A Day in the Mountains by Elizabeth Cunningham

An excerpt from So Ecstasy Can Find You

 

went to the mountain range
called Dawn Snake
sinuous ridges running
south-north, cliffs facing east

I lay down on a rock
not long after noontide,
cool air, fierce sun’s heat,
everywhere water wearing

away stone with drip and
rush. The mountain said,
I hold time in my bones
I remember my shaping

I remember all the life
that’s blown over my surface
burrowed into my hollows,
young fleeting one, rest

 

Cunningham_FrontCover_smIn her third collection of poems, novelist Elizabeth Cunningham leads us on an intimate journey into forest and mountain, garden and dream, along a hidden stream bed and beside a friend’s deathbed. She also explores poetic form, drawing inspiration from ghazal, haiku, tanka, and song lyric. Eye and ear are equally important to Cunningham; her images are rich, her rhythms, sure. By turns wry and tender, awed and amused, the collection displays the emotional range of a writer whose questions have led her on a quest, whether it is following blue trail markers along a cliff or confronting her own aging and death. These poems are grounded (literally and figuratively) in Cunningham’s ecstatic connection with the earth in all its strength, fragility and mystery.

Still by Elizabeth Cunningham

An excerpt from So Ecstasy Can Find You

I walk on a back road
under a still grey sky,
the same light all day,
no cars, no lights, horses standing
still in mud, even the birds
try to be quiet, their sounds the bird
equivalent of whispering.
Three geese fly silently
over a striated hill. My red-
booted footfall is the loudest sound,
my walk the most determined motion.
My life stands still
and wonders where I am going.

 

Cunningham_FrontCover_smIn her third collection of poems, novelist Elizabeth Cunningham leads us on an intimate journey into forest and mountain, garden and dream, along a hidden stream bed and beside a friend’s deathbed. She also explores poetic form, drawing inspiration from ghazal, haiku, tanka, and song lyric. Eye and ear are equally important to Cunningham; her images are rich, her rhythms, sure. By turns wry and tender, awed and amused, the collection displays the emotional range of a writer whose questions have led her on a quest, whether it is following blue trail markers along a cliff or confronting her own aging and death. These poems are grounded (literally and figuratively) in Cunningham’s ecstatic connection with the earth in all its strength, fragility and mystery.

Ecstasy by Elizabeth Cunningham

An excerpt from So Ecstasy Can Find You

Ecstasy takes time, even if it lasts moments,
you have to slow down so ecstasy can find you
the way the light finds each plant in the sweep of a day
or the tide finds its secret way between dark rocks.
Stand still in the wood, on the shore, in your life.
Ecstasy will come, touch you, fill you, leave you changed.

 

Cunningham_FrontCover_smIn her third collection of poems, novelist Elizabeth Cunningham leads us on an intimate journey into forest and mountain, garden and dream, along a hidden stream bed and beside a friend’s deathbed. She also explores poetic form, drawing inspiration from ghazal, haiku, tanka, and song lyric. Eye and ear are equally important to Cunningham; her images are rich, her rhythms, sure. By turns wry and tender, awed and amused, the collection displays the emotional range of a writer whose questions have led her on a quest, whether it is following blue trail markers along a cliff or confronting her own aging and death. These poems are grounded (literally and figuratively) in Cunningham’s ecstatic connection with the earth in all its strength, fragility and mystery.

This Moment by Elizabeth Cunningham

An excerpt from So Ecstasy Can Find You

this moment when
a dead leaf falls so faded
it almost isn’t there, only
enough for a new green blade
to pierce its veined
translucence

 

Cunningham_FrontCover_smIn her third collection of poems, novelist Elizabeth Cunningham leads us on an intimate journey into forest and mountain, garden and dream, along a hidden stream bed and beside a friend’s deathbed. She also explores poetic form, drawing inspiration from ghazal, haiku, tanka, and song lyric. Eye and ear are equally important to Cunningham; her images are rich, her rhythms, sure. By turns wry and tender, awed and amused, the collection displays the emotional range of a writer whose questions have led her on a quest, whether it is following blue trail markers along a cliff or confronting her own aging and death. These poems are grounded (literally and figuratively) in Cunningham’s ecstatic connection with the earth in all its strength, fragility and mystery.

