Nate Loomis of New Renaissance Bookshop interviewed me and I loved the questions he asked. Here is the transcript from their e-news letter, which goes out to over 10,000 people. Thanks, Nate...
'May the pilgrim melt into her path,This Sunday, February 26th, Fred will lead "Poetry – Path to the Heart: A Guided Meditation & Interactive Poetry-Making Circle."
the path into the goal,
the goal into Presence,
the very first step
NATE: Tell us about how you discovered your love of poetry?
FRED: My earliest memory underlies every poem: it is a world of silence in blossom, an ocean of fragrant flowers without names, even before my mother started telling me: “lilac, magnolia, dogwood, wisteria.” If a poem can take you back into that silence, even for a moment, it is a poem.
In 7th grade I was searching for I knew not what in the school library. I saw a book whose author’s name refused capital letters: "e. e. cummings." It was a lightning bolt. I opened it and read words like “mudluscious.” I saw lines that ran like liquid down the page. In an intuitive vision, I saw creation through the Word. Words create our world, and words can carry us back to the source of creation.
Later, I was initiated into meditation and studied the science of mantra with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. I saw how a single word sets fire to the soul. There is a profound connection between the creative power of the Word and the art of meditation. Mantra is the art of following the Word of creation back into the silence that was there before God said, 'let there be light.'
NATE: Reading poetry seems to be really different than reading non-poetry as it transports us to another world or a greater vision. What is your experience of this and can you please share with us a favorite poem of yours?
FRED: In ancient times language was sacred, people could heal and create through a mantric chant or a “God-spell.”
We need to recover this sacred shamanic power of language. Poetry is language imbued with the silence at creation’s source. The best poems guide our scattered minds back into that unity, which is love.
God meant to drop this mirror,
shattering into countless images
her perfect gaze.
This is why we meet in brokenness,
putting ourselves together again
through each other,
until we recognize one face
with eight billion
reasons for astonishment.
NATE: Lastly, what are you doing at this event and what can people expect to receive in coming?
FRED: We will gather a circle for “poetry-yoga” and meditation. We’ll not only hear poetry, but move to it, meditate in its waves, and create a collective poem with our own voices. Out of that gathered silence, we will speak the poem of our soul. It’s so important for each of us to recover the authentic voice of our own heart, from those whose language would fill our minds with chatter and propaganda. This is the politics of poetry.
I encourage participants to let their own Word of Creation embrace their brokenness, their darkness, and their loss, as well as their yearning for light. We cannot hope to create acts of power if we cannot speak our Word of power.