2021 might not have been the year we had hoped it would be, and for so many it has been a hard test of loss in so many ways. In the midst of all of that, I’m looking back on a year of poems, interviews and book excerpts to see what it was that was most resonating with readers. I’m happy to see three tremendous interviews with Liz Tichenor, Guo Gu and Norman Fischer that covered the scope of grief, survival, growth and illumination, featured so highly on The Dewdrop’s reading list.
Likewise the beautiful, hopeful poetry of Pablo Neruda, the ancient Japanese poet Issa, Gary Snyder, John O’Donohue, William Stafford, Billy Collins, Erin Pickersgill, M. Christine Benner Dixon and Matthew Kohut. Among my personal favorites have been the excerpts from the wise and profound writings of women like Louise Gluck, Virginia Woolf, Annie Dillard, Caite Mc Neil and Clarissa Pinkola Estés, whose essays and stories are the stuff of timeless inspiration.
I am grateful for all these words and images that have come to The Dewdrop this year, as well as to the wonderful and burgeoning readership who continue to support this project. A happy new year to you all!
Author and priest Liz Tichenor talks about her book The Night Lake, about dealing with loss and what the topography of grief looks like after seven years.
Pablo Neruda wonders at the draw that pulls us in to the unknown, shifting ablutions that are the action of the sea and of water.
The myth of losing a pelt speaks deeply to being divested of time, resources and creative energy in the service of psychic support of others.
Written shortly after the death of his daughter, Issa’s haiku touches deeply on the heart of the human condition.
Chan teacher Guo Gu on silent illumination, punk music and his teacher Sheng Yen’s legacy.
Alain de Botton takes a sledgehammer to the notions of romanticism that spawn unrealistic expectations in relationships which eventually lead to disillusionment and painful parting.
Gary Snyder’s poem on the healing and enlightenment we need to find as a race in order to once again locate ourselves in earth’s valleys and pastures.
This gorgeous passage from Virginia Woolf’s novel To The Lighthouse reflects on the creative process and the deeper meaning of what it means to be an artist.
A reflection at the end of winter on the cycles of death and renewal.
Friedrich Nietzsche suggests that the key to happiness is knowing when to remember and when to forget.
This beautiful poem by John O’Donohue, whose title means ‘blessing’, is addressed to his mother, Josie.
“As the boundaries closed in, and still do, I notice that my world is large and detailed enough to locate all of my questions, and for that I am thankful.”
Billy Collins runs with the folkloric notion that the dead are watching us and pushes the image all the way to a reverie of the departed ‘rowing themselves slowly through eternity’ in glass-bottomed boats.
BY CAITE MCNEIL
Making the decision to move back to Maine wasn’t easy for a mother who wanted her daughter to love her home as much as she does.
Annie Dillard celebrates humanity by taking the widest view of its activities, hopes, dreams and values. She then asks, what would we really do with this new, expanded perspective?
Zen teacher and poet Norman Fischer on where and how poetry and Zen practice meet and interact.
Written in the morning of the day he died, William Stafford’s last poem rattles with augury gilded by a sense of acceptance.
Louise Glück’s essay condemns current trends of pathological optimism, as well as the tendency towards ‘the pornography of scars.’
Philip Larkin’s simple and heartbreaking poem about how to take care of each other and look out for one another.
M. Christine Benner Dixon’s poem is an intimate portrait of her father, remembered from childhood.