when was the last time you were in wonderment?

I think there’s almost like a responsibility in some ways when the world and the news is so disgusting and so heartbreaking. I think that’s all the more reason to turn to—I ask my students, when is the last time you were in wonderment of something, when was the last time you had awe over something….I think it’s a practice. I think we forget how to be in wonderment. And I think it’s a great, I don’t know, responsibility. But also, it’s contagious. When you hear someone say, oh my gosh, I love how the silver on a silver oak is winking at me, that kind of thing, it’s hard to not notice something yourself. And then someone else will notice something and someone else will notice something (Aimee Nezhukumatathil).

I’m not sorry for writing about wonder and joy/ Aimee Nezhukumatathil

not what you know but what you wonder

“While poetry sometimes to teachers is a matter of text and something to be studied, for me poetry is a way of living in the world. I think that I don’t produce texts, and I don’t do it to be studied, though I do recognize the value of those things. But for me poetry is a way of trying to express something that is very difficult to express, and it’s a way of trying to come to peace with the world. The mistake teachers sometimes make is that they think art and poetry—they think that’s about answers. And it’s not about that, it’s about questions. So you come to poetry not out of what you know but out of what you wonder. And everyone wonders something differently and at different times. It is a mistake in poetry—it is not a mistake to try to figure out the ways that it’s crafted, but its crafting is not what it is.” —Lucille Clifton

Wonder as a form of bewilderment/ Kaveh Akbar

I was actually talking with my graduate workshop yesterday about how an orientation towards wonder, as a poet, is absolutely necessary. I really do sincerely feel that bewilderment is at the core of every great poem, and in order to be bewildered, you have to be able to wonder. You absolutely have to be permeable to wonder. Maintaining an orientation towards wonder in a time where the government is conspiring against it, in a time where black people are being murdered at the hands of the state, in a time when the Earth is very much trying to warn us about what we’re doing to it, maintaining an orientation towards wonder becomes really difficult. It’s the work that I have to do every day, the work of trying to find sources of wonder, even in our sadness and loneliness, or even in our anger. There are ways to be both angry and full of wonder at the same time. I think Solmaz Sharif’s Look is a great example of a book both bewildered and angry. I think that orientation towards wonder is really vital to our fellowship of writers, and I also think it’s a lot of work. It’s not passive, especially not now. Source

Always let the wonder win (Aimee Nezhukumatathil)

Joy and Delight are not the same as Happiness

Audre Lorde and the erotic

from ch 4 of my dissertation

We need to tap into “the yes within ourselves” and cultivate the deep capacity for joy which can imbue all of our activities with a creative and inspiring energy and can enable us to connect and share in the feeling of joy with others (Lorde 1984, 56-57).

O, to be so unabashed in my joy!

Heard a kid jubilantly call out, “I just saw a fish! A Northern Pike! Right there! Right there!” Such wonderful enthusiasm. O, to be so unabashed in my joy! A goal for this year. I’m tired of cynicism and swallowing the quirky joy I have for so many small and random things like garden gnomes and undulating waves and bright, glowing green running shoes!


Ross Gay and the difference between delight and joy

Delight is like the butterflies flying around and landing on the thing that is joy. This American Life Episode: The Show of Delights

Ross Gay on Joy and the Wilderness Within

Ross Gay’s The Book of Delight

The body, the life, might carry a wilderness, an unexplored territory, and that yours and mine might somewhere, somehow meet. Might even join. 

And what if the wilderness–perhaps the densest wild in there–thickets, swamps, bogs, uncrossable ravines and rivers–is our sorrow?

Is sorrow the true wild?
And if it is–and if we join them–your will with mine–what’s that?

What if we joined our sorrows, I’m saying.
I’m saying: What if that is joy?

the daily moment of delight

Earlier today, walking with the dog, we encountered 3 BIG turkeys chilling out in the bottom of a neighbor’s yard (or would you call it a ravine? It dips down way below the road–maybe it was a sink hole?). Delia the dog didn’t bark or even take much notice of this rafter of birds (rafter or flock is what a group of wild turkeys is called). But I did. Watching them, mostly in delight, with a dash of trepidation. Then I thought: this is it–the thing that I want to remember about today. Seeing three random turkeys in someone’s yard.

daily delight (oct 21)

I could write about the many leaves that had fallen in the wind and rain and were littering the path or how it felt like it was still raining with all the water dropping from the trees or the strange quality of the light–dark at first, a light slowly spreading, then sunshine–or seeing the forest floor a few times or turning around at the trestle and racing the cars crawling their way through the four way stop or actually enjoying running into the stiff wind, a big grin on my face or stopping, at the end, to study the ravine and being able to clearly see the wrought iron fence. I could, but all I really want to mention are the two turkeys I saw crossing Edmond Boulevard as I walked home through my neighborhood. The one in front was running fast, bobbing its head, while the second, smaller one tried to keep up. Did you know that turkeys could run fast? I didn’t. As I watched them run away I thought that seeing them run so quickly, with their graceful legs and awkward heads, was all I needed today.

Daily Delights (sept 5)
  • A blue rooster on a roof
  • A black cat sitting still on a lawn
  • A hipster Dad with his tight jeans cuffed
  • The write a gnome poem on the poetree
some definitions 

of light, without light

pleasure, en/joy, a treat, satisfaction, glee, triumph, jubilate, to please, exuberant, dazzle, charm, relish, blind, enrapture, blur, astonish, wonderment


Soft filter (barbara walter’s filter)
gentle/not harsh
fuzzy, faded
without judgment
faulty knowledge


feeling, not knowing

The Joy of Running / Sara Lynne Puotinen

The joy of running is not
reckless abandon
an all out sprint,
arms flailing,
feet fleeing
from the imaginary monsters on the playground.
And it’s not focused aggression
lungs burning
muscles aching
mind calculating better splits and faster races.
The joy of running is
the confident grace
of a body that knows its value
and celebrates movement’s magic
gliding easily through the world.
One foot striking the ground and then the other
feeling the grit on the path
but not the mechanics of the motion.

the magic of movement/ may 11, 2017

Then, I realized something: we can try to understand how to walk. We can break it down and reduce it to the minute moments and movements and manipulations of muscles and ligaments and joints. But we can’t ever fully understand it and take away how magical it is. Walking is magical. The body is magical. All the complicated elements that are invisible but work together for us to walk. Magical. Even the highly scientific terms used to describe it, like the muscles in the foot, are magical–mysterious and fantastical in their almost inscrutability:

tibalis posterior and anterior muscles
flexor hallucis posterior
flexor digitorum longus
extensor digitorum longus
hallucis longus

Why use the word “magical”? I’m thinking about mystery and wonder and ineffability. I’m also thinking about an On Being interview I heard with Marie Howe and her discussion of poetry as counter-spell. And I’m thinking about Harry Potter. I’ve been watching the entire series with my family for the past few weeks.

I’m on a wonder/ Lynda Barry