SICA-International, the cultural wing of my spiritual community, Subud, has created a weekly cyber poetry series featuring Subud members from round the world who write poetry. I will be featured Friday, May 22, 2020, at 11am PDT. https://us02web.zoom.us/j/99414930537
Of course I will be reading from my new book, the tenth anniversary (expanded) edition of A Time Before Slaughter which includes Pig War: & Other Songs of Cascadia. There is a wonderful introduction to the new section by Matt Trease who goes into my involvement with Subud a little bit, since it informs many of the poems:
Becoming Cascadian, then, requires more than what’s ordinary, requires a ritualistic practice of No-ing, knot knowing, a habit of refusing to settle the wilderness, but continually to enter and re-enter an imminent present, a practice of allowing the world to begin again and again and a gain. A latihan, of sorts. You may recognize that word slipping in and out of the cosmos of these Cascadian songs.
Latihan kejiwaan is a spiritual practice with roots in Indonesian Javanism and practiced by the international Subud organization, of which Nelson has been a participant for many years. At its most basic, it is a daily habit of spiritual awakening, a continual returning to an earlier moment when one encountered an opening to a spiritual dimension to existence. The goal, not unfamiliar to practitioners of Zen Buddhist meditation, is to still, as much as one can, all self-motivated action and to allow for another source – call it God, call it the true self, call it collective unconscious, call it the Universe, you name it – to direct the body and mind. For Subud, this practice is the end, not the means. There is no doctrine beyond the practice of opening one’s self up to the divine life-force emanating from the outside, the not-self but not not self exactly.
Many of these poems flow from that practice of being still and knowing, trusting the spontaneous power of the outside to direct thought from one perception on to another, twisting weak men’s explanations of “the way the world works,” its addiction to scarcity and unsustainable violence, to find the leverage of a counter desire, a contra-diction to pry an opening from that known box of dead wood into a field of grief, of memory, of response-ability…
I hope to see you Friday, May 22, 2020, PDT via Zoom. My thanks to Emmanuel Williams, Rusydah Ziesel and Eugenia Stark, as well as my Subud sister and brother poets.