Tag Archives: light in darkness

Harding University

 

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Yesterday my writing took me to Harding University. I met with an Intro to Poetry class in the morning, visited with students and faculty over pizza, and read in Cone Chapel in the late afternoon. This marks my third visit to Harding, and it was as beautiful as ever, maybe even more so, not only because I was teaching and reading in azaleas and dogwoods, but I was honored to be introduced by Terry Engel as a friend of its English Department.Macri_ConesChapel_Harding.jpg

Between events, I sat out on campus, read a little, and watched the world go by. A student who couldn’t come to my reading took the time to find and talk with me.

Oftentimes as I prepare for events like these, I think of what I want to say, but in this visit, I realized I was thinking more of what Harding has been saying to me. The students were fun, funny, curious, and kind. Nick Boone has always had a knack of encouraging me to take myself seriously as a writer at the exact moments I doubted my work. So yesterday was the first time I felt comfortable to read from each of my three books, Fear Nothing of the Future or the Past, with a title that speaks for itself; Underwater Panther, with its look at the past we’ve inherited; and Ore Horizon, with its question, when our environment is being damaged, both our natural world and how we deal with each other as people, what do we do?

Macri_Harding_March2017.jpgAll this is colored with my deepening sense of mourning, as the first anniversary of my father’s passing draws near. But something my husband said to me weeks ago has stuck in my mind: some people approach the world from a foundation of fear. They cling to the past because they feel frightened. But some people approach the world from a place of hope. They feel scared, too, but they look to the past to help create new ways to move forward to something better. Poetry is part of such hope, as are the people and places who celebrate it.

With thanks to Harding for a good day.

 

 

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Pushcart Prize Nomination

Arkana golden tree.jpgYesterday I received word that Arkana nominated my poem “Revelations of the Temporal” for the Pushcart Prize. I’m thankful to be able to say that this is the second nomination that I’ve received for 2016, with thanks again to Redactions for the first. The nomination of this Revelations poem encourages me, not just as an artist, but as someone in mourning, to reflect on the transformative power of light.

Arkana is a new journal out from the Arkansas Writers’ MFA Program at the University of Central Arkansas, and their inaugural issue is a wonderful one. Please check out all they have to offer here.

Southern Festival of Books

The last event this fall in celebration of Underwater Panther takes me to Nashville, Tennessee, to the Southern Festival of Books this weekend.

Our panel is titled “Light in Darkness,” and I’ve thought a lot about that phrase. No matter where we come from, we all know how darkness can make us feel small.

Near Nashville is Stones River National Battlefield and Murfreesboro. Two of my grandfather’s great-uncles died there within five days of each other in February 1863. They were twins, about 19 or 20 years old.TindallStar.jpg

We don’t know much about them, and we’ll never know what motivated them to serve the Union. But idealism did run high in our family. This branch had owned slaves in Delaware, but they left that behind when they moved to Illinois in the 1830s. The twins’ big brother, my greater-grandfather, was a Baptist minister full of the Word.

When I think of light in darkness, in this place, I can’t help but think of these two young men, and I am encouraged to think past death, and grief, where I have been struggling, to the gift of possibilities that they bequeathed me. This, of course, is only a very small part of a much larger picture.

We inherit the world created by the people before us. Our children inherit the world we are creating now.

When I was little and my father tucked me in, he would say, “Good night, sleep tight. Wake up bright in the morning light, to do with right, with all your might,” and he would pause, and I would say, “with everybody.” By definition, light makes darkness go away.

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. in the Nashville Public Library, I’ll be part of this panel with the fantastic Christina Stoddard and John C. MannoneHumanities Tennessee works to bring together a wide variety of writers from across the country for this festival. Look over the list here and see what you might enjoy.