This is a dangerous book. Great poetry calls into question not less than everything. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind. It opens us to pain and joy and delight. It amazes, startles, pierces, and transforms us. It can lead to communion and grace. Through the voices of ten inspiring poets and his own reflections, the author of Sacred America shows how poetry illuminates the eternal feelings and desires that stir the human heart and soul. These poems explore such universal themes as the awakening of wonder, the longing for love, the wisdom of dreams, and the courage required to live an authentic life. In thoughtful commentary on each work, Housden offers glimpses into his personal spiritual journey and invites readers to contemplate the significance of the poet's message in their own lives. In Ten Poems to Change Your Life, Roger Housden shows how these astonishing poems can inspire you to live what you always knew in your bones but never had the words for. "The Journey" by Mary Oliver "Last Night as I Was Sleeping" by Antonio Machado "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman "Zero Circle" by Rumi "The Time Before Death" by Kabir "Ode to My Socks" by Pablo Neruda "Last Gods" by Galway Kinnell "For the Anniversary of My Death" by W. S. Merwin "Love After Love" by Derek Walcott "The Dark Night" by St. John of the Cross From the Hardcover edition.
Every great poem invites us to step beyond what we know, what we think we can dream or dare. Great poetry is a catalyst for change: a change of mind, a change of heart, a change of life- and yes, over and over, again and again, with each new reading, and each new phase of our journey. That’s why poetry is dangerous. It gives voice to our unspoken dreams; it is a mirror to our own deepest joys, desires, and sorrows. It can tip us over into a new life, into a new way of seeing and being, that a moment ago we might even have had no words for. In this new volume of his Ten Poems series, Roger Housden takes ten great poems and in personal, intimate essays shows how they led him, and can also lead us, into a more deeply lived and examined life. Housden says, “Every one of the poems in this book has struck me a blow, a direct hit, each of them, into the heart of hearts. Every one of them, in its own way, has opened a door for me to go deeper into my own experience, my own longings, my own sorrows and joys, and into the silence that surrounds all of this, all of us, always.”
Ten Poems to Open Your Heart is a book devoted to love: to the intimacy of personal love and lovemaking, to a loving compassion for others, and to the love that embraces both this world and the next. This new volume from Roger Housden features a few of the same poets as his extraordinarily moving Ten Poems to Change Your Life, such as Mary Oliver and Pablo Neruda, along with contributions from Sharon Olds, Wislawa Szymborska, Czeslaw Milosz, Denise Levertov, and others. Any one of the ten poems and, indeed, any one of Housden’s reflections on them, can open, gladden, or pierce your heart. Through the voices of these ten inspiring poets, and through illustrations from his own life, Housden expresses the tenderness, beauty, joys, and sorrows of love, the presence of which, more than anything else, gives human existence its meaning. As Housden says in his eloquent introduction, “Great poetry happens when the mind is looking the other way and words fall from the sky to shape a moment that would normally be untranslatable. . . . When the heart opens, we forget ourselves and the world pours in: this world, and also the invisible world of meaning that sustains everything that was and ever shall be.” From the Hardcover edition.
In Ten Poems to Say Goodbye, the newest addition to the celebrated Ten Poems series, Roger Housden continues to highlight the magic of poetry, this time as it relates to personal loss. But while the selected poems in this volume may focus upon loss and grief, they also reflect solace, respite, and joy. A goodbye is an opportunity for kindness, for forgiveness, for intimacy, and ultimately for love and a deepening acceptance of life as it is rather than what it was. Goodbyes can be poignant, sorrowful, sometimes a relief, and—now and then—even an occasion for joy. They are always transitions that, when embraced, can be the door to a new life both for ourselves and for others. In this inspiring and consoling volume, Housden encourages readers to embrace poetry as a way of enabling us to better see and appreciate the beauty of the world around and within us.
Ten Poems to Set You Free inspires you to claim the life that is truly yours. In today’s world it is deceptively easy to lose sight of our direction and the things that matter and give us joy. How quickly the days can slip by, the years all gone, and we, at the end of our lives, mourning the life we dreamed of but never lived. These ten poems, and Roger Housden’s reflections on them, urge us to stand once and for all, and now, in the heart of our own life. This volume brings together the voices of Thomas Merton, David Whyte, the Basque poet Miguel de Unamuno, Anna Swir from Poland, Stanley Kunitz, the Greek poet C. P. Cavafy, and Jane Hirshfield, as well as three of Housden’s favorites, Rumi, Mary Oliver, and Naomi Shihab Nye. His luminous essays on the poems show us how to integrate the poets’ truth into our own lives. Roger Housden’s love of poetry and life leaps from every page—so much so that his readers feel they have found a guide and mentor through the extraordinary Ten Poems series. He has opened the eyes and hearts of many, not just to the power of poetry, but to the truth and beauty of the life of the soul. What more can one ask?
