Lord Byron

Action

The Victories Are Important!, Corina Ravenscraft
Regicide, Joe Hesch
Trespass, Terri Stewart
Naturally Devoted, Priscilla Galasso
Environmental Injustice,  Mark Heathcote
Soil Isn’t Sexy – Neither is War, Michael Dickel
Climate Change (poem), Michael Dickel

Extinction

Rounded With a Sleep, Part 1, James Cowles
Rounded With a Sleep, Part 2, James Cowles
For the Last Wolverine, video reading, James Dickey
Last Call, Corina Ravenscraft
Eden Revisited, Charles Martin
Black Honey Fare, Renee Espriu
Hoping It Regenerates – Again (artwork), Jerry Ingeman

CONNECT WITH US

succulents
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Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine.

grandmother wolf

A thought for our times from Getchen Del Rio …

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

original watercolor aceo 9/2016 original watercolor aceo 9/2016

If you talk to the animals they will talk to you, and you will know each other. If you do not talk to them you will not know them, and what you do not know you will fear. What one fears, one destroys……Chief Dan George

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sahara

Uplift from Gretchen Del Rio and Thich Nhat Hanh.

Gretchen Del Rio's Art Blog

watercolor aceo 5/2016 watercolor aceo 5/2016

“Your foot touches the earth mindfully, and you arrive firmly in the here and the now. And suddenly you are free – free from all projects, all worries, all expectations. You are fully present, fully alive, & you are touching the earth.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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August 2016 . Vol.2/Issue 11 ~ Hope: Great Expectations and Quiet Desires

August 15, 2016

“to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you’ve held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.”
© Ellen Bass

In this issue our writers touch on many aspects of hope and its flip-side grief, sometimes head on and sometimes by a thread. In our lead features, Corina Ravenscraft urges us to act without expectation, to take life as it comes and Priscilla Galasso encourages us to do the work so that our hopes and dreams honor our true selves. In “You Just Never Know,” Naomi Baltuck gives us a fable about hope, perseverance and the unexpected.

Life, love, hope and dreams are explored from different perspectives by our poets, often from the perspective of the hopes we cling to despite wars and abuse. For the later see especially the Landays of Pashtun women in “I will die with a heart full of hope” and the poems of Imen Benyoub and Jenean Gilstrap. In “Ashen” k. writes about the quiet desire of a husband to stay connected to his wife who has died. In Hollie McNish’s poem, “Embarrassed,” she hopes – argues for – a society that gets past its nonsensical and puritanical attitudes toward breastfeeding. Renee Espriu speaks simply of hope and family in her poem “Eucalyptus Trees.” With Hélène Cardona’s “Life in Suspension” she trusts “the ripeness of the moment.”  No stress. No strain. Luke Prater writes about the sacred moments and …

“When I knew mine was the life needed saving,
however seemingly insurmountable: this
is not an easy fade-to-black halfway home.”

With all our advice and encouragement, it’s never easy and we all need saving.

Jenean Gilstap and Hélène Cardona are new to our pages, and we are proud to introduce their work to you. Please be sure to check out their bios and Renee’s and Luke’s. This is not Renee’s or Luke’s first time here, but its been a while and we are delighted to welcome them back.

Terri Muuss is featured this month with her editorial, “For or Against,” wherein she clarifies the misconceptions and misunderstandings that arise from our communications in social media.

Enjoy!

In the spirit of peace, love and community,
for The Bardo Group Beguines,
Jamie Dedes
Managing Editor

BeATTITUDES
(Editorial)

For or Against, Terri Muss

HOPE: Great Expectations and Quiet Desires

Lead Features

Life on Life’s Terms, Corina Ravenscraft
Dream What You Will and Will What You Dream, Priscilla Galasso
You Just Never Know, Naomi Baltuck

Special Feature

I will die with a heartful of hope, the Landays of Pashtun women

Poetry

This Peaceful Morning in Wartime, Imen Benyoub

Life in Suspension, Hélène Cardona
Ouranoupolis Pantoum, Hélène Cardona
To Kitty, Who Loved the Sea and Somerset Maugham, Hélène Cardona

from their prison of lost hope, Jamie Dedes
after the injera, the wat, the niter kibby, Jamie Dedes

Eucalyptus Trees, Renee Espriu

my name is huda, Jenean Gilstrap

Sacred Moments, Luke Prater

CONNECT WITH US

succulents

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Access to the biographies of our core team, contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll where you can also find links to archived issues of The BeZine (currently in the process of updating), our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.

 

MAY 2016, Vol.2/Issue 8; Books That Changed Our Lives

May 15, 2016

Books are a uniquely portable magic.
Stephen King, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”

Books are a primary way we get to travel, meet new people, and learn about the world and the human condition outside the narrow confines of our personal concerns, our families and communities. They are indeed magic: they inform, heal, spur us to action, offer new perspectives, new ways of being in the world and – perhaps most important – they open us to the joys and suffering of others.

In this month’s lead feature, Algerian poet, writer, university student and frequent contributor to The BeZine, Imen Benyoub, tells how three important books that focus on war and genocide teach us about “courage, tolerance, love and sacrifice” and bear witness to “how generous and resilient a human spirit can be, even in the darkest times.”

