Language has the capacity to startle, to inspire, to incite rage and to bring life. At their best, words have the capacity to draw us into new understandings of ourselves and others. They can cave in our expectations of the way the world is, and they can give us new and deeper insights into things that we no longer pay attention to because we no longer find them inspiring or worthy. Here is some of my own work. For more, you can check out my blog Sandals at the Gate.
In Love and Service Bound
Before there was the “New Monasticism” there was the Brotherhood of Saint Gregory. This first authorized history of the groundbreaking Episcopal religious community known as the Gregorians, explores the growth of a budding community coming of age. Chronicling the history of the Brotherhood from the turbulent sixties through its first forty years, In Love and Service Bound offers a personal glimpse into the struggles, successes and personalities that helped guide the community in its unique expression and renewal of the face of religious life in the Episcopal Church. Detailing the vision and character of its founder and first Minister General, Richard Thomas Biernacki, this book offers an honest appraisal of the pivotal moments and inner workings of a community striving to live out the Gospel in the midst of an often skeptical church and world. It is available for download HERE.
Breviary: A Poem of Some Reverence
“Breviary” is a reflection on post-modern spiritual anxiety. The piece explores the themes of our relationship to the Divine, the emotions we confront when faced with moral and ethical choices, and the power of love. It is at once a poem and a prayer patterned after the form of western monastic prayer called the Divine Office. The hours of prayer form a movement from spiritual darkness; through the awakening and subsequent struggles and occasional rebellion of faith; to the surrender and peace of the fulfilled spiritual life in death. “Breviary” travels the road of the experiences of our human longing for meaning in stark prose and the musical rhythms of prayer. This book length poem is a work in progress begun in 2012. Soon available in eBook format.
MY DEATH is on the page, is in the book,
is on the shelf, is in the house, a tale –
ribbon marked in red by father’s calloused hands
freshly from the plow, a virgin field,
in the hour when enough was never quite.
Hail Mary, full of grace...
Poetry and Essays
I have been writing for over 30 years, and studied creative writing at San Francisco State University. I enjoy social critique, spiritual reflection, and poetry that is at once transgressive and narrative. I tend toward the neo-modernist school, and I'm not particularly fond of most contemporary academic poetry. I find much of it to be obtuse, inaccessible, and self-indulgent.
I am inspired by authors such as James Merrill and his poem "Changing Light at Sandover," David Jones' "Anathemata," and the works of Jorge Luis Borges and Rainer Maria Rilke. I think that H.D. and T.S. Eliot are two of the finest poets of the 20th century and the last of the great narrative modernist poets.
My personal approach is to create work that re-asserts the elegiac spirit and up-ends our mythologies so that we hear them again. The language of faith inhabits my work, but in ways that are unexpected. The language of the heart is more important than heady intellectualism, but I hope to make room for both to call my reader's to make meaning of our shared experience, or the unexpected experiences of the stranger.
Many of my shorter reflections on spiritual practice and social critique will be posted in my blog "Sandals at the Gate." See my Poetry page for representative pieces of my poetry. The collection will grow and what is posted here is copyrighted by me, but available under Creative Commons, No Modification, with Attribution. That means you are free to share it, without modification, attribute it to me, and include the CC BY-ND 3.0 license as a link.