The fourth volume in the popular series that began with Ten Poems to Change Your Life, Ten Poems to Last a Lifetime focuses on what it means to be truly human. In it, Roger Housden offers us poems on life and death, happiness, seeing ourselves in relation to the world, and, of course, the ineffable—the things that really matter when the chips are down. He describes these passionate poems as “bread for the soul and fire for the spirit.” The poets Housden has chosen are Billy Collins, Hayden Carruth, Dorianne Laux, James Wright, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Mary Oliver from the United States, D. H. Lawrence and John Keats from England, Rainer Maria Rilke from Germany, Fleur Adcock from New Zealand, and Seng-Ts’an from sixth-century China. And yes, that adds up to eleven, not ten. Housden decided to include a bonus poem for his faithful readers in this, the final volume of the series. As before, Housden’s luminous essays provide an elegant and easy passage into the sometimes daunting world of poetry, enabling readers to feel that in him they have found a trusted guide and mentor. From the Hardcover edition.
“Listen, are you breathing just a little, and calling it a life?” —Mary Oliver This luminous anthology brings together great poets from around the world whose work transcends culture and time. Their words reach past the outer divisions to the universal currents of love and revelation that move and inspire us all. These poems urge us to wake up and love. They also call on us to relinquish our grip on ideas and opinions that confine us and, instead, to risk moving forward into the life that is truly ours. In his selection, Roger Housden has placed strong emphasis on contemporary voices such as the American poet laureate Billy Collins and the Nobel Prize–winners Czeslaw Milosz and Seamus Heaney, but the collection also includes some timeless echoes of the past in the form of work by masters such as Goethe, Wordsworth, and Emily Dickinson. The tens of thousands of readers of Roger Housden’s “Ten Poems” series will welcome this beautiful harvest of poems that both open the mind and heal the heart. From the Hardcover edition.
Roger Housden, author of the best-selling Ten Poems to Change Your Life, celebrates the growing popularity of mystical poetry with this beautiful compilation from the Christian contemplative tradition. Although the writings of the Sufi mystics (Rumi and Hafez) and the Indian mystics (Mirabai and Kabir) have reached a wide audience in recent years, the poetry of the Christian mystics has yet to be discovered by a general audience. For Lovers of God Everywhere, a collection of nearly 100 poems from both historic and contemporary writers, heralds the reemergence of the great spiritual voices of the Christian tradition—a tradition with its own love songs to God, cries of longing, and bliss of union. In this collection, Roger introduces us to some of the foremost poets of both the Eastern and Western Christian traditions. He takes us from the wisdom of the Desert Fathers to the passion of St. Augustine, through the medieval ecstasies of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena, to the subtleties of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila; and on to contemporary voices such as Rainer Maria Rilke, T.S. Eliot, and Mary Oliver. Roger’s insightful commentary on each poem inspires us to take its words more deeply into our souls and shows how the mystical tradition transcends sectarian divides and speaks to the heart of humanity.
Roger Housden traveled to Iran to meet with artists, writers, film makers and religious scholars who embody the long Iranian tradition of humanism, the belief in scholarship and artistry that began with the reign of Cyrus the Great. He traveled to the mountains of Kurdistan to learn from Sufis, whose version of Islam exhorts nothing but tolerance and love. From the bustle of modern Tehran to the paradise gardens of Shiraz to the spectacular mosques and ancient palaces of Isfahan, Housden met Iranians who were warm, welcoming, generous, intellectually curious, and who would recite the poetry of Hafez or Rumi at the slightest opportunity. Saved By Beauty weaves a richly textured story of many threads. It is a deeply poetic and perceptive appreciation of a culture that has endured for over three thousand years, while it also portrays the creative and spiritual cultures within contemporary Iran that are rarely given any mention in the West. It is a suspense story that reflects on the philosophical and aesthetic questions of good and evil, truth and beauty. And finally, it is the story of a man in his sixties on a personal quest to discover if the Iran of his youthful imagination continued to exist, or whether it had been lost forever under a strict totalitarian regime. In Iran, Roger Housden was brought face to face with the reality that beauty and truth, deceit and violence, are inextricably mingled in the affairs of human life, and was forever changed.