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Elaine Fletcher Chapman
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When at home, I arrive at my desk at the appointed time, search for my fountain pen, locate my notebook and begin with date, location, the time of day, and sometimes the weather. Often I read my last entry: It feels like spring even though everything is dead or this morning the word, Selah or Chanel Le Veverns: 483 Vendetta or in Ghent where I raised my children. A few weeks ago Miriam O’Neal sent me a card from The Writer’s Series, on the front, “Dear Ella,” a pastel by Deborah DeWit Marchant, 1994. For several days after reading and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Most days my study doubles as zendo, as temple, as sanctuary each time I enter after I may or may not burn the incense. Bare feet on the floor, follow my breath, accept my mind as is: wild with thoughts, messages, grievances, and perhaps a moment or two of clarity. My robin-egg blue notebook open on my desk contains the date, time of day, a few words: gleanings from attempted stillness. Several months ago I began a season of Midrash, commentary on sacred text. This time, not the writing reflections on the first Buddhist nuns, The Tibetan Book of Living... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
Yesterday in the mail a large envelope arrived, return address American Academy of Poets. I had eagerly been awaiting the arrival of the new poster to mark National Poetry Month in April. Amazingly,one only has to request the poster ( in order to receive it. The subject of the poster: writing letters. It's beauty lies in the printed blue and beige stationary, envelopes, postmarks, pens and instructions printed off to the side: Write, about your sorrows, your wishes, your passing thoughts, your belief in anything beautiful from the book Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
A slight drizzle began a few minutes ago and birds arriving for spring settle here and there on the grass and next to the early daffodils blooming in a circle on the side yard. For many years I began my morning writing practice with haiku, three or four maybe five. Lately I’ve abandoned haiku for prose, a few lines about weather. Every day it is my intention to return. It is how I begin. Begin with nature, noticing what surrounds me, waking up my senses, embracing my mood. Most days I burn the rosewood incense brought home from Zen Mountain... Continue reading
Posted Mar 19, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
I live in a small rural town on the Eastern Shore of Virginia between sea and bay,only seven miles wide, mostly farm. My husband is the pastor of a fairly large church for the Eastern Shore. On any given Sunday there may be three or four generations of family members scattered about, sitting on pews together or singing in the choir. In the few years he has served this church, he has conducted over forty funerals. Actually, he has become known for his funerals. He poured creek water in the baptismal font, read poetry along with scriptures, and kneeled at... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2013 at The Best American Poetry
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Mar 18, 2013