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Amy Lou Jenkins is the award-winning author of Every Natural Fact: Five Seasons of Open-Air Parenting

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Featured Anthology

Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude

 by Jim Perlman, Deborah Cooper, Pamela Mittlefehldt, and Mara Hart

Every human must face loss. Poetry has the potential to exist within that same transcendent sphere.  That place of truth holds more than pain and more than grief. This art touches complex reality with the comfort of community and remembrance.  

Beloved on the Earth fulfills its potential with poetry about grief and gratitude. These poems give voice and meaning to the complexities of loss.  Everyone who opens themselves to the verse of Beloved on the Earth will connect to the most difficult reality of humanity by way of poetry's "*concise clarity."

*from the preface by Pamela Mittlefehldt

 

Interview with Jim Perlman, Co-Editor of Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and  Gratitude and Founding Editor and Publisher at  Holy Cow! Press

Why did you and your co-editors choose to connect the words grief and gratitude in your title?


*Grief and gratitude seem like the two necessary and healthy perspectives to hold while moving through the loss of a loved one. We feel sadness but perhaps that loss gains a better balance when we also recognize the gratitude we feel for having experienced another person's close relationship. I also like the music of the phrase, "grief and gratitude," as if the near rhyme reveals that the two viewpoints can go hand in hand. 

 

 

How did the compilation of this anthology, and the reading and review of so many poems about loss, affect your personal journey with grief?


*By reading and meditating on the poems, I came to understand that I wasn't alone in my grieving. I gained profound insights into the mysterious realm between living and dying. We were deeply moved by the myriad responses to grief and gratitude, and the unique ways people wrote about this. We were also impressed by the powerful dynamic between personal experience and poetic expression that allowed grief and gratitude to be shared.


Who do you envision as an audience for Beloved on the Earth?



*This poetry anthology has many potential readers: those who are moving through grief and loss; health care workers in the field of hospice and grief support; doctors and physicians; clergy who look for meaningful readings for memorial and funeral services; readers of contemporary poetry. 


With several co-editors you must have dealt with differences of opinion in some of the selections.  What factors guided you in making your final selections?


*As expressed in Pamela's preface, we strove to select poems that moved us emotionally without excessive sentiment, that allowed the reader to easily enter the poem, and that were written out of love and respect for whomever the poem addressed. For us, there was a remarkable lack of difference of opinion or tension in the selection process--in large part because of the quality of the poems that were selected. The poems themselves seemed to resolve almost all differences of opinion, thus making the decisions for us.



What is the relationship between poetry, grief, and gratitude?



*This is a very complicated question. I think that the best poetry, with its subtle use of language, image, music, and emotion, can explore the relationship between grief and gratitude in ways that are both profound and mysterious. 



What question do you wish I would have asked?



*Why are almost all the poems written by poets of our particular time frame? Why not include writing of more traditional poets like Dickinson, Millay, Shakespeare, et al?

Then I must ask: how you would answer?

We wanted a contemporary chorus of voices and we wanted to stay away from poems that have already become familiar.

Thank you Jim.