Imen’s feature is suggestive of The BeZine‘s raison d’etre: to come together from different parts of the world, different cultures, races and creeds, to show our soft underbelly, our most human side in the interest of peace. We are here to quietly be ourselves, to share and in so doing to recognize one another as sister and brother, not “other.” If one of us bleeds, we all bleed. Let us not be silent in the face of daily brutalities. Pens, not swords, open minds and hearts and heal our world. This month – as always – our writers represent a diversity of nations, religions (or lack of), ethnicities and cultures. While this is an English language publication, not all of our writers have English as a first language.

Lilianna Negoi and Contributing Editor, Priscilla Galasso, get us started at the beginning, our early childhood reading. Lana Phillips tells the touching story of comfort in reading Red Shoes for Nancy about a girl older than she who was also living with disability. Corina Ravenscraft tells us how two books made a substantive difference in her life and way of being in the world. Michael Watson says in his essay:

Being an avid reader, I have developed a suspicion that, like the Great Weathers, almost any book can change one’s life for good or ill, and that timing has a lot to do with the outcome.

James R. Cowles’ essay, Escaping Into Reality, offers a lot to think about (as his essays always do) and Mendes Biondo (new to our pages) tells us of personal growth and changes in perspective fostered by an encounter with The Cannon of 20th Century Greek poet, Costantino Cavafy.

We move on to poetry by several of our core team members: John Anstie’s profound Looking South (looking back) with Frodo Baggins; Joe Hesch’s well-crafted and honest poems Schwund und Reue (Loss and Regret) and Confessions of Light-reading Poet; Naomi Baltuck combines a poem by Alice Lowe with her signature photo-storytelling; Charlie Martin loves too many books; Liliana Negoi writes movingly and vividly of reading.

We have several newcomers to our pages this month. We are delighted to introduce poets Joshua Medsker, whose poem is included with the themed pieces and, under the More Light section, Miki Byrne, Sakshi Chanana and Maggie Mackay. Please be sure to welcome them with “likes” and comments. Read their bios HERE.

Also under More Light are Naomi Baltuck’s always engaging photo-stories. We close with a charming art piece from Marlyn Exconde and her children.

Enjoy! … and be the peace …

Jamie Dedes, Managing Editor

LEAD FEATURE

Three books. Three cities: Sarajevo, Warsaw, and Lod … stories about music, war, friendship and survival…, Imen Benyoub

THEME FEATURES

Essays and Photo Stories

The First Book That Shaped Me, Lilianna Negoi
Books That Change Lives, Priscilla Galasso
Red Shoes for Nancy, Lana Phillips
Books That Changed My Life, Corina Ravenscraft
Books and Great Weather, Michael Watson
Escaping Into Reality, James R. Cowles
May there be many a summer morning …, Mendes Biondo

Poems

Looking South with Frodo Baggins, John Anstie (essay & poem)
A Merry Literary Christmas, Naomi Baltuck and Alice Lowe
Schwund und Reue, Joseph Hesch
Confessions of a Light-reading Poet, Joseph Hesch
too many loves, Charles W. Martin
The Poetic Books, Joshua Medsker
Night Light, Liliana Negoi

MORE LIGHT

Poetry

Tying Coats on Elephants, Miki Byrne
Drugs on the Street, Miki Byrne
Blood and Money, Miki Byrne
Transience, Sakshi Chanana
Silver and Gold, Maggie Mackay
Anosmia, Maggie Mackay

Photo Stories

A Peace of My Mind, Naomi Baltuck
The Mistery of Life, Naomi Baltick
Lullaby of Life, Naomi Baltick

Art

Magic Is Your Name, Marlyn Exconde and Children

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Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.

April 2016, Vol. 2/Issue 7 ~ Celebrating Poetry Month

15 April 2016
Poetry Month

The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

I. The Burial of the Dead

APRIL is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten.
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.…

A tidal wave of poetry, perhaps.

Michael Dickel, Contributing Editor

While Eliot declares the cruelty of April, April also happens to be National Poetry Month in the United States and Canada. In our online, social media world, it has become an international celebration of poetry as well. To join in this celebration, we in the Bardo Group Beguines dedicate the April issue each year to poetry. Many of us who write regularly for The BeZine are poets, and we usually include poetry. So, for us, it is a happy celebration—nothing cruel about it!

And what a wide-ranging celebration we offer in the 2016 National Poetry Month The BeZine issue! W. B. Yeats is oft quoted as saying, “What can be explained is not poetry.” So I won’t explain. I will tell you that Terri Muuss’ poem, “Thirteen Levels of Heaven,” takes you far and wide in a few grains of sand. “The Other Woman,” Imen Benyoub’s heart-wrenching poem, is not who you think—but in the current global storm of conflict and national political climate, indeed, she is Other. Michael Rothenberg’s “Poem for Mitko” personalizes the news we hear by imagining its impact on our mutual friend, Macedonian poet Mitko Gogov.

What these three featured poems have in common is their ability to take the intimate, the personal, the real moments of every day life, and reflect in and from them larger issues of humanity and life. Each describes very specific, personal scenes. According to Joy Harjo, “It’s possible to understand the world from studying a leaf.” And all of these poems open our eyes wide to the world. Sharon Olds tells an interviewer about poets she admires: “Their spirits and their visions are embodied in their craft. And so is mine.” And so are the spirits and visions of the authors gathered here.

