Poetry. Benedictine Spirituality. Love.

This is not spring and this is not a poem

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 10, 2018

April 10, 2018. Snow everywhere and it’s miserably frigid. The calendar says spring arrived twenty one days ago but this is not spring. So here’s a poem for questioning how things ought to be in light of how things are and vice versa. Christine Klocek-Lim’s nuanced poem, “This is Not a Poem,” is an ars poetica — a meditation on poetry using the form and techniques of a poem.  “This is not a poem,” the title insists with Socratic irony. The poet’s feigned ignorance adds satire to the poem. Dickens and other writers used this technique to point out injustices, to make …

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12 Places to Put Poetry for National Poetry Month

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 4, 2018

For impatient people: Because poetry has made me less self-absorbed and more empathetic, you can skip my explanation of why poetry is important enough to deserve a national month celebrating it, and jump straight to the 12 places to put poetry list. Just click here . So here’s the story about why poetry is so important that we have a national poetry month to honor it: My grandparents hated pizza. They were a quiet pair of baby-cuddlers, who stitched crewel work pillows (yes, both of them), and ran errands, all of their lives, for elderly parents, aunts, uncles, and overworked parents, always …

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12 Places to Put Poetry for National Poetry Month

By Tracy Rittmueller | April 4, 2018

For impatient people: Because poetry has made me less self-absorbed and more empathetic, you can skip my explanation of why poetry is important enough to deserve a national month celebrating it, and jump straight to the 12 places to put poetry list. Just click here . So here’s the story about why poetry is so important that we have a national poetry month to honor it: My grandparents hated pizza. They were a quiet pair of baby-cuddlers, who stitched crewel work pillows (yes, both of them), and ran errands, all of their lives, for elderly parents, aunts, uncles, and overworked parents, always …

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Muriel Rukeyser on poetry as a weapon against hate

By Tracy Rittmueller | February 2, 2018

In her 1949 book, The Life of Poetry, Muriel Rukeyser indicates what motivated her to make poems: “Writing is only another way of giving, a courtesy, if you will, and a form of love.” Rukeyser was perhaps as well known for her political activism as for her poetry. Living through the death and destruction of two World Wars, living with those wars’ after effects–chaos, confusion, disillusionment, and fear– Muriel Rukeyser made a clear choice. She chose for love, against hate.   The Poetry Foundation includes these details in its biography of Muriel Rukeyser: In the 1930s Rukeyser attended Vassar College …

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Gailand MacQueen on the spirituality of mazes and labyrinths

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 10, 2018

The Spirituality Center at Saint Benedict’s monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, has a labyrinth, which I am preparing to walk soon for personal and professional reasons. I suppose I could just drive over there tomorrow and walk it, but that’s not how I take journeys. I read up on the places I’m going because it prepares me to experience them more openly, which is to say, more deeply. One of the books I’m reading now is Gailand MacQueen’s The Spirituality of Mazes and Labyrinths (2005). Are you a labyrinth or maze kind of person? Labyrinth People: are traditionalists; seek simplicity; …

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Epiphany: a collaborative poem for the sixth of January by Almut Furchert and me

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 6, 2018

Epiphany commemorates the visit of the Magi, or wise men who visited the infant child, whom the angels in Luke’s Christmas story announced as “a Savior, Christ the Lord.” They came bearing precious gifts. They were guided by a star to a divine manifestation, an awe-inspiring spiritual experience, the moment of aha—at last I see! This poem arrived today.   EPIPHANY: A COLLABORATIVE POEM FOR THE SIXTH OF JANUARY Beloved one the Divine wills through you to be born here now ever anew no matter how shabby your stable. by Almut Furchert with Tracy Rittmueller 1/6/2018 The poem came at the …

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Are you a poet, too?

By Tracy Rittmueller | January 3, 2018

I feel as if I’ve hauled my sweaty-palmed, embarrassed self to my first P.A. support group, dreading the moment…ugh..now it’s my turn. Inhale. Close my eyes. Exhale. Open my eyes. Scan the room. Say it. Hi, I’m Tracy and I’m a poet. The reason this is a difficult admission for me? Often I’d prefer to be nobody, like the narrator in Emily Dickinson’s poem I’m nobody! Who are you?   Are you – a Poet – Too? In the late 1980’s when I first began thinking of myself as a poet, I went public. I enjoyed reading before an audience, I published …

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Trashing My Brand: in rejection of the insane trend toward the monetization of everything

By Tracy Rittmueller | August 20, 2017

I can’t remember why branding myself with a reader-friendly, easily pronounceable name seemed important. This past year, while living and learning among an intentional community of like-minded, kind-hearted people I discovered that there is one thing I must bring to the community, and thereby to the world, that fulfills my life’s (and my writing’s) purpose–Authenticity. Karner isn’t the last name on my driver’s license or medical records. I used to believe that being individually successful was an important goal in life. Now a renewed conviction–that authenticity within a stable relationship to community is essential for a meaningful life–has replaced former beliefs and fears. …

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Let's Get Political; Let Me Hear Your Wisdom Talk!

By Tracy Rittmueller | August 13, 2017

Yes, this headline is a parody of the vacuous 1981 Olivia Newton John hit song, Let’s Get Physical. And yes, this might be a questionable way to headline the most serious-as-a-heart-attack post I’ve ever attempted to write. So maybe a better title to this, my gut-reaction to the recent, sickening news coming out of Charlottesville, Virginia would be: Everything is Questionable so Let’s Question Everything. Another way to say this is: People! Let’s Get our Heads out of our Ignorant, Self-Righteous, Belligerent Butts and Make it our Civic Duty to Define, Address, and Find Solutions to our Actual Problems!  (Yes, I’m addressing We the …

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