Pattiann Rogers Interview

Most of us, I would venture to say, have at some time or other had a feeling that something was present beyond our traditional senses, something without a name, not specific nor particular, but thoroughly present in a manner inexplicable, very near and very far away, beyond our current ability to explain. ~Pattiann Rogers

Pattiann Rogers is most recently the recipient of the John Burroughs Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Nature Poetry, “in recognition of the power and permanence of Rogers’ entire body of work.”  Her first book was The Expectations of Light, published in 1981.  Since then, Pattiann Rogers has published 15 other books and received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Rockefeller Foundation residency.

Pattiann Rogers has been called a nature poet, a theological poet, an environment poet, and a spiritual poet.  As you’ll see in our interview, she’s really a poet of existence, and the grand paradoxes of a God who refuses to reveal itself, yet whose presence is felt everywhere.  She’s equally at home in the celebration and the examination of life, and that is reflected in her poetry which is at turns both ecstatic and probing.

This interview begins with Pattiann Rogers reading several of her poems specifically chosen for listeners of the Journals of Spiritual Discovery podcast.

Pattiann Rogers


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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Selected Links and Notes from this Episode:

  • Poems read by Pattiann Rogers in this episode: “Achieving Perspective,” “In Addition to Faith, Hope, and Charity,” “Being Accomplished,” “The Background Beyond the Background,” “The Greatest Grandeur,” “Address: The Archaeans, One Cell Creatures,” “Hail, Spirit,” “The Consequences of Death,” “The Possible Suffering of a God During Creation,” “Goddamn Theology,” and “Inside God’s Eye.”
  • “I hear and behold god in every object, yet understand him not in the least.” – Walt Whitman [0:15]
  • Part of confronting the mystery of life is questioning. [14:30]
  • “I wouldn’t be a poet if I didn’t have a few poems about death.” [24:18]
  • The work of poetry as spiritual practice. [40:00]
  • The Dream of the Marsh Wren: Writing As Reciprocal Creation by Pattiann Rogers
  • “When I write poetry I’m singing, when I write prose I’m talking and there’s all the difference in the world in how you can you the language to make the music you need.  And sometimes the music itself can direct you to the words you need.”  [41:20]
  • Paying attention to how the body reacts to the placement of words [42:28]
  • “Keats said, ‘the poetry of earth is ceasing never,’ and that’s the music of it I think, and I’ve wanted to express that music.” [50:45]
  • “One of the goals of poetry in to expand the use of the language.” [53:50]
  • “The best poetry opens avenues of thought… and make our perceptions and insights deeper than before.” [54:18]
  • The Jerry Wennstrom Interview [1:03:00]
  • “The major fault I find with writers – poets – is they don’t understand how hard the work is.” [1:06:45]
  • On yearning for criticism. [1:10:36]
  • Pattiann Rogers recommends these two books for a selection of her work: Song of the World Becoming and Firekeeper: Selected Poems, revised and expanded .  She also recommend Holy Heathen Rhapsody as a shorter introduction to her work.

For more about Pattiann Rogers, read these two in-depth interviews:

Many Edges to Explore at Terrain.org

The Iowa Review interview with Pattiann Rogers

And visit her personal page here at SpiritualTeachers.org.

Spiritual Poetry

To have great poets, there must be great audiences, too. ~Walt Whitman

Which quote means to say, thank you, to all of you reading and listening to this site.  This month’s podcast is a mini-episode featuring readings of some of my favorite spiritual poetry. For much of my life, I was a person with only a mild appreciation of poetry, such as a few classics by Robert Frost. It wasn’t until I began writing as a spiritual practice, that poetry-like phrases began to appear, as if from nowhere.  Since then, I’ve found a deep appreciation for the creative wellspring from which universal ideas emerge and are uniquely expressed by many voices.  It’s not hard to find well-crafted poetry, but it is hard to find what I call “spiritual poetry” – that which speaks from the source of our being.

 


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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Selected Links and Notes from this Episode

Jerry Wennstrom Interview

Anything we do with our heart and soul becomes a spiritual endeavor, in spite of ourselves. ~Jerry Wennstrom

One of the striking features of my interview with Jerry Wennstrom is it felt we were in the same room even though we were hundreds of miles apart.  There is a sort of innocent intensity about him that charged our entire conversation. He’s at once at ease, yet serious, seemingly going with the flow, yet very precise.

Jerry Wennstrom is an artist, not a spiritual teacher, yet he is obviously a spiritual teacher.  Everyone is a teacher, he says.