“It may also be the case that any genuine work of art generates new work,” Donald Barthelme tells us in a Paris Review interview. As you read the poems, essays, interviews, and reviews in this month’s issue, I imagine that they will generate new art for you. Whether the art of living, the art of knowing others, or “the Arts,” you will want to do more of it after reading what we offer this month.


Last year, the Second Light Network of Women Poets (SLN) collaborated with The BeZine during April to present poetry from the SLN. In this year’s issue, you can read more about the network in “SECOND LIGHT NETWORK, showcasing the ambitious poetry of ambitious women.”  Jamie Dedes’ essay “POET, TEACHER, INSPIRATION: Dilys Wood and the Latter-day Saphos” also sheds light on Dilys Wood, founder of the SLN. This year, in my dual roles of contributing editor here at The BeZine and associate editor at The Woven Tale Press, I have served as liaison in a new collaboration. The works specifically from the collaboration appear in their own section in the table of contents below.

However, the whole issue represents collaboration—not only between the two publications, but between all of the writers. We work together, as a community. In putting this all together with Jamie Dedes and my Bardo Group Beguines and Woven Tale Press colleagues, I came to realize how many of the poets here I know personally—separately from these two publications. We all come from an organic online writing community. By organic, I mean through no organized effort or special social website.

After years of knowing Michael Rothenberg through email and Facebook, I only finally met him in person this past summer. Terri Muuss and I met at Cornelia Street Café in Greenwich Village, also years ago, where her husband, Matt Pasca (who also has appeared in The BeZine), Adeena Karasick, and I performed one lovely evening. All four of us keep in touch through Facebook now.

I met gary lundy a long time ago and have spent time together, including road trips and as roommates for a few months. However, most of our friendship has been sustained and maintained by email and online connections—dating back to before any of us had heard of Facebook. UK poet Reuven Woolley, Romanian poet Liliana Negoi, Natasha Head, as well as Jamie Dedes and the rest of the Bardo Group Beguines, I only know “virtually.” Until a few months ago, the same was true for The Woven Tale Press publisher and editor-in-chief, Sandra Tyler.

Today, the world of poetry, as with everything else, has transformed under the influences of technology and social media. Last year, I spoke to a graduate-student seminar about social media, poetry, and the latest wave of “democratization of poetry.” That discussion evolved into the foreword of The Art of Being Human, Vol. 14, which you can read in this issue as “(Social) Media(ted) (Democratic) Poetry.”

I won’t try to count how many waves of “democratic” trends in poetry have washed up on the beach. A couple of centuries ago, poets were concerned “just anybody” might write poetry, and they didn’t think that was such a good idea. Some probably still don’t. Free verse and the Beats in the mid-Twentieth Century have been associated with the idea, for better or worse, depending on who made the association.

Today, poetry slams usually involve actual voting, as do many online sites. Self-publishing has become easy and cheap, so anyone could have a book who wants to, now. As a result of all of this, editors—such as those putting together a special poetry issue—serve much more as curators than as the gate-keepers of old. So, we may be in one of the greatest ever waves of “democratic” poetry.

A tidal wave of poetry, perhaps.

Don’t worry. While it will wash over you and change you, you won’t drown. Enjoy the poetry, writing about poetry, and other work presented here for your celebratory pleasure!

“There is something in me maybe someday
to be written; now it is folded, and folded,
and folded, like a note in school.”
― Sharon Olds


Table of Contents

Featured

POEMS

ESSAYS, INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS

WOVEN TALE PRESS COLLABORATION

SECOND LIGHT NETWORK

IMG_9671CONNECT WITH US

Beguine Again, Spirtual Community and Practice

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.

March 2016, Vol. 2/Issue 6 ~The Joys of Nature: Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces

March 15, 2016

With this issue, we bring to center stage a relationship in which we are all engaged in one way or another – our relationship to this Place. Call it Nature or Earth or Gaia or Creation, this is where all of us are born, where we will live our lives, and where we will die.

Does this place have a Spirit of its own? Does it have a will? How does it relate to us?

Those are some of the questions behind the pondering, the exploring, the dreaming and the planning that is communicated here in our writing, in our songs, in our art, and in our work.

Taking the lead in preparing this issue has been a great adventure for me. It has challenged me to hold the lens of Place in front of my eyes more intentionally and to listen more closely to the voices of those who look through different spectacles. It is my hope that the contents here will encourage sharper focus on this relationship for all of our readers.

I am delighted to have Michael Watson’s piece “The Gift of Relationship” to launch our journey. The essay “I Love This Place!” follows and establishes the Lead Features. John Anstie offers “An Alternative View of Nature” so that we might ponder not only joy, but also humility and personal cost in this relationship. This piece also ushers in our first Poetry section for this month. Nature provides so many metaphorical images that bloom into greater understanding as we ponder our interaction with the world. We have a marvelous cornucopia of poems from Zen-like to Romantic from our core members and newcomers to our group, a true garden of delights, broken into two sections: shade and full sun. (Can you tell I enjoy running with a theme?!)

