Sunday, May 24, 2015

BCP 2011: Pentecost and Quotation of the Week

Re-post from the Archives with a couple of additions....

Today marks the final holy day of Eastertide which lasts for fifty days, from Easter Sunday through Pentecost...yes, that's today.

We read about the events of Pentecost in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles:
"When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance."

Peter then gives a sermon on Pentecost, declaring Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, and telling his listeners:
"Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified."

The people respond in horror as they were "cut to the heart," and they beg Peter, "What shall we do?' Peter replies,
"Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."  

Remember, Peter's speech occurs within a mere two months since Jesus' death and resurrection, and the people finally realize what they have done: they have helped to condemn not only an innocent man but also the Son of God.

The Collect for Pentecost from the Book of Common Prayer 2011 reads:

PENTECOST This Collect is prayed daily until Trinity Sunday
O GOD, you teach the hearts of your faithful people by sending us the light of your Holy Spirit; By your Spirit, give us right judgment in all things, so that we may rejoice forever in his holy comfort; Through the victory of Christ Jesus our Savior, who lives and rules with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (Ref: John 14.26; Acts 2.1-4; Philippians 1.9-10; Acts 9.31)

       Acts 2.1-11, John 14.15-31a, Psalm 68.1-10; 
       Romans 8.14-17, 22-27        

As I thumbed through my decade of quotations in my Quotation Journal, I came across this gem about living our lives for Christ:
"But those who have the wind of the Holy Spirit sail even while they sleep."
--Brother Lawrence,  The Practice of the Presence of God

So let us sail forth in the Spirit of our Lord Christ, ready to love as Christ loves as we go about our daily lives in His Holy Presence.

Wishing you a blessed Pentecost,

Sunday, May 17, 2015

BCP 2011: Sunday After Ascension

Praying through the Book of Common Prayer 2011 at my desk....

Thursday was Ascension Day, exactly forty days after the Resurrection of Christ. Although I was unable to attend the Ascension Celebration on Thursday evening, Father Acker and I celebrated again on Friday morning at Blessed Trinity's Morning Prayer & Holy Communion with Healing Service. 

Thus, today is the Sixth Sunday After Easter, or the Sunday After Ascension Day, and here are the Propers (prayer and Scriptures) for today. The Collect is to be prayed daily throughout the week, and the Lectionary in the Book of Common Prayer 2011 lays out the Scriptures to be read for each day of the week from the Old Testament and the New Testament for Morning Prayer, and from the Old and New Testaments for Evening Prayer as well.


O GOD, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son, Jesus Christ, with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven; Leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen and exalt us to the place where our Savior Christ has gone before us; Who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (References: Psalm 47.5-8; Philippians 2.9-11; John 14.16-18; 1 Peter 3.22)

1 Peter 4.7-11; John 15.26-16.4; Psalm 27.1-11; Psalm 47.5-9; Acts 18.24-19.12

As I'm in the midst of grading final MLA research essays for my Expository Essay course at our homeschool co-op Class Day and am starting to teach a new Literary Analysis class online at Brave Writer tomorrow on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, I don't have time to share more than this today...except for a quotation from the Saint of the Day e-mail from

"Meditate well on this: Seek God above all things. It is right for you to seek God before and above everything else, because the majesty of God wishes you to receive what you ask for. This will also make you more ready to serve God and will enable you to love him more perfectly."  
~Saint Paschal Baylon (1540-1592)

Wishing you all a blessed and holy week as we journey toward Pentecost and the arrival of the Holy Spirit!

Soli Deo Gloria,

Sunday, May 10, 2015

BCP 2011: Fifth Sunday After Easter, Ascension, & Rogation Sunday

Icon depicting Christ's Ascension into Heaven

Today is the Fifth Sunday After Easter, and Ascensiontide begins on Ascension Day is this coming Thursday.

Ascension Day is described in the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles when Jesus ascends to the right hand of the Father forty days after His Resurrection. It lasts for ten days...until Pentecost, fifty days after Easter, when the Holy Spirit descends upon the followers of Christ.