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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Selected Links and Notes from this Episode

  • As promised, here is the link to the day-long event with Bob Fergeson and Tess Hughes that I mentioned in the podcast: www.tatcouk.wordpress.com.
  • “It is in the defeat that the work really begins.” [4:36]
  •  “The gods whisper before they scream.” [7:00]
  • “The core of creation is to inhabit the void and to be so available that reality unfolds and you are a willing participant.” [8:25]
  • What is true individuality? [12:15]
  • Can we practice surrender? [13:28]
  • “Death isn’t death, it’s just our idea of what we would be without our identity.” [16:20]
  • Jerry Wennstrom’s book is The Inspired Heart. [20:00]
  • The difference between discipline and the fierce determination to be with exactly what is. [24:11]
  • “If I can be present enough with another human being, it’s always miraculous what comes out of it.” [24:25]
  • Creativity is not just making things.  It could also be a creative leap in a conversation, or a leap in being present with someone.  [28:29]
  • “If you look at somebody who is running from their pain, that is someone who can’t hold their discomfort.” This is why we have addictions. [35:10]
  • “You don’t control the outcome, or what you want.  You control yourself enough to stay out of the way of what’s wanting to come through.” [36:10]
  • Suicide and the transformational potential. [37:28]
  • “If we just do what we do halfheartedly, then we become a halfhearted human being.” [56:38]
  • Is there a shortcut to enlightenment? [57:20]
  • Books: A Course in Miracles, Lao Tzu, Yogananda, Memories, Dreams, Reflections.[1:05:50]
  • “If we try to copy somebody else’s way, it won’t work for us, but what we can see is the courage it took for others to follow their path.”  [1:06:45]
  • Recommended film: Paris, Texas. [1:08:55]


Norio Kushi Interview

“I’m not a teacher,” says Norio Kushi, “I’m not someone who knows something you don’t know.  Just look for yourself and see what you see.”

Norio KushiThough Norio Kushi says he is not a spiritual teacher, the story of his spiritual awakening is a fascinating one, and his advice in light of that awakening is worth considering.  Thankfully lacking in nonduality jargon, this interview with Norio is both entertaining and inspiring.  His is a remarkable story of discovery.


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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Selected Links and Notes from this Episode

  • Norio’s father was Michio Kushi, who popularized the macrobiotic diet in the United States.  Norio’s mother, Aveline Kushi, founded the first natural foods store in the U.S. in 1966 in Boston, and was the first person to use the term “organic” in selling produce.  [2:57]
  • When Norio was five, his mother told him to always trust his feelings as that’s what would guide him through life. [3:53]
  • Everything we think we are has been programmed into us. [9:23]
  • The difference between feeling and emotion. [11:09]
  • Doing EST training. [32:33]
  • The recognition that “life is not going to turn out.” [33:23]
  • “We’re programmed to life for a future… and this future is a fiction…. [36:53]
  • Getting hit by “a cosmic 2 x 4.” [1:08:40]
  • The gate beyond the silence. [1:17:30]
  • Norio gives his email address and welcomes people to contact him. [1:38:26]
  • Norio Kushi on Buddha at the Gas Pump. [1:39:14]
  • Demystifyenlightenment.org is Norio Kushi’s website, though it is currently not updated.
  • If you enjoy the podcast leave a dollar in the tip jar, or buy a gift from CorazonGifts.  Either form of support is greatly appreciated.

Jan Frazier Interview

jan frazierJan Frazier is a spiritual teacher and author of When Fear Falls Away and The Great Sweetening, among other books.  In our interview, I found Jan’s emphasis on allowing and unfolding a nice counterpoint to my usual drive to find practices and tools to speed up the spiritual search.  I hope you find this Jan Frazier interview interesting, as well.


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    QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

    Selected Links and Notes from this Episode

    • The beginnings of Jan Frazier’s conscious spiritual search in her 30s. [4:18]
    • On not thinking that awakening was possible for her. [6:08]
    • Jan’s teacher for many years, Gurumayi. [12:00]
    • The primary environment in which so-called spiritual progress is actually made is in not-knowing. [23:00]
    • Advice on handling negative emotions. [35:04]
    • Advice for getting more in tune with being in the body. [46:10]
    • Attention, consciousness, and awareness. [52:57]
    • Awareness of awareness. [57:54]
    • Sam Harris’ book Waking Up. [1:00:55]
    • “We can’t make ourselves not be reactive. All we can do is see ourselves being reactive.” [1:06:55]
    • Earnestness and the spiritual path. [1:10:20]
    • Our willingness to sacrifice or suffer anything without conditions enhances the ability of life to teach us. [1:11:30]
    • On being stuck on the path. [1:15:20]
    • After our interview, Jan mentioned that Nisargadatta Maharaj‘s I Am That is another book that she loves. [1:17:30]
    • Films that make the viewer feel very still, such as Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … And Spring [1:18:15]
    • The consciousness of a cat…. [1:22:20]
    • Jan Frazier’s website is janfrazierteachings.com
    • If you enjoy the podcast leave a dollar in the tip jar, or buy a gift from CorazonGifts.  Either form of support will be greatly appreciated.