Secret Place by Elizabeth Cunningham

An excerpt from So Ecstasy Can Find You

 

Beyond the field into a wood, deeper,
the stream winds green and black under
ice, bend after bend, while pine and oak
grow on and on and under the snow
the undergrowth rests awhile. Wearing
snowshoes, I can make a path where I will
through the wood, along or above the stream,
deeper, till I come to a place where
there is no sound but the wind in the pines
the creak of cold trees, the groan of the ice
and the stream now frozen, now broken free
singing on and on. There are no other human
tracks but mine in this beautiful water-carved
bowl of wood and rock and earth and shine.

The posted signs I passed say this wood
belongs to a developer. Then I must love it
all the more fiercely in this moment, love it
as I love all passing things, my own life,
my friend’s life. She died almost a year ago.
For two months we knew she was dying
and so we spent all the time we could
sitting beside her, catching last words and looks.
When my husband says, “we are doomed,
the tar sands oil is already being sucked out,
we have irrevocably fouled the nest, life
as we know it on this planet is ending,” I can only say
hush, let me love let me love let me love
this place, let me love this life as long as I can.

 

Cunningham_FrontCover_smIn her third collection of poems, novelist Elizabeth Cunningham leads us on an intimate journey into forest and mountain, garden and dream, along a hidden stream bed and beside a friend’s deathbed. She also explores poetic form, drawing inspiration from ghazal, haiku, tanka, and song lyric. Eye and ear are equally important to Cunningham; her images are rich, her rhythms, sure. By turns wry and tender, awed and amused, the collection displays the emotional range of a writer whose questions have led her on a quest, whether it is following blue trail markers along a cliff or confronting her own aging and death. These poems are grounded (literally and figuratively) in Cunningham’s ecstatic connection with the earth in all its strength, fragility and mystery.

Mountain Thoughts | An Excerpt from Lungs of My Earth by William Henry Searle

lungs-earth-sm-storeIn the words of Sir Andrew Motion (UK Poet Laureate, 1999-2009, President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England) “Lungs of My Earth evokes particular places dear to the author, sweeping them into our imaginations with a rush of delighted language to create ‘a luminous map of the sacred’. Part field-work and part sky-dreaming, it is at once exact and exultant—a vibrant song to the earth and echo chamber of the earth’s own singing.”

Look for Lungs of My Earth by William Henry Searle in paperback and ebook on Amazon, B&N, the Hiraeth Press bookstore or ask for it in your local indie bookstore. | Visit our bookstore>>

 ~

Hail clinks against an iron latch-gate. Sheep bow to buckets of winter feed. An owl pursues a stoat down a crag. Stars bud the tips of bare branches. The half-moon nests amongst pine tops. Twelve rivers bleed into one black lake. A cold wind blows across the road. Sleepless walkers like I wield head-torches at this unearthly hour as though to gather in the lost, finding nothing but a strange, frost- frail beam of thin light weaving to and fro as slowly as the growth of bone, that stops at each thing to stitch up each thing’s heart, leaving behind traces of quiet that amount to the sound of everything breathing, and working.

—Excerpt from Lungs of My Earth

william_photo_hiraeth_smWilliam Henry Searle, Ph.D., born 1987, in Dorset, UK, is a spiritual ecologist whose work draws on the world’s diverse spiritual traditions, philosophy, ecology, and personal lived experience in the outdoors to revive the sense of the natural world as inherently wild and sacred. He holds a doctorate in creative writing and environmental philosophy for which he was awarded a three year studentship to study at the Royal Holloway University of London. Lungs of My Earth is his first book.

Yoga Morning | An Excerpt from Midlife with Thoreau by Diane P. Freedman

Midlife-Thoreau-sm-store Midlife with Thoreau by Diane P. Freedman is now available in paperback and ebook wherever books are sold! | Visit our Bookstore»

This is a book about writing as righting. At midlife Diane turns to the books of Thoreau, not to mention his landscapes. Practicing the nature cure and the narrative cure, she  writes, in poems, essays, and journals, about family, feminism, and literary history, loss, divorce, dating, accidents, animals, waterways, local landscapes, and teaching environmental literature in ruburban New Hampshire. She sojourns with books and domestic beasts, tramps brambles and trails, and basks in language, love, and lake-front sun. Thoreau loved a “broad margin” in his life and Whitman, another influence, “a certain free margin.” Out of these, Carl Bode maintained—and Freedman shows—poetry could grow. Taking direction also from new environmental writers such as Ian Marshall, John Elder, Janisse Ray, Sandra Steingraber, and Amy Seidl and from other hybrid or narrative and autobiographical critics, this is a book of intense observation, advocacy, lyricism, sweetness, and sadness.