Here is the description of Christ's Ascension from Acts 1: 1-11, ESV:

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Today is also Rogation Sunday. Only having a vague idea of the term myself, I Googled it and found this clear and concise explanation on the website of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Ivy, Virginia:

Rogation Sunday is the day when the Church has traditionally offered prayer for God’s blessings on the fruits of the earth and the labors of those who produce our food. The word “rogation” is from the Latin rogare, “to ask.” Historically, the Rogation Days (the three days before Ascension Day) were a period of fasting and abstinence, beseeching God’s blessing on the crops for a bountiful harvest. Few of us today directly derive our livelihood from the production of food, yet it is good to be reminded of our dependence upon those who do and our responsibility for the environment.  

Book of Common Prayer 2011

Here are the Propers for today, Sunday, May 10, from The Book of Common Prayer 2011:

O LORD, from you all good things come; Grant to us, by your holy inspiration, to think of good things and then accomplish them by your merciful guidance; Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: James 1.17; John 15.5; 2 Corinthians 3.5; Philippians 1.6)
James 1.22-27; John 16.23-33; Psalm 107.1-9; Psalm 66.15-end; Acts 16.25-34

May God bless you with a joyous Mother's Day, a blessed Rogation Sunday in which God provides for our needs, and the coming Ascensiontide!

In His peace,

Sunday, May 3, 2015

BCP 2011: Fourth Sunday After Easter

Reading from my old 1928 Book of Common Prayer,the standard for many conservative Anglican parishes in the US (and still a longtime favorite because of the early Modern English Scriptures from the Great Bible of 1540) 

As I mentioned last week, I've decided to post a little about what being a liturgically-minded Christian is like, along with the weekly Collects and Readings from The Book of Common Prayer 2011 which I helped to edit. I'm so pleased that we're in our second printing of this BCP, and we've had at least as many evangelicals ordering copies for private worship as Anglicans (although there are several parishes that are using the BCP 2011 as the basis for their Sunday worship services).

For me, using the BCP 2011 in my private worship means that I follow the Lectionary at the beginning of the book. A Lectionary (from the Latin lectio, to read) is simply that: a schedule of Scripture readings for every day of the Christian Year. Basically, there are three sections of the Christian Year: those holy days centered around the birth of Christ which includes Advent, Christmastide, and Epiphanytide; those holy days centered around the death and resurrections of Christ (Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide, Pentecost); and then Ordinary Time which starts with Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost, and lasts until the last day before Advent restarts the Christian Year. However, the term "Ordinary" Time doesn't mean that everything is boring and ho-hum; it refers to the Ordinal, or counted weeks (first, second, third, fourth, etc.) after Trinity Sunday and are counted as The First Sunday After Trinity, The Second Sunday After Trinity, etc.

As The Book of Common Prayer 2011 states that the inclusion of the Lectionary in the various Books of Common Prayer is for "the goal of reading all of Scripture during the course of one year, of over two years in a few cases." The Lectionary in the BCP 2011 includes the reading of all of the Scriptures over the course of one year with two readings for Morning Prayer and two readings for Evening Prayer. The Psalms are read separately in the Psalter (which I plan to discuss in an upcoming post).

So as each Sunday has its Collect and Readings (see the previous post), so the Lectionary lists Bible readings related to that time in the Christian Year for each week. For example, in this Fourth Sunday After Easter, we have readings set up,morning and evening, for Monday through Saturday after this Fourth Sunday: for Morning Prayer we're reading from Numbers 16-21 in the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, we're finishing Ephesians and starting Hebrews. For Evening Prayer this week, we're reading from Isaiah 55-60 in the Old Testament, and a variety of verses from Philippians, 2 Corinthians, Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Revelation from the New Testament.  

Here are the Propers (the Collects and Scripture Readings) for today, the Fourth Sunday After Easter:


ALMIGHTY God, who alone can bring order to our unruly wills and passions; Grant that we may love what you command and desire what you promise, so that in the many changes and chances of this world, our hearts may be centered where true joys are to be found; Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen. (References: Philippians 1.9-11; 1 Corinthians 7.31; Hebrews 6.18-20)

James 1.17-21; John 6.5-15; Psalm 98.1-4; Psalm 118.15-18; Acts 4.31-35


Wishing you a blessed week in the love and grace of our Lord,

Sunday, April 26, 2015

BCP 2011: Third Sunday After Easter

Book of Common Prayer 2011
First printing of the Book of Common Prayer 2011; we are now on the second printing with red covers. 

