“There is no mind without body.”- Peggy Dobreer
If you were like me (and I sincerely hope that’s NOT the case), you spent most of the first two years of the covid 19 pandemic trying to make sense of how to get out of bed, and live, in stir, for another day. It didn’t, and still doesn’t help to have the promise of a return to pre-pandemic life clawed back every time another covid strain makes itself known. So, to deal with the uncertainty, each of us chose to find a default position to adapt to a new normal, which, in reality, was/is not normal at all.
Author, and poetry facilitator, Peggy Dobreer decided to make the best of the pandemic by offering, and still does, a daily morning guided meditation and generative workshop to assist other creatives from various artistic disciplines. With an emphasis on quiet, and “listening” (or intuiting), what goes on within the body, the result of this ongoing exercise is Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry (2022, Slow Lightning Press), a gem of an anthology born out of a need to make sense, as well as, keep nurturing the muse during a maddening time.
Slow Lightning is divided into three chapters: 1) If Ands Maybe Buts: Heavy Metal, 2) Political Promiscuity: Stature & Statutes, 3) Things That Don’t Go Bump in the Night: Circles & Cycles. These are, as their names suggest, broadly themed writing prompts, but the range of poems within each of these chapters is diverse, and engaging. Here’s a sampling:
1)Muriel Karr’s “A Few Things About My Father”: Maybe he loved me deeply/the way he loved his dog--/that shining red Irish Setter, whose name was Beggar. (pg 12-13).
2) Jacinta Camacho Kaplan’s “Identity”: my identical twin, pushing and pulling a child/from me, together, always together (pg 18).
3) Janet Fitch’s “November 2016”: “We didn’t open the champagne for four years./It sat in refrigerators, under the stairs,/in the garage, the back of the closet./No celebration in those years./The ones who saw it coming did better than the rest./Their midnight humor guided us. (pg 32).
4) Brendan Constantine’s “Long Whistling”: There are a million hungers in an hour/and hope is an invalid ally. Given enough/quiet, I might eat the bed. (pg 30).
5) Roberta H. Martinez’s “El Paso 2019”: You will know me by the target on my back/A target known in some parts of town/Chaparrita, viejita, but most of all/Brown/Brown of skin, Brown of experience,/Brown alma/Brown soul resonating with corridos, but not telenovelas,/Alma de nopal, llena de las experiencias/Of the generations that came before/Whose souls sang/Of a place without love, without light/Of a land that was so near and so far/So far (pg 34).
6) Erika Lane Enggren’s “Savored Time”: The mind speaks words/Like fallen raindrops…/So dampening in the moment but/settled after the storm (pg 45).
Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry is a testament to the resiliency of the artistic mind, when faced with prolonged isolation, and limited contact. The virtual coming together of a collection of creatives speaks to the kindness, and respect, each one has for the other, as well as themselves personally. I hope to see more volumes in the future, and if you’re interested in taking part in Dobreer’s guided meditation/generative workshop, you’ll be doing you, and your muse, a tremendous service.You can contact Dobreer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slow Lightning: Impractical Poetry, © 2022 Slow Lightning Press, Peggy Dobreer, editor, ISBN 979-878-6496186, 67 pages, $14.00 (USD), www.peggydobreer.com.
© 2022 marie c lecrivain