Enjoy an excerpt from the book below:

Yoga Morning

 

Colder than it has been,

more still,

my son and I wear

cotton and flannel,

pad about the house,

do warm-up stretches,

and head off to the studio

with its crystal bowls

Buddhas

prisms

low music

and a half-dozen

middle-aged men and women

in the slow

pushing against

time

Breakfast Poem | An Excerpt from Midlife with Thoreau by Diane P. Freedman

Midlife-Thoreau-sm-storeMidlife with Thoreau by Diane P. Freedman is now available in paperback and ebook wherever books are sold! | Visit our Bookstore»

This is a book about writing as righting. At midlife Diane turns to the books of Thoreau, not to mention his landscapes. Practicing the nature cure and the narrative cure, she  writes, in poems, essays, and journals, about family, feminism, and literary history, loss, divorce, dating, accidents, animals, waterways, local landscapes, and teaching environmental literature in ruburban New Hampshire. She sojourns with books and domestic beasts, tramps brambles and trails, and basks in language, love, and lake-front sun. Thoreau loved a “broad margin” in his life and Whitman, another influence, “a certain free margin.” Out of these, Carl Bode maintained—and Freedman shows—poetry could grow. Taking direction also from new environmental writers such as Ian Marshall, John Elder, Janisse Ray, Sandra Steingraber, and Amy Seidl and from other hybrid or narrative and autobiographical critics, this is a book of intense observation, advocacy, lyricism, sweetness, and sadness.

Enjoy an excerpt from the book below:

Breakfast Poem

 

I want breakfast

but I can wait

to see first the rain spattering the pool

the otters made in the ice

on the pond that leads to the woods

where the barred owl sits.

My son oversleeps

and I should go for the paper

but I study the grey brown of the oaks,

the lichen climbing up the trunks

I see out south and west windows.

Here, in winter,

a small fog lifts from the frozen river

of early morning.

 

So Ecstasy Can Find You | A First Look

Cunningham_FrontCover_smOn September 15, 2015 we will release So Ecstasy Can Find You by Elizabeth Cunningham. In her third collection of poems, Cunningham leads us on an intimate journey into forest and mountain, garden and dream, along a hidden stream bed and beside a friend’s deathbed. She also explores poetic form, drawing inspiration from ghazal, haiku, tanka, and song lyric. Eye and ear are equally important to Cunningham; her images are rich, her rhythms, sure. By turns wry and tender, awed and amused, the collection displays the emotional range of a writer whose questions have led her on a quest, whether it is following blue trail markers along a cliff or confronting her own aging and death. These poems are grounded (literally and figuratively) in Cunningham’s ecstatic connection with the earth in all its strength, fragility and mystery.

Pre-order So Ecstasy Can Find You now in our bookstore.

Praise for So Ecstasy Can Find You

“This luminous book of meditations on finding ecstasy brings us into the still spaces where inner and outer landscapes converge. Elizabeth Cunningham’s grace-filled words deftly transform the mundane into the sublime. With senses wide open, she invites a deep, rich exploration of the natural world and of what it means to fully engage in life.”

—Cristina Eisenberg, ecologist and author of The Carnivore Way and The Wolf’s Tooth

“With a wise perspective and an eloquent voice, Elizabeth Cunningham probes the underpinnings of the cycles of nature and the spiritual dimensions of the ordinary and the everyday within the grander universe. She finds ecstasy in mindfulness and in the moments of her own self-confrontations and discoveries. This quiet but powerful and masterfully written book needs to be on your bedside table, to be read and re-read, to be savored, one enlightening poem after another.”

—Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of Iowa, author of The Girls on the Roof

“One of Elizabeth Cunningham’s poems declares, ‘It’s all poetry.’ And wherever she looks, she finds it, as well as the perfect images and phrases that allow us to share her vision of how all the world is a poem of beauty, meaning, and mystery. When you step into one of Cunningham’s poems, you understand this. And wonderfully, you too begin to see everything as poetry.”

