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SMSU Professor published in “Poetry of Presence”

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SMSU English Professor Marianne Zarzana has recently had multiple poems published in “Poetry of Presence: An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems”. The anthology featured a mixture of local and well-known poets.

“I’m honored and humbled to be in the company of poets whose work I love,” said Zarzana. “So many of these poets have inspired my poetry, such as Margaret Atwood, Joyce Sutphen, Marge Saiser, Robert Bly, Ted Kooser, Wendell Berry, Seamus Heaney and Rumi.”

The editors responsible for the collection are Phyllis Cole-Dai and Ruby R. Wilson. According to the book’s website, they combined Cole-Dai’s familiarity with mindfulness meditation and Wilson’s passion for language to select the poems for the collection.

In the introduction to the book, mindfulness and its relationship with poetry is defined for readers.

“Mindfulness is keeping our heads and hearts where our bodies are,” it reads. “The poem might demonstrate what mindfulness is, recount an experience of it, or offer advice on how to practice it; perhaps it fleshes out a mindfulness theme, such as acceptance, impermanence, non-clinging (‘letting go’), compassion, or the unity of all things.”

Since being selected for the collection, Zarzana has had some time to define the mindfullness for herself and what it means to her poetry.

“To me, mindfulness means being fully present in my body, mind and soul,” said Zarzana. “I pay close attention to what’s happening—beautiful or brutal—right now in this moment.

The importance of being mindful in an increasingly busy world, one of the main reasons the book’s editors felt the need to produce it, is a cause that Zarzana feels passionate about.

Only by taking it all in—the pain, the sorrow, the joy—can I fully be alive,” said Zarzana. “To live otherwise means I’m settling on being only half alive. The spiritual practice of reading and writing poetry allows me to become more mindful, more awake in this moment.”

“Poetry of Presence” is available for purchase at poetryofpresencebook.com or on Amazon.

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SMSU Professor published in “Poetry of Presence”