So often the weight and depth of a crucial relationship is handled most gracefully in a good story. Naomi Baltuck is one of my favorite storytellers! She makes me feel the magic of my purest attempts to make meaning, the ones I began as a child. And she always includes great pictures! She offers a selection of her tales in our Story Corner.

Art and Photography are natural mediums for portraying this beloved Place. In this section, Michael Dickel will challenge your assumptions about the Holy Land and show you the true Nature of that country in personal photos…and then invite you to examine your perspective further in “Capturing and Interpreting Light”.

Two exceptional Essays put some real heartwood into this issue. “Staying Wild: How the Wilderness Act Changed My Life” by Annick Smith describes living the idea and practice of wilderness and illustrates a real alternative to human ‘trammeling’.  “Let’s Hear It For The Bees! (Parts 1-3)” by Tish Farrell provides some important information about a current environmental crisis – a wake-up call to the vulnerability of Nature.

Liliana Negoi next surrounds us with Green Light – two creative non-fiction essays to stimulate luminous musing.

After the Full Sun section of our Poetry garden, we offer some cool Music with tight harmony and a timeless message.

In More Green Light, we gaze on “Life in Ordinary Time”, “Unseen”.  Finally, “Who Is She?” introduces our Getting To Know You subject, the poet Joseph Hesch.

Variety, diversity, fecundity, liveliness – yep, this issue looks like Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces.  I hope you enjoy exploring and engaging in this small space and that it inspires you to deeper and broader and higher interaction with the larger Place where we all live. –

Priscilla Galasso
Contributing Writer/Associate Editor

c Michael Dickel
c Michael Dickel

THEME:
The Joys of Nature: Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces

Lead Features

The Gift of Relationship, Michael Watson
I Love This Place, Priscilla Galasso

Poetry (Shade)

An Alternative View of Nature, John Anstie
flies, Michael Dickel
Gardens, Ampat Koshy
Green Spaces, Ampat Koshy
Noctune, Sharon Frye
Rock Quarry, Corina Ravenscraft
Wilderness, Ampat Koshy

Story Corner

Monkey See, Monkey Do, Naomi Baltuck
Birds of a Feather, Naomi Baltuck

Art/Photography

Holy Nature Land, Michael Dickel
Capturing and Interpreting the Light, Michael Dickel

Essays

Staying Wild: How the Wilderness Act Changed My Life, Annick Smith
Three Bees, Two Bees, One Bee (Bees, Part 1), Tish Farrell
Let’s Hear It for the Bees – Hooray! (Bees, Part 2), Tish Farrell
Bee-ing Bee-Minded (Bees, Part 3), Tish Farrell
Nothing More, Liliana Negoi
Gardening Tools, Liliana Negoi

Poetry (Full Sun)

Haiku, Liliana Negoi
Lackadaisy, Sharon Frye
Nemeton Unfaded, Corina Ravenscraft
purple fates, Liliana Negoi
The Republic of Innocence, Jamie Dedes
Watching the World, Sharon Frye

Music

Let There Be Peace on Earth

More Green Light

Life in Ordinary Time, Virginia Galfo
Unseen, Tiramit
Who Is She, Joseph Hesch

Getting to Know You

Interview with Joseph Hesch

IMG_1750Connect with us …

Beguine Again, Spirtual Community and Practice

Facebook, The Bardo Group Beguines

Twitter, The Bardo Group Beguines

Access to the biographies of our core team contributing writers and guest writers is in the blogroll to your left along with archived issues of The BeZine, our Mission Statement and Submission Guidelines.

Celebrating Wilderness

We’re getting ready to bring you the March issue of The BeZine on the 15th. Priscilla Galasso is the lead, and the theme is The Joys of Nature: Wilderness, Gardens and Green Spaces. To whet your appetite, we bring you a repost of Priscilla’s 2014 feature article celebrating the 50th anniversary of the1964 Wilderness Act. J.D.

It’s a time for celebration! 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, the landmark conservation bill that created a way for Americans to protect their most pristine wildlands for future generations.  The 1964 Wilderness Act…created the National Wilderness Preservation System, which protects nearly 110 million acres of wilderness areas from coast to coast. This anniversary is a wonderful chance to celebrate all that’s been achieved for wilderness in the past 50 years and remind Americans of all that we can achieve in the next 50.” (from The Wilderness Society website, http://www.wilderness.org)

wilderness

I read this call to celebration with great delight. My partner Steve is also turning 50 this fall. We’d been searching for a way to live out the next half of our lives more intentionally embodying all that we’ve come to value. He’s been reading up on ‘Deep Ecology’ lately and examining his own philosophy of land ethic, relationship to the Earth, and living responsibly. It can all be a very thick soup to me, but at the mention of “WILDERNESS”, I began to find a kind of clarity. Images, feelings, an intuitive sense of freedom and sanctity began to emerge from the murky definitions and contradictions. Yes, I value ‘wilderness’. I need it. I know this, deep in my soul. What is this recognition about? What does ‘wilderness’ mean, and what do I learn from it?