As one of the editors of the Book of Common Prayer 2011, I am quite attached to it and have been using it as a private and family devotional even before it was officially in print. Plus, Father Acker (the author/translator of the Book of Common Prayer 2011) and I use it for corporate worship at the Friday Healing Services at Blessed Trinity.

For the past few years, I have been posting the Collect for each week from the Book of Common Prayer 2011 here in the sidebar of my blog and also on the Book of Common Prayer 2011 Facebook page. I thought I'd also take a moment and post each week's prayer here in the blog itself and explain a little about what a Collect is and how it is used in the Anglican tradition.

The History of the BCP
The Book of Common Prayer came out of the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church under King Henry VIII. Many people believe that this separation marks the beginning of the Church of England, but that fact may not be the case.

A number of Anglicans believe that it is quite possible that Joseph of Arimathea, the man who asked Pilate for Jesus' body and buried it in his own tomb, was a merchant who traveled by sea to many ports, including those along the southern coast of England. It is rumored that Joseph shared the Gospel with his trade partners in coastal towns as early as 37 AD, fewer than five years after Christ's death and resurrection, and helped start a few rudimentary churches. If this  story is true (and there seems to be slight proof to support it), then the Gospel reached England and gained a toehold in the British Isles before even the Church in Rome was established. I found a reference in Wikipedia which states, "Alford also asserts that 'It is perfectly certain that, before St Paul had come to Rome, Aristobulus was away in Britain.' This is in accord with the date given by Gildas the Wise (425–512 AD) that the 'Light of Christ' shone in Britain in the last year of Emperor Tiberias (37 AD)."

The English Church, even under the authority of the Catholic Church based in Rome, did its own thing more often than not due to the distance from Rome to Britain. So it was not surprising that the Church of England was established during the Protestant Reformation as the Catholic Church in England was always rather independent of Roman authority.

In 1549, Thomas Cranmer, the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote the first Book of Common Prayer. As the Preface to the Book of Common Prayer 2011 states, "The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) is not jusy a collection of prayers or liturgies but rather represents the life and worship of God's people. Thomas Cranmer crafted the first BCP (1549) as a single volume incorporating not only English Sarum usage but also current reformed, ancient Gallican, and Eastern Rite liturgies. Cranmer simplified, shortened, and used language that was readily understood not only by the clergy but also by the whole fellowship." The Preface continues, "Holy Scripture gives voice to our language of prayer and is integral to the BCP tradition. The texts and rites are intentionally scriptural."

What's a Collect?
The Preface to the BCP 2011 informs us, "Each Sunday in the Christian Year has a theme about living in relationship with a holy God and with one another. This theme is found in the Propers for that Sunday which consist of a prayer [called a Collect] and two or more readings from Scripture....During the week, we continue to pray the prayer and to apply the lessons [the readings from Scripture] from our Sunday gatherings as we go about our daily life. We read additional portions of Scripture in a planned sequence of readings [called the Lectionary] so that we may hear all of God's Word, not just the highlights."

So here is the Collect for this week and the Sunday Bible readings:


ALMIGHTY God, you show the light of your truth to those in error so that they might return to the path of righteousness; May all who are admitted into the fellowship of Christ reject everything contrary to the Faith, and follow everything consistent with the same; Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and rules with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (References: 1 Peter 3.10-11; Ephesians 5.13-15; 2 Peter 1.5-8)

1 Peter 2.11-17; John 16.16-22; Psalm 66.1-8; Acts 3.1-13

I wish you all a blessed week as Eastertide continues until Pentecost, fifty days after Easter.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Good Friday Stations of the Cross

Stations of the Cross at Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Alpine

I spent Good Friday noon at Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Alpine, gathering with at least a hundred Christians to walk The Ecumenical Biblical Stations of the Cross. This event is hosted by the Alpine Ministerial Association and  involves Catholics and Protestants walking the 14 Stations of the Cross, the pastors of the various churches taking turns at reading the Passion story from the Scriptures as we listen and look out between the ten-foot tall natural wood crosses to see Alpine nestled below us, gauzy in the noon glare.

