The Language & Literature of Restoration

This essay is very hard to write.  I have been struggling to find the words for a year.  Over these months, it has sometimes seemed impossible to write about a new literature in an old language that is not serving us.  The task before us is critical.  There are questions to be addressed.  I don’t know how to do this.  Whatever I write, it will only be a beginning. Quest with me.  As always, we have to do this together. I don’t want to blame the language for my failures, but the difficulties with the English language are what I am writing about.  I want to see if language and literature can be peacemakers.  English is a combative language, which objectifies and separates. War, battle, conflict, competition, individualism, self-interest, materialism,...

Called Together: Vision Councils

Called Together: Vision Councils with Deena Metzger and Nora Jamieson April 17 – 19, 2020 We have met together for many years developing skills of deep listening to the spirits, to story and the natural world and of creating language to describe and create a livable world.  We met together because we feared that beauty and wisdom were under attack and we were called to protect and sustain them. And now our worst fears are coming true – we are living in the future that we hoped, believed would never come to be. The time of deep grief and loss has come. Each day, we read about the horrific suffering of human beings, migrants and refugees, the hunted and imprisoned, the homeless and the hungry.  Also the intolerable pain and devastation of the natural world,...

Published Works

“To be a poet is a way of being in the world. It is a way of seeing and of attending the reality which otherwise disappears behind the proverbial curtain. When I am fortunate enough to be one with my poet self, it is like living in the Sabbath when, we are told, we are given a second soul. The act of living as a poet is primary, the writing is secondary, that is, part of, but not the entirety, of the poetic process. I am drawn to write the poem, now as much as ever, if not more so, as a way of making the invisible world, the most real world, manifest. If that world were to disappear, then everything I value, love and understand would go with it.”   – Deena Metzger, West Word 2, Winter/Spring 1990. Books A Rain of Night Birds (novel) La Negra y...

Letter 5

Dear Friends: April 4, 1999 Fifth Call Council of Elders Sitting in Council in Zimbabwe and Finding Hope I am beginning to write this letter on Easter Sunday in the midst of the Festival of Pesach in which we are enjoined to remember the difficult passage through Mitzraim, the ‘narrow place,’ toward freedom as if we are going through that passage ourselves. Even as I write these words, NATO is bombing Belgrade. I am assuming that the questions in my mind are similar to the question in your minds: Will things change and how? How long can such wars continue? What are our individual responsibilities? What is our [unconscious] individual participation in the seeming inevitability of violence? Will we ever truly govern ourselves according to answers to...

Bio

Deena Metzger was born in Brighton Beach in 1936, then lived in Sea Gate, and went to school in Coney Island; Brooklyn is a fine start for a writer. Her father, Arnold Posy was a Yiddish writer and he and her mother, Bella Posy, were deeply involved in a rich and committed Yiddish cultural and spiritual life. As a child, she believed walking would teach her how to be a poet and so she circled the neighborhood, from the beach to the bay, each night, until she moved to Los Angeles in 1957 where she continued walking along the ocean and then beginning 1981, in Topanga State Park and its environs. Her walking practice became the ground for her poetry series, “Walking with Neruda.” Her life has been divided between a call to solitude and the need to build...

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