A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” The Wilderness Act of 1964

tent

What is our relationship to wilderness – or to Nature, for that matter? Are we visitors? Are we managers, stewards, masters? Conquerors? I hear the ‘beep, beep, beep’ of construction vehicles in reverse and the thud of jack-hammers that are currently tearing down the green space near my home and widening the interstate highway to create a Research Park, and I know that a large part of my culture is dedicated to conquering and altering the land and calling it ‘development’.

playing house

I am drawn to the prairie, to the woodlands, to green space wherever I find it, but I don’t want to be a mere visitor. I belong to this planet. My ancestry is here. When I was a little girl, I used to play in the Forest Preserve across the street from my house. I would duck beneath the shady boughs of a bush and sweep out some floor space with a stick. I would set up rooms and fashion utensils of twig and bark. I played House for hours on end, staking my claim, perhaps, to domesticity within that habitat. I want to live on the Earth, with the Earth, not in dominance or enmity, but in peace and harmony. In order to live in peace, however, I have to know when to leave well enough alone. I know this in my relationship with people, and I know this in my relationship with animals. It’s called Respect. Why shouldn’t this be true of my relationship to land and sea and air as well? Let it do what it wants to do. Let it enjoy autonomy, as I do. Let it be “untrammeled by man”.

 If future generations are to remember us with gratitude rather than contempt, we must leave them a glimpse of the world as it was in the beginning, not just after we got through with it.” – Lyndon Baynes Johnson, President who signed The Wilderness Act into law.

secondary wilderness forest

Is it naive to think that there exists any place on Earth that is truly pristine? Perhaps. And that need not be grounds to dismiss the idea of wilderness with a cynical roll of the eyes. I believe there is merit in creating what I call ‘secondary wilderness’ by allowing areas that have been previously used and even exploited to return to a more natural state. There is much to be learned by observing what time and non-human agents will do in a particular environment. Steve and I found a section of secondary wilderness right here in Wisconsin. Although most of the 110 million acres of federally designated Wilderness is west of the Mississippi in mountains, deserts, and Arctic tundra, there are forests in the North that have been abandoned by logging operations and allowed to return to wildlands. The Headwaters Wilderness in the Nicolet unit of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest is 22,000+ acres of previously logged forest that has been left wild since 1984. There are 2 Forest Service roads that divide the area into three sections, but enough contiguous acreage to qualify still for wilderness status. Backpacker Magazine’s site has given it the distinction of “deepest solitude” within that Forest. We headed there just after Memorial Day.

wilderness map

wilderness:(1)  a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings (2) :  an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary)

We found a dispersed campsite across the road from the designated wilderness on the banks of Scott Lake. As we set up camp, we were greeted by two trumpeter swans on the lake, a raucous chorus of frogs and a host of mosquitoes. That night, we had a bit of rain. In the morning, a bald eagle perched high in a dead tree on the far side of the lake, illuminated by the rising eastern sun. Staring at him through my binoculars, I imagined him enjoying an aerial view like ones I’d seen in pictures of Alaska. Could I really be in the wilderness, finally? My rational brain convinced me of the disparities, but my romantic soul glowed. Even here, in Wisconsin, there can be solitude, common-union with nature, and a wild hope.

 

swans 2

“…in Wildness is the preservation of the World. Every tree sends its fibers forth in search of the Wild. The cities import it at any price. Men plow and sail for it. From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and barks which brace mankind…I believe in the forest, and in the meadow, and in the night in which the corn grows. We require an infusion of hemlock, spruce or arbor vitae in our tea…” Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” 1862

We found a hiking trail into the edge of the wilderness, marked by a series of white diamonds on the trees. The trail was maintained, after a fashion, but not with meticulous interference. I preferred it to those wide, paved “trails” in city parks where cyclists, boarders and baby strollers whiz by all weekend.

trail 2

The inevitable down side of climbing the wilderness mountain is returning to ‘civilization’, re-entering the spaces that humans have altered and asking a million critical questions about our involvement. Was this action necessary? Was this change beneficial and for whom? How is this decision going to effect this environment, this habitat, this life? How do I take responsibility when my ignorance is so vast? How do I do my best to learn and choose and be aware? What do I do when I see individuals or systems causing destruction?

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I learned the 4 pillars of Environmental Education while volunteering at a local Nature Center: Awareness, Appreciation, Attitude and Action. My experience in the wilderness took me on a journey past those milestones: being aware of the solitude, of the multitude of interconnected lives as well; being awed by the variety and majesty of all that I saw; feeling a deep desire to protect, to respect, and to serve Life; and finally, deciding to make changes and choices in my own life and lifestyle, to learn to embody the experience, not just as a vacation or a change from habit, but as a daily practice.

wilderness sunsetSteve & I are planning to attend the National Wilderness Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico this October. We are eager to explore the sacred space of our common ground, the Earth, with like-minded people who are also interested in fostering the understanding of our life in proximity with each other and with the life around us. I look forward to feeling the refreshment of wilderness in my soul and encountering new ways of expressing the spiritual aspect of this quality of life in art, morality and intellectual discourse.