One of the pastors from Alpine Community Church reads the Scriptures to the assembled "pilgrims"; umbrellas give some of the elderly a break from the heat of the noon sunshine.

As the 100+ pilgrims nudge forward to the next cross, Father Acker of Blessed Trinity, the Anglican Church where I've been attending Friday morning healing services for the past nine years, leads us, playing his acoustic guitar, in a chorus of "Were You There?" that is related to the Scripture just read.

The Biblical Readings: The Way of the Cross:

Opening Prayer: Almighty God, your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross so that He might draw the whole world to Himself. Grant that we, who glory in this death for our salvation, may also glory in His call to take up our crosses and follow Him; Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Station 1: Jesus Prays on the Mount of Olives -- Matthew 22:39-45
Station 2: Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus -- Matthew 26:47-56
Station 3: Jesus Before the Council -- Mark 14:60-65
Station 4: "My Kingdom Is Not of this World" -- John 18:33-37
Station 5: Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified  -- Mark 15:6-15
Station 6: Jesus Delivered to Be Crucified -- John 19:2-6
Station 7: Jesus Bears the Cross -- John 19:14-17
Station 8: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross -- Mark 15:20-21
Station 9: Jesus Speaks to the Women -- Luke 23:27-31
Station 10: The Crucifixion -- Luke 23:32-38
Station 11: The Criminals Speak to Jesus -- Luke 23:39-43
Station 12: Jesus Speaks to Mary and John --John 19:25-27
Station 13: The Death of Jesus -- John 19:28-34
Station 14: Jesus Is Buried -- John 19:38-42

Guitar in hand, Father Acker of Blessed Trinity reads the Scripture for the Eighth Station: Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross (Mark 15:20-21)

Perspiration trickles down the back of my neck, and I try to shade my eyes with my folded program stating the Fourteen Stations and the Scriptures to be read at each Station. As we near the end, a kind woman tilts her umbrella to offer me some shade, a complete stranger serving another in this time of contemplation of Christ's suffering and sacrifice, His passion and death. As the final Scriptures are read, we turn away from the pastors, the view, and the unrelenting sunshine to leave in silence, pondering the magnitude of His sacrifice for each of us.

The Thirteenth Station: The Death of Jesus (John 19:28-34)

Psalm 30:5b: "Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning."

Quotation for the week: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people, and hallelujah is our song.”

~Pope John Paul II

With joyous Easter blessings,

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Journaling Workshop with Dean Nelson

Dr. Dean Nelson at the Writer's Symposium by the Sea
The Mountain Empire Creative Arts Council (MECAC) Writers' Workshop presents an all-day writing workshop on Saturday, April 18 with Dr. Dean Nelson, founder of the Journalism Department at Point Loma Nazarene University and of the Writer's Symposium by the Sea. Author of eleven books and numerous magazine, journal, and newspaper articles, Dean knows that real, brave writing comes from deep within ourselves. 

With that in mind, we are thrilled to offer an exploratory workshop with Dean that will focus on:

Journaling: A Roadmap into Life

In the rush of busyness inherent in our technology-driven culture, we rarely have time to slow down, ponder, and consider our thoughts in the Light of faith. But when we put pen to paper--or fingers to keyboard--we rediscover our identity as thinking, creative beings. Dean Nelson, journalism professor and author of 11 books, will lead us in exploring a unique pathway to a fuller life which enables us to develop our creative, expressive, and vital selves through guided journaling exercises. Come explore the possibilities with us!  

This all-day workshop will start with registration at 8:30 AM in Expedition Hall at the Pine Valley Bible Conference Center. The workshop will begin at 9:00 AM and will end around 4:00 PM. Lunch will be provided in the dining hall of the conference center. 

Dean is my former creative writing professor and when I was teaching as an adjunct at PLNU, he kindly shared his office with me. Dean has been a mentor and a friend for over 25 years, and this venture will be his third writing workshop that he has done with the MECAC Writers' Workshop.  

The cost for this workshop is $30, including lunch. 

