Saturday, February 25, 2012

Poetic Reflections Special: Cloaked Monk

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Terri. I am currently a student at Seattle University getting my Masters of Divinity and Post Masters Certificate in Spiritual Direction. I am *of a certain age,* a mom of two teens, and a wife. I am also a chaplain at a youth detention center.

Tell me about your blog, the name, what does it mean to you?

My blog is The name “Cloaked Monk” is a reference to a monk in disguise, behind a cloak. In my protestant tradition, monks are non-existent. But a monk is a person who is dedicating their life to the divine. So it is a little unheard of to have a protestant monk. Additionally, I do not typically get in your face about my faith expression. I fully believe that you should see my faith in my actions. That is a little bit of the “cloaking” also. I look normal, but I’m really a monk in disguise! My blog is generally an expression of spiritual writings that includes poetry, prose, research, notes, and scripts that I write for children.

I also have a blog: that supports the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that I have formed. This coalition is a group of like-minded individuals that come together to support and provide services to vulnerable youth affected by the justice system.

When did you start blogging?

June 2008

Your first poem? Remember?

My first poem? I remember writing a poem about dolphins in 8th grade. It seems like a long time ago!
My first poem on my blog?

Echoes of Beethoven’s Ninth
as I run joyfully
to you.
Sprinkled with sounds
of child-like laughter
Creating the moment
of opening.
In that liminal
place between land and sky
ashes and baptism.

What are your writing inspirations?

Mary Oliver, Rumi, well, all those Sufi poets, the Bible, the youth I see, the love in the world, my family…

How do you define poetry as “Good”? Do you revise your work?

Good poetry moves me in some way, challenges my thoughts, or (and) provides a new perspective. And yes I revise my work (sometimes).

When did you start writing poetry? Do you write fiction as well?

I started writing poetry when I was a youngster. I leave it and come back to it as my life ebbs and flows. I write fiction in that I create stories based off of Biblical stories for youngsters. So it is sort of a channeling of a character that pre-exists and then writing from his or her perspective.

Do you have a favorite author or poet?

Rumi always makes me quiver.

Favorite quote?

Matt 25:34-36
‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Why do you support Jingle Poetry Community, including Jingle Poetry @ The Gooseberry Garden?

I want to support the community and I appreciate the support that it provides. It challenges me to keep writing when my life seems so busy with school, work, kids, and school (yes it is on the list twice). I allow *life* to distract me from what is *living.* Weekly emails and invitations invite me to live and go deeper.

What's your plan for your future writing?

Someday, I want to write a children’s book. I also write liturgies and I am being published next year (I got my first check! Whee!). So I am involved in the Abingdon Worship Annual, One of many writers there. I will keep writing poetry and blogging it, keep writing liturgies (and hopefully getting paid for it!), and move forward in my new creation. I’d also like to organize some of the youth in the detention center to start their own writing club and publish some of their creations for them.


Steven Federle said...

great interview! Great poetry too!
I'm a fan.

Rajlakshmi said...

nice interview :)