 

Ben Jonson exclaims: ‘How near to good is what is fair!’ So I would say, How near to good is what is wild! Life consists with wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued to man, its presence refreshes him. One who pressed forward incessantly and never rested from his labors, who grew fast and made infinite demands on life, would always find himself in a new country or wilderness, and surrounded by the raw material of life. He would be climbing over the prostrate stems of primitive forest-trees. Hope and the future for me are not in lawns and cultivated fields, not in towns and cities, but in the impervious and quaking swamps.” Henry David Thoreau, “Walking” 1862

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© 2014, essay and photographs, Priscilla Galasso, All rights reserved

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004PRISCILLA GALASSO ~ started her blog at scillagrace.com to mark the beginning of her fiftieth year. Born to summer and given a name that means ‘ancient’, her travel through seasons of time and landscape has inspired her to create visual and verbal souvenirs of her journey. Currently living in Wisconsin, she considers herself a lifelong learner and educator. She works part time for a conservation foundation and runs a home business online (Scholar & Poet Books, via Amazon, eBay and ABE Books) with her partner, Steve.

The BeZine, Volume 2, Issue 1, Nov. 2015 (At-risk Youth)

15 November 2015

Welcome to our first issue that is focusing on at-risk youth. Our mission today in our topical section is to share stories and poems that cause us to think about youth in a different way. Who are at-risk youth? Where are they?

Often, they seem invisible to the world until they are splashed across the news in dramatic headlines. We can all remember the photos of dead children washing up on the seashore…refugees fleeing Syria. And in the US, just a few days ago, a young boy, age 8, killed a 1 year old. Why? Because he was the babysitter in charge and she would not stop crying. I am often appalled at the reactions we have to children with extreme behaviors. What skills do we expect an 8 year old to have?

Sigh.

And so, we, at The Bardo Group, have written of the children of the world that are marginalized and at-risk for a wide range of disasters. This is a special topic for me. I run the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition which provides chaplaincy and mentoring to incarcerated youth. I have included three pieces in this edition that are close to my heart. One, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. This poem is the first one I wrote in reaction to the stories I heard in detention. I wanted to put the parents, and God, on trial. And so I did. I wasn’t happy with the answer I received! And yet, it gave me so much hope. The second piece, an essay titled Mentoring At-Risk Youth, tells you a little more directly about who I am and what I do. Last, is the poem, A True Story. You may guess that it is a true event and you would be correct! It happened this year and it made me very angry.

St. Augustine says, ““Hope has two beautiful daughters – their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.”

Hope, anger and courage have driven me to move through the pain and challenge of working with these particular youth.

A small collection from people I work with that all explore what it is like to work with incarcerated youth. They are all new to the BeZine so let’s give them a resounding welcome! Justin Almeida offers an essay, Finding Life in Detention. Lisa Ashley, MDIV, has a poem, at risk youth, that names what is really at risk when you work with youth in detention—your heart is at risk!  And Natasha Burrowes drops the mic in Untitled.

Closely related to Natasha’s discussion of who is really at risk is Charles Martin’s, at risk… It is a great question. Who is really at risk when we allow our children to be the victims of poverty, crime, and other forces? Is it really just the child? Or is there something larger?

Incarcerated youth, across the board, have increased rates of trauma when compared to other youth. The ACES test (Adverse Childhood Experiences) scores incarcerated youth as having a 92 out of 100. I think I would be a bowl of jello if I had that high of a trauma score. Christina Conroy explores living through a traumatic childhood in her autobiographical poem, Legacy. Also writing autobiographically is Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria in Validating Myself. It made my heart grow two more sizes! Also cracking my heart is Jamie Dedes’ Heading Home autobiographical poem regarding suicide. Sometimes, I wish I knew what that special something is that manages to give children resiliency. Heart breaking. Or I wish I had a magic wand that would right the world’s wrongs.

Also writing from experience is Trace Lara Hentz’s essay, Angel Turned Inside. Lara was introduced to us by Team Member Michael Watson and is new to these pages. Her essay explores the tragedy that was the movement westward in the US and the use of adoption as a weapon against American Indians and First Nations. I am aware of this tragic history because of my knowledge of church history which is horrifyingly replete with church support of taking children from their families and putting them into orphanages.

Knife Notes—a Poem, from Michael Dickel, explores the relationship between the past and the future for Joe. I am especially moved by the truthful reflection of how kids who are hurting treat each other.

“It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.” That is a quote from Washington state’s constitution. Unfortunately, we simply fail our children. John Antsie’s article, Education, Common Sense … and The Future, explores two simple things regarding education-one thing to change and one thing to hope for.

One thing that the youth I work with almost unanimously face is addiction issues. Jamie Dedespiece, scag dancing, explores in vivid, concise imagery the relationship between addiction and poverty.

With “Thinking Continually of Those at Risk,” by Priscilla Galasso, you will be surprised at where she starts and where she finishes! She speaks a truth that resonates, “We can so easily provide food, shelter, and opportunity to our youth with the systems we have devised, but those systems have become mine fields where kids are sabotaged on the journey.”

Sometimes we attempt to sabotage journeys with needless judgment regarding what makes a real parent. John Nooney explores his experience of adoption and the sometimes senseless absorption of people asking, “Have you found your birth-mother?” in his essay, Some Thoughts on Adoption.

In my research of how to interrupt the school to prison pipeline, I have found two interesting statistics. One, children who miss 24+ days of Pre-K or Kindergarten are more likely to become incarcerated. And two, children who personally own five books of their own have better life outcomes than those who do not. I have also recently run across an article pointing towards the importance of librarians in achievement for children. Corina Ravenscraft points out the importance of libraries in These Hallowed Halls of Hope.” Libraries are, indeed, an oasis of peace in a concrete jungle.

