The Mail Carrier

The poet Jennifer Clark, whose collections are a gift to us all, told me this story: Her father was being given a memory test. When asked, “Who is the president of the United States?” he answered, “There is no president of the United States.”

On October 1, Jimmy Carter turned 95. He spent the day working on a home for Habitat for Humanity.

“Decent people don’t get enough credit.”– Steve Blass in his farewell speech after 60 years with the Pittsburgh Pirates as player and broadcaster.

The Mail Carrier

When the weather is good,
she imagines each letter
sits forever in a lonely
mind. Postcards, a small
hello, sometimes a question
about the job help her
believe the uniform,
the truck, even the sack
keep her safe from
her own days. She often
daydreams she’s an angel
carrying the mystery
of words that only connect.
She thinks about her route,
how she’s driven it
for 27 years: five miles
north, two more east,
four south, six west,
tires over the same roads,
her hand reaching across
the empty passenger seat,
settling it all into every
mailbox, a quiet pause
in front of each house.
She knows by now what lies
in nearly any envelope,
knows when she gives up
this work, she’ll dream
the route, carry opened,
unread letters throughout the day.

–Jack Ridl

First published in The Pebble Lake Review.

Subsequently published in Broken Symmetry (Wayne State University Press)

For this you need tickets, friends… Sal and I will talk Poetry and the Spirit ON OCTOBER 24, 7-9PM, Douglas United Church of Christ, 56 Wall Street, Douglas. Here are the details and how to get your very own tickets before they are gone.

This week we were visited by former student and writer Mira Bartok and artist Alex Chitty. Mira’s memoir ,The Memory Palace received the New York Book Critics Circle Award, and her latest book, The Wonderling, will be made into a major motion picture. Check out Alex’s arresting sculptures here. It’s a big deal when your students bring their students and you begin to see a new map of the world.

 

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

This Field Must Be Saved

How about Greta!

In our UCC Church, we have our own Greta. She is Hannah Huggett. At fourteen she organized the local climate protest. Her mom is having to worry about how many socially conscious, environmental concerns Hannah leads. Somehow Hannah’s able to maintain her extraordinary academic record while she devotes herself to these emergencies.

And Emma, high school daughter of our German friends, organized the protest in her town. Go Emma!  These young women inspire us to work through our retirement.

On Tuesday I was one of the discussion leaders for the community read Julie helped organize for the deeply moving book Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. If you’ve not read it, well, we recommend it. It will touch your environmental consciousness in a multitude of ways for which you’ll be grateful.

We usually learn ABOUT the natural world. Less commonly do we discover that we can actually have an experiential relationship WITH it. Yes, we can empathize with all we live with.

Thank you, Greta. Thank you, Hannah. Thank you Robin.

This Field Must Be Saved
for Jane Harrington Bach

We will have to grow great waves
of sweetgrass, yarrow, milkweed,
sage, and Queen Anne’s lace.
There must be space
for horses, and an old man
walking through, letting
his fingers brush against
the blooming, letting
his memories wander back
to be breathed in by the horses
as they lighten the air with their tails.

–Jack Ridl

From Between, Dawn Valley Press. Republished in Poems from The Same Ghost and Between (Dawn Valley Press).

Hey! I get to talk with Sal! And you! ON OCTOBER 24, 7-9PM, Douglas United Church of Christ, 56 Wall Street, Douglas. Here are the details and how to order tickets.

Acclaimed prose poet Kathleen McGookey has a collection just out, Instructions for My Imposter from Press 53. In the words of Anne-Marie Oomen, “I feel as though I am reading sacred language.”

Laura Donnelly’s collection, Midwest Gothic, was chosen by Maggie Smith for the Richard Snyder Prize and will be published by Ashland University Press.

Michael Theune is co-editor of Negative Capability: Origins and Afterlives and is co-founder of The Keats Letter Project.

Jennifer Clark has a new collection, A Beginner’s Guide to Heaven from Unsolicited Press. It revels in such wonders as moths, dandelions, dogs, and beer.

Kristin Brace’s book launch for her MSU first book award winning collection Toward the Wild Abundance, Michigan State University Press, will be held today, Thursday, at LowellArts from 7 to 8:15pm.

Phillip Sterling will have a launch for his new book, Amateur Husbandry, Mayapple Press, at LowellArts on October 24 from 6:30-8pm. The book will be released November 1. Preorder from Mayapplepress.com October 1.

The 4th Annual Lost Lake Writers Retreat will be held October 10-13 at the Lost Lake Woods Club in Lincoln, Michigan. The featured writers include Robert Fanning, Allison Downey, Michael Zadorian among others. Information at springfed.org

Crazy Wisdom Bookstore and Tea Room at 114 S. Main in Ann Arbor will feature Dennis Henrichsen on October 23 and George Tysh and Chris Tysh on December 4. Hosted by Ed Morin and Joe Kelly, the events are from 7-8:45.

The Friends of Poetry–Kalamazoo holds many activities and gatherings. For information contact Elizabeth Kerlikowske or visit their Facebook page.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

 

 

A Generous Welcome

My first work after graduating was at Colgate University. To this day I have no idea how in the world I got the position. I answered a call for the job by sending a resume that had nothing on it except that I had graduated from Westminster College. I got a call for an interview. Went. Came home. Got a phone call asking me to take the position. Why me? Who knows.

