After three years of work, this collaboration with my friend, Holli Rainwater, has finally come to fruition. I am thrilled to announce the publication of The Curve of Her Arm. The poems in this collection published by NightBallet Press are inspired by the practice of qigong, an ancient Chinese practice incorporating body movement, breath, and mindfulness.
Holli and I want to thank Dianne Borsenik of NightBallet Press for her care in creating this chapbook, as well as artist Becky Hernandez for her gorgeous artwork. If you can join us at our reading on January 31, 2019, 6:30 p.m. at the Johnson-Humerickhouse Museum in Coshocton, Ohio, we would love to meet you. We will be sharing poems and some of the related movements. The Curve of Her Arm is also available from NightBallet Press ($12), from Holli, or from me (see the Contact page on this website). Future readings will be posted on this website.
We hope our poems will compel you to, as Holli writes in the introduction, "feel, in a visceral way, our kinship with everything else in the natural order", to "subtly change our way of being in the world."
(See my February 27, 2015 post for "Three Rivers Qigong", a poem included in this chapbook.)
Some of my most peaceful moments in the week come during my Qigong class. The ancient movements and their beautiful names have inspired me to write several poems. Our instructor, Holli Rainwater, also a haiku poet, put together a series of movements reflecting the place where we live that she calls Three Rivers Qigong. I asked her if I may use that title to write a poem about it. I am so honored and humbled that she chose to use my poem in class. It is truly a beautiful form of performance poetry. I offer to you my poem, along with pictures of the class flowing together as one. Thank you to all my fellow class members who were so encouraging. You fill me with energy and light!
Three Rivers Qigong
Place woven in movement.
Fingers spread like buckeye leaves,
then form fruit in circle fists.
Arms become red bird wings
drawing the energy of flight
through our spines and outstretched arms.
We are agile deer displaying our antlers
in the season of red and gold,
black bear ambling through forest,
searching, sniffing, sensing.
Heron poised on one leg scanning
stream for silvery fish and frog.
Our stems are strong as trillium emerge
early in spring - three-petaled,
beautiful in our simplicity. We are Ohio.
We are the meeting of three rivers, this
place no glacier has touched, this edge
of Appalachian beauty, life-giving,
life-affirming, qi-filled, distilled in this
moment in this room in these people
standing on the boulder of geologic time,
connected to earth, to this place, to home.