One thing is trite but true, it does indeed, take a village to raise our children.

Thank you for moving through my rambling reflections with me. I hope that your heart is moved to consider how we support and work with those who are at-risk.

Shalom & Amen!
Terri Stewart

Theme: At-Risk Youth

Lead Features

Eli Eli Lama Sabachthani, Terri Stewart
Untitled, Natasha Burrowes
Validating Myself, Kimberly Wilhelmina Floria
At-risk, Charles W. Martin

Poetry

Legacy, Christina Conroy
At-risk Youth, Lisa Ashley, MDIV
A True Story, Terri Stewart
Heading Home, Jamie Dedes
Knife Notes—a poem, Michael Dickel
scag dancing, Jamie Dedes

Essays/Features

Mentoring At-Risk Youth, Terri Stewart
Finding Life in Detention, Justin Almeida
Education, Common Sense … and The Future, John Antsie
These Hallowed Halls of Hope, Corina Ravenscraft
Thinking Continually of Those at Risk, Priscilla Galasso
A Teenager Who Fled Syria, NPR and World Vision
Rapid Re-Housing Best Available Crisis Intervention for Homeless Families and Youth, National Alliance to End Homelessness

Special Features: Adoption

November is National Adoption Month in the United States

Some Thoughts on Adoption and “real” parents v adoptive parents, John Nooney
Angel Turned Inside, The Fight for Native American Families, Trace Lara Hentz

General Interest

Poetry

How Can I Justify My Life If I Do Not Justify His Own?, K. A. Bryce
Second Light Network of Women Poets: Celebrating Anothologies of Women’s Poety, Jamie Dedes

Photo Essay

Some Early Seasonal Cheer, Corina Ravenscraft

Photo Story

The Secret Object I Keep Hidden in My Underwear Drawer, Naomi Baltick

Essays

Deportment for the Soul, Sue Vincent

paint-prints-of-youths-hands

BIOS WITH LINKS TO OTHER WORKS BY OUR CORE TEAM AND GUEST WRITERS

FOR UPDATES AND INSPIRATION “LIKE” OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, THE BARDO GROUP/BEGUINE AGAIN

MISSION STATEMENT

Back Issues Archive
October/November 2014, First Issue
December 2014, Preparation
January 2015, The Divine Feminine
February 2015, Abundance/Lack of Abundance
March 2015, Renewal
April 2015, interNational Poetry Month
May 2015, Storytelling
June 2015, Diversity
July 2015, Imagination and the Critical Spirit
August 2015, Music
September 2015, Poverty (100TPC)
100,000 Poets for Change, 2015 Event
October 2015, Visual Arts (First Anniversary Issue)

Climate Care as Spiritual Practice

Editorial Note:  With this piece by Terri Stewart (Cloaked Monk) we announce our focus for 100,000 Poets (and others) for Change 2016, environment and environmental justice. We continue our Facebook group discussion page. Let us know if you would like to be included in that.

Terri is also the lead for the upcoming November issue of The BeZine. The theme for that zine issue, which will publish on the 15th of November, is at-risk youth. 

******

Caring for all that is can be an overwhelming job! If I think of the things within my control and trying to do the best I can, maybe I can do it in bite-size chunks. After all, I will never be able to invent some magical thing that converts pollution to life-giving energy. But I can compost!

Call on the animals to teach you; the birds that sail through the air are not afraid to tell you the truth. Engage the earth in conversation; it’s happy to share what it knows. Even the fish of the sea are wise enough to explain it to you. In fact, which part of creation isn’t aware, which doesn’t know the Eternal’s hand has done this? His hand cradles the life of every creature on the face of the earth; His breath fills the nostrils of humans everywhere. Job 12:7-10, The Voice-A Storyteller’s Bible

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Climate-care, earth-care, creation-care, creature-care, caring is a deeply spiritual practice. How we approach the other starts with our interior orientation. If we practice expansive spirituality, we will be filled with gratitude, mindfulness, and joy. If not, we will be led to a diminished experience.

I wonder how we could reconnect, simply, through ritual, to creation? Perhaps a mini-ritual?

1. Set your sacred space

What are you trying to connect to? Earth? Cosmos? Stars? Bunnies? Create an easy environment where you can let your gaze gently rest on a photo, object, or even the real thing!

2. Set your intention

What do you need at this moment? For example, “I am here to connect to the earth in a way that honors the createdness of us all.”

3. The body of the ritual

Combining your intention with a ritualized act. For example, if you were sitting outside on a lawn chair, offering honor to the cosmos during the day, you could gradually look around honoring each creation you see. “Blades of grass, I honor you. Cedar trees, I honor you. Beloved cat, I honor you!”

4. Closing ritual

A signifier that it is finished. Perhaps, if you were outside in the grass, you could bring a handful of grass seeds to add to the growth. Then you could sprinkle the grass seeds in all directions, offering life. 

Be creative! This framework for ritual was created by my friend, Deborah Globus. Her avatar is LaPadre. She’s awesome!

Shalom and Amen!