The dean I worked for, Guy Martin, was a brilliant man. Cliche? Yes. But he was. I kept thinking that he must have at least a half dozen degrees. He was not only profoundly knowledgeable, he was also wise. That’s rather rare, that coupling. And he was gentle in voice and patient to the point of long suffering with this punk kid who had no idea what he was doing.

After my first trip off campus I came back with about half of the cash given to me for expenses. I had saved the college money. Guy suggested that next time I spend it all. “Or they might cut our budget.”

Yesterday Guy passed away.

I just sat there.

I don’t have to tell you the difference between working for 45 and for Guy, a theologian who made his theology incarnate.

One day I asked Guy what, when he was younger, did he want to be when he grew up. He answered without a pause, “Kind.”

I carry that every day. And every evening I look back over my day and see my failures and where I remembered.

Thank you, Guy. Thank you for taking a chance on and for being with me every day.

A Generous Welcome

The snow is falling through eternity’s quiet
where everything here lives within. And now
mid-morning the sunlight falls across the

hemlocks, it too lying within the ubiquity
of quiet, a quiet arriving from the silence
that was here before Alpha and will be here

after Omega. This morning when the turkeys,
twelve of them, tumbled in their tumultuous
flutter down from roosting in the dark

where they sleep one hundred feet up in
the empty-leaved maples, the snow shook
down on the quiet of the cat, and she rushed

through the brush to the back door where she waited
for me. The quiet, of course, was everywhere.
The turkeys nodded their stable way up the hill,

following the inevitable trail that has become
their day, seeming to trust the path will bring
them to seeds and corn, lost fruit. The light

glistened along the sheen of their backs bringing
gold and green out from what against the drifts
seemed only a study in black. Sound does come,

even in the hush of the turkeys’ enormous feet
imprinting the snowfall, even in the small fall
of flake upon flake. Quiet can come to silence.

For Guy

–Jack Ridl

First Published in Crab Orchard Review.

Subsequently published in Practicing to Walk Like a Heron (Wayne State University Press)

Hey! I get to talk with Sal! And you! ON OCTOBER 24, 7-9PM, Douglas United Church of Christ, 56 Wall Street, Douglas. Here are the details and how to order tickets.

Watch for Hope College celebrating poet and professor Greg Rappleye in a future publication.

Gathering All the Drops

This morning we had one of those safe wonderful thunderstorms. I poured a cup of coffee and sat on the porch loving every sip and minute. After I finished my coffee, I walked out into the storm knowing I would be dry because after all, this was “fake weather.” I was betrayed. I came back soaked to the threads of my boxers.

Maybe what I thought was fake rain was on its way to Alabama defying the northwest winds.

🎶Soon it’s gonna rain, I can feel it.
Soon it’s gonna rain, I can tell.
Soon it’s gonna rain, what’re we gonna do?🎶

Gathering All the Drops

During the storm,
I started thinking
about gathering
all the drops.
From there it
took off into
light on the underside
of leaves, what
rust peels away,
the space between
musical notes. I
forgot what time
it was; I wrote that down.
When I was a kid
I loved plus signs
and hummingbirds
dancing their thrum
in the honeysuckle.
In the basement are jars
filled with words
my father left behind.

–Jack Ridl

Kristin and Neal Brace visited today. That reminds me to remind you to look for Kristin’s first book award collection from Michigan State University, Toward the Wild Abundance.

Former student Laura Donnelly’s collection Midwest Gothic was selected by Maggie Smith for the Richard Snyder Prize at Ashland Poetry Press and will be published in 2020.

Please mark your calendars for October 24, 7-9pm when Pastor Sal Sapienza and I will take the “stage” at Douglas United Church of Christ. The title for the evening’s conversation is — “Poetry and the Spirit: A Conversation with Pastor Sal and Poet Jack” Seating is limited to the first 100 who get tickets. Ticket sales will be posted here and on Facebook soon!

 

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Bus Driver

At the college where I got to teach, classes were held on Labor Day. The reason often given was that if there are no classes, the first year students might go home and not return, perhaps victims of homesickness.

I may be mistaken, but I don’t recall any events, ceremonies, lectures, or services at that school that celebrated or taught or honored those who labor, those who cleaned the restrooms, responded to 85 papers within a few days, performed surgery, changed the newborn’s diaper at 3am, stood up for justice… You can add to the list.

My grandfather spent fifty years, eight hours a day, working the assembly line at Westinghouse Air Brake. The least I could do was spend the class hour reading labor poems to the students.

We certainly can’t say that 45 has ever labored. All he’s ever done is whatever he wants. That, obviously, is not labor. That is acting out as a spoiled brat, and spoiled brats invariably put others at risk, whether at recess, or, in his case, with the world’s lives.

Each day those of us under his rule must consistently and unwillingly labor at dealing with “Now what’s he said or done!?”

Bus Driver

Standing at the back door, waiting
while the bus’s engine hums
against the dark cold, its exhaust
a flume chilling into ice, melting
the snow beneath it, Driver, hands
in pockets, draws on his cigarette,
exhales, and feels the mean language
of age move in his bones.

Behind him, in the losers’ locker room,
he knows his boys are dressing slowly,
staring into mirrors, setting their
wet hair straight, frowning at the way
they have to look, trying to think of
anything but the silent ride home.

The snow, packed hard now in mid-winter,
squeaks under foot, and the air freezes
in the lungs, burns like a tongue
stuck to a frozen lamppost. Driver
glances at the bus, “Wilson Public Schools”
in black letters along its side, then up into
the sky, clouds crossing the full moon’s
light like