Please register with Susanne Barrett at

For questions and further information, please contact Judith Dupree at or Dianne Holly at

We hope to spend a most wonderful and enlightening day with you and Dean Nelson on Saturday, April 18

Susanne for the MECAC Writers' Workshop

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Deep in the Quiet Wood" of Life and Poetry

James Weldon Johnson, American Poet (1871-1938)

This month is a busy one. And I don't mean just "busy"; I mean crazy-busy, staying up until 3:00 AM nearly every night, working all weekend--that kind of busy. I adore teaching online literary analysis classes at Brave Writer, but the time and effort and brain invested in teaching a single work for a month to a group of 15 students who write six assignments a's overwhelming and wonderful and amazing and exhausting. We're reading and discussing Daphne DuMaurier's Rebecca this month, and it's all of these...and more. ;)

I have wonderful notes on attending the 20th Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea which featured an interview with Joyce Carol Oates, but they still need to be typed up before I can share them. I also attended a wonderful session with Doug Brunk who graduated from PLNU with me and another local writer on getting our work published; I have notes for that session to type up, too.

But today, with at least ten hours of work before me, I can only pop in to share a gorgeous poem that greeted me this morning in my inbox, courtesy of The Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day e-mails. Weekday offerings present us with the newest contemporary poems while weekend e-mails include classic poems.

At PLNU, I did a huge research paper on the Harlem Renaissance, and my heart has been with these extraordinary poets and writers since I turned 21. So to see a poem by one of the foremost poets of that age in my box was a lovely surprise, and reading the poem refreshed my tired soul.


Deep in the Quiet Wood

James Weldon Johnson
Isn't this poem amazing! I leave it with you, and encouragement to
"catch, yet faint, elusive strains" of beauty this very day.

With warm thoughts of "heavenly peace/ And holy harmonies,"

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent Beginneth!

As my daughter and I cook pancakes for dinner this Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Night as it's known in our household), I'm also preparing myself spiritually for the beginning of Lent.

Tomorrow evening I'll attend the Ash Wednesday Imposition of Ashes with the kind folks of Blessed Trinity Anglican as we meet together at the SCAIR Center in downtown El Cajon.

I have my Lenten fast decided and my Lenten additions ready. I don't usually tell either one publicly--only my family knows so that they can help keep me accountable.

As I continue with last Lent's addition of The One Year Book of Hymns to my Compline prayer time before bed each night, last night's hymn struck me, and I want to share it here as well as copy it into my Common Place Book (quotation journal) as it expresses many of the reasons why Lent is my favorite time of year:

Lenten Hymn
by Claudia Frances Hernaman (1838-1898)

Lord, who through these forty days
For us did fast and pray,
Teach us with Thee to mourn our sins,
And close by Thee to stay.

As Thou with Satan didst contend
And didst the victory win,
O give us strength in Thee to fight,
In Thee to conquer sin.

As Thou didst hunger bear and thirst,
So teach us, gracious Lord,
To die to self, and chiefly live
By Thy most holy Word.

And through these days of penitence,
And through Thy Passiontide,
Yea, evermore, in life and death,
Jesus! with us abide.

Abide with us, that so this life
Of suffering overpast,
An Easter of unending joy
We may attain at last!

The Scripture verses accompanying this hymn in this devotional is Mark 1:11-12 from The Living Bible: 

"Immediately the Holy Spirit urged Jesus into the desert. There, for forty days, alone except for desert animals, he was subjected to Satan's temptations to sin. And afterwards the angels came and cared for him." 

So Lent consists of the forty days before the Resurrection, not including Sundays (which are always a celebration of the Resurrection) and thus Lent parallels the forty days that Jesus spent in the wilderness before starting his earthly ministry.

Lent prepares our hearts for the joy of Easter--the celebration of the Resurrection of our Living and Loving Lord. How can we truly celebrate without suffering just a little first? Through fasting and prayer, we draw closer to the heart of Him who loved us first.

Can we fast and pray at any time? Sure. But do we? Not enough--or at least, I know that I don't fast and pray enough. Lent reminds me to do so, to allow the Holy Spirit into the dark corners of my soul and do a spiritual "spring cleaning" and show me my sin so that I may confess it and be cleansed.