Terri Stewart

by Terri Stewart

© 2014, words and illustration, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

terrisignoffblog

The BeZine, 15, Oct. 2015, Vol. 1, Issue 12, First Anniversary Edition, Table of Contents with Links

15 October 2015

Time does indeed fly and – almost unbelievably –  here we are publishing our first anniversary edition.  It’s been a lot of fun collaborating, batting around ideas, connecting with new contributors and producing a rather remarkable body of work over the course of the last twelve months.

Safe to say we are all grateful to be able to make a contribution – modest as it may be – to peace and understanding.  We are grateful too for the readers who make this work worthwhile. We’re especially grateful to those readers who participated in 100,000 Poets for Change (100TPC) this year.  Thank you! More on that soon.  Meanwhile … for our anniversary issue, the theme is Visual Arts: Shape, Color, Movement and Meaning …

The American graphic designer, Milton Glaser, has said that art is “terribly important” as a survival mechanism, as a means of cultural survival. Good art, he says, “makes us attentive.”  It inspires us to re-engage with what we think something or some circumstance is and see it for what it truly is. It seems our poets have decided to comment on art by using it as inspiration for poetry. Not surprising that. In the light of Glaser’s words, I think this “appropriation” of art for poetry helps to make an even stronger statement of culture and values and moves us closer to the truing of our vision.  “Why ask art into life at all,” asks poet Jane Hirschfeld, “if not to be transformed and enlarged by its presence and mysterious means?”

And so this month we present diverse works of art largely commented upon in poem – ekphrastic or otherwise – or used as a jumping off point and moved into new directions. In some cases the art is the poet’s own photographs or digital art.

New to our pages this month is professional photographer Donatella D’Angello with a set of poems in both Italian and English (translations in collaboration with Michael Dickel) as well as with her photographs, which inspired the poet in Michael.  Our wonderful cover photo (the header) is courtesy of Donatella.  You can enjoy more of her work HERE. Michael tells me “the photos are as shot in the camera. She borrows techniques the Futurists used for motion-studies of long exposures (and subdued lighting, often) and moves into and within the frame (or has her subjects move, but I used all self-portraits in the post).”

Italy stars in three pieces. Two are by Michael Watson who shares photographs and meditations from a trip to Italy. The third is a piece by Michael Dickel on his trip to Salerno this past June for the 100TPC summit.

We are also pleased to introduce Professor Aprilia Zank.  Aprilia is a photographer, poet and literature professor who coordinated the National Beat Festival in Munich this year. We hope to share more of her work here in the future.

We start with the graphics produced around the world to promote 100TPC and move on to Priscilla Galasso’s “Art, Time and Love,” which is as thoughtful and characteristically provocative as her work always is.  You’ll find two of Naomi Baltuck’s wonderful photo-stories, artwork by Corina Ravenscraft, and a flash fiction piece by Liliana Negoi … All alongside the aforementioned wealth of poems. Enjoy … Let us know what you think.

On behalf of The Bardo Group and Beguine Again and in the spirit of peace and community,

Jamie Dedes

THEME

VISUAL ARTS: SHAPE, COLOR, MOVEMENT, MEANING

Design Art: 100TPC Posters

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Posters are followed by some photographs of Mimes for Change in Egypt and then Michael Rothenberg’s flag to welcome refugees. (These are not the same posters that we displayed in a slideshow on the blog.)

Lead Features

Art, Time and Love, Priscilla Galasso
~ A Dragon’s Day ~, Corina Ravenscraft
An Autumn Photo from Spring, Michael Dickel
Salerno Like a Painting, Michael Dickel
Regretting Its Death by Drowning, Jamie Dedes

Fiction

bonds, Liliana Negoi

Poetry

Parallel Worlds, John Anstie
Decline, John Anstie
Battle Horse, John Anstie
Three Poems (Italian and English), Donatella D’Angello (translations with Michael Dickel)
her power leaps, Jamie Dedes
Cassandra, Jamie Dedes
A dream walker hands you the door, Michael Dickel
White Angel Feathers, Michael Dickel (with photographs by Donatella D’Angello
Framed, Joseph Hesch
Fields of Lavender, Joseph Hesch
a beautiful enigma, Charles W. Martin
war’s cold night, Charles W. Martin
Not That I Really Know, Charles W. Martin

GENERAL INTEREST

Essay

the land remembers, Michael Watson
Cinque Terra, Michael Watson

Photo-Story

Two Subjects (and one important thing to remember), Naomi Baltuck
Turning Night into Day, Naomi Baltuck

Special Feature

Imagine the Beats (Readings, Photography, Music), Munich, German, Aprilia Zank

BIOS WITH LINKS TO OTHER WORKS BY OUR CORE TEAM AND GUEST WRITERS

FOR UPDATES AND INSPIRATION “LIKE” OUR FACEBOOK PAGE, THE BARDO GROUP/BEGUINE AGAIN

MISSION STATEMENT

Back Issues Archive
October/November 2014, First Issue
December 2014, Preparation
January 2015, The Divine Feminine
February 2015, Abundance/Lack of Abundance
March 2015, Renewal
April 2015, interNational Poetry Month
May 2015, Storytelling
June 2015, Diversity
July 2015, Imagination and the Critical Spirit
August 2015, Music
September 2015, Poverty (100TPC)
100,000 Poets for Change, 2015 Event