—Tom Cowan, author ofFire in the Head: Shamanism and the Celtic Spirit and Yearning for the Wind: Celtic Reflections on Nature and the Soul

“Elizabeth Cunningham’s collection, So Ecstasy Can Find You shows a poet in the maturity of her art. She’s mastered her craft and knows enough of life to tell us important messages about it. And beautifully told they are. With spare and subtle rhymes and interweaving sounds, she explores life, love, art, and death. At the core of these poems, in spite of the suffering and ecstasy of living and dying, lives a deep and profound stillness.”

—Judith Roche, winner of the American Book Award author of All Water All Fire and Wisdom of the Body

“Poetry can be a potent portal of transcendence for both the reader and the poet. Cunningham’s So Ecstasy Can Find You is a trance dance landscape of deep emotion and reflection.  The rocky crags and crevasses of life reveal the infinite variety of mortality.   The still, moonlit ponds and snow-covered fields offer soft subtle glimpses of the Divine.”

—J. K. McDowell author of Night, Mystery & Light


ElizabethCunninghamheadshotjpegElizabeth Cunningham
is best known as the author of The Maeve Chronicles, a series of award-​​winning novels featuring a feisty Celtic Mary Magdalen. She is currently at work on a series of mystery novels as well as a cycle of poems called Tales and Tails. She lives in New York State’s Shawangunk Mountains where ecstasy frequently finds her.

Format: Paperback | ISBN 978-0-9889430-5-6 | 102 pages
Other Formats: Kindle (Coming Soon)
Release Date: September 15, 2015 | Pre-order Now in our Bookstore»

 

Praise for Lungs of My Earth by William Henry Searle

lungs-earth-sm-storeWhat does it feel like to be a part of the living, breathing earth?  And how do these experiences contribute to the sense that the earth is sacred, holy? In prose that is at once lyrical and vividly profound, the author intimately recounts–from childhood to the present day–his experiences of being carnally drawn into the life of the earth through six particular landscapes that open out towards the ineffable, the sacred, which does not gleam beyond the earth’s horizon but beats, from within, the very heart of life.

In Lungs of My Earth, William Henry Searle pens a powerful memoir of place and connection. Readers and critics alike are entranced by this beautiful song of the wild.

Look for Lungs of My Earth in paperback and ebook on Amazon, B&N, the Hiraeth Press bookstore or ask for it in your local indie bookstore. | Visit our bookstore»

Praise for Lungs of My Earth

In a breathless torrent of vivid impressions–most strikingly those of touch and feel–William Henry Searle ignites our own senses, brings us to life. Those of us, like me, who glibly speak of the living Earth as our larger body, are jolted awake to a wilder, more awesome reality.”

—Joanna Macy, author of Coming Back to Life

William Searle’s book, Lungs of My Earth, is an inspiring and heart-​​warming read. The author has been able to weave together a sense of the sacred with a sense of the place. Here in this book the love for the landscape meets the imagination of the intellect. The resulting prose is a beautiful narrative. It is a pilgrimage through life as well as through the land.”

—Satish Kumar, founder and director of Schumacher College, editor of Reurgence Magazine

Lungs of My Earth evokes particular places dear to the author, sweeping them into our imaginations with a rush of delighted language to create ‘a luminous map of the sacred’. Part field-​​work and part sky-​​dreaming, it is at once exact and exultant—a vibrant song to the earth and echo chamber of the earth’s own singing.”

—Sir Andrew Motion, UK Poet Laureate, 1999–2009, President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England

William Henry Searle guides us through six particular landscapes, richly described and wisely reflected upon. As we journey through forests, marshlands and wind-​​scoured mountains, we discover what modern humans are most starved for: an embodied connection with a numinous world. This lyrical and potent book deserves a permanent place in the bookshelves of anyone interested in bridging the false divide between outer and inner nature, Earth and soul.”

—Mary Reynolds Thompson, Author of Embrace Your Inner Wild: 52 Reflections for an Eco-​​Centric World and Reclaiming the Wild Soul: How Earth’s Landscapes Restore Us to Wholeness.