Happy National Poetry Month!

Apr 2, 2017

April is National Poetry Month, which to me is wonderful because it brings the joys of poetry into more people’s awareness and experience. For me reading as well as writing poetry has been a daily lifelong practice. From the time I wrote my first poem at the age of eight, poetry has been my primary medium for recording and processing my life. Others kept diaries; I wrote poems. Eventually, it became a way of healing and connecting with G-d.

And somewhere along the way, without even realizing I was doing it, I created a seven-step process that uses poetic constraints and the technique of drawing with the non-dominant hand to create poem-mandalas that yield unexpected insights and spiritual connection. I began teaching the process and wrote my new book, The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®—Seven Steps to Your Personal Gold, to share it with a wider audience.

I use it as a daily meditative practice and try to write a poem a day. As the title implies, the process is based on an alchemical model. It is metaphorical, spiritual alchemy. It’s about transformation. Writing these poems has, indeed, proved transformational for me as well as for many of my students. But there is also the element of sheer delight. And that is what I think National Poetry Month is about: the sheer delight of writing and reading poetry.

We can write our own poems and smile broadly when one finally clicks into place. All the words fit; some unexpected insight emerges, a deeper layer of meaning, a new way of looking at something. In the same way we can read favorite poems over and over and find that each time there is some new image to be found, some new metaphor to ponder. Or we can discover new poets and poems we have never encountered before. Each one has nuggets of gold to be mined. And of course, in The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® process, we create our own Personal Gold, allowing it to emerge out of whatever we define as the lead in our lives.

Reading and writing poetry can be an adventure, a spiritual journey, a delightful respite from our otherwise hectic, demanding lives. Happy National Poetry Month!

Xianna Michaels Mandala