I've come to believe that those works of literature and poetry that have stood the test of time have more to offer those seeking a meaningful life than all the self help books in the world. They have the ability to bypass the protective walls that so many of us build around our gentle, scared and vulnerable hearts - those walls that stand firm and umoveable in the face of seeming frontal assaults by the well meaning self help books (which, tellingly, often reference those works to make their point). This is so, it seems, because they speak to us through stories and myths that set themselves in our hearts and minds - ready for recall when we are ready to learn, much like Christ's reason for teaching in parables: He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Also, I believe that the reason these great works of literature and poetry persist is because they were inspired by and deal with the human condition - the basics of which remain constant as evidenced by the fact that the adventures of Odysseus still permeate our culture, whether in print, on stage or on film ("O, Brother Where are Thou?" - classic) more than 2,500 years after Homer handed them down. "The Odyssey" and "The Illiad" persist because the same passions that ran through the veins of Homer run through ours and, more importantly, he, like the great writers throughout history, had the gift to genuinely infuse that passion into his stories and characters. ("East of Eden" in my hands or probably in most hands, for instance, wouldn't have even found a publisher, but in Steinbeck's hands, we were given as powerful a story/lesson as I've ever read.) So, we feel their pain with defeat and their joy with victory. We relate when they stumble and fall from grace, and as a result, we don't feel so alone in our brokenness.
The same can be said for the enduring stories, poems and mythologies of all cultures: they endure because they resonate with our humanity and they remind us what it means to be human. And then, when we are ready, we can find in them comfort or learning or both as has so many people before us.
In episode 18 of The Poet (delayed), read my poem, "I'm a Poet" and I am joined by Salt Lake City based author, poet, editor and my new friend, Jennifer Adams. I read my poem, "I'm a Poet," and Jen and I discuss the power of literature and poetry as well as her newest of book, "All's Right With the World," inspired by Robert Browning's poem, Pippa's Song, which will be released March 7, 2023. It can be pre-purchased at
I'M A POET
I'm a wordsmith.
Wielding my Montblanc hammer
On my Moleskine anvil.
I shape words and forge them together.
Quenching them in my inky oil to temper them.
To make them hard for breaking souls.
I'm a word weaver.
Weaving on my parchment loom,
I guide the weft threads of metaphors
Through taut warp threads of nouns and verbs.
Resulting in a strong, velvety weave
For binding up broken souls.
I'm a painter.
My palette is full of words for mixing:
Some fresh and liquid, some dry and hard.
At times I work them smooth and technical
(Vermeer in verse).
Other times raw and passionate
(Van Gogh in verse)
Each painting with an Abrahamic number of interpretations.
I'm a wordsmith
I'm a weaver
I'm a painter
I'm a poet.
I'd love to hear what you have to say about the episode including thoughts on the poetry and the topics that were discussed. You can email me at [email protected].
If you're interested, my first book of poetry, My Mother Sleeps is available for purchase at