To read more about Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and Lent you may read my post On Lent using this hyperlink or by going to the "On Lent" page beneath my blog header.

I wish you all a Holy and Blessed Lent as we all draw closer to our Lord and King!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Grammar Goes...Poetry Pops (In)

On Friday I finished teaching my first Brave Writer online course of 2015...which happened to coincide with the 15th anniversary of Brave Writer! The Groovy Grammar Workshop is the only course I teach that I didn't write myself; it's Julie's brilliant brain child. Grammar rules drilled into us since third grade melt away while we learn to play with words and create nonsense words--and even a nonsense poem! Grammar, after all, is about writing clearly and powerfully, and that philosophy underlies Julie's "topsy-turvy" approach to the grammar monster hiding under our school tables. If we learn to play with language, to experiment with strange word combinations, then we will learn to write more effectively...and with a panache that brings out the wordsmith in us all.

So Monday marks the beginning of the next phase of playing with the power of words: The Playing with Poetry Workshop.  I have been pleasantly surprised that this is my third course in a row to fill up and be closed before the class begins; the same happened with the MLA Research Essay class and Groovy Grammar. This closing of classes has never happened in my nearly thirteen years with Brave Writer, so I'm very pleased and blessed to have full classes. In this poetry workshop, we'll be writing all kinds of poems: the Japanese forms of haiku and tanka, shape and visual poems, traditional stanzas, and lots of "found" poems. Again, the emphasis is to experiment with the power of language, to have fun playing with words and phrases, exploring the musicality of words (even approaching song lyrics as poetry!), and simply enjoying the unbounded creativity inherent in each of us.

This class is especially fun because the moms (and quite often the dads, too) write their own poems along with their kids, so poetry becomes a true family activity. We advise that at the end of the workshop, the favorite poems be gathered, editing, and published in a family anthology of verse. What a memorable way to finish the course!

Last year, an eight-year-old student in our Playing with Poetry Workshop (with the help of her mother, of course) published an illustrated book for kids on writing poetry. Here's the link to Cassidy's book on Amazon: Roller Coaster: A Kid's Guide on How to Write Poetry. Isn't that amazing??!!

So as Playing with Poetry Workshop begins tomorrow, I thought I'd share my favorite poem with all of you. Despite my adoration for 19th century British literature, my two favorite poets are Americans, and my favorite poet is even from the 20th century. The brilliant e.e. cummings (1894-1962), both artist and poet, saw the world in a way that emphasizes the beauty in the ordinary. Each spring my mind quotes "[in Just-]-" as I work the winter soil in preparation for summer flowers and summer trips to the beach bring to mind "maggie and milly and molly and may." But this strange poem that I first encountered in my high school sophomore English class has been and probably always will be my favorite:

Flowers and Hat: Patchen Place by e.e. cummings (c. 1950)

[anyone lived in a pretty how town]
by e.e. cummings

anyone lived in a pretty how town
(with up so floating many bells down)
spring summer autumn winter
he sang his didn’t he danced his did.

Women and men(both little and small)
cared for anyone not at all
they sowed their isn’t they reaped their same
sun moon stars rain

children guessed(but only a few
and down they forgot as up they grew
autumn winter spring summer)
that noone loved him more by more

when by now and tree by leaf
she laughed his joy she cried his grief
bird by snow and stir by still
anyone’s any was all to her

someones married their everyones
laughed their cryings and did their dance
(sleep wake hope and then)they
said their nevers they slept their dream

stars rain sun moon
(and only the snow can begin to explain
how children are apt to forget to remember
with up so floating many bells down)

one day anyone died i guess
(and noone stooped to kiss his face)
busy folk buried them side by side
little by little and was by was

all by all and deep by deep
and more by more they dream their sleep
noone and anyone earth by april
wish by spirit and if by yes.

Women and men(both dong and ding)
summer autumn winter spring
reaped their sowing and went their came
sun moon stars rain


(For a printable copy and to listen to cummings read the poem, check this link:
"[anyone lived in a pretty how town]" --The Poetry Foundation)

So wishing you all as joyous a month [of poetry] as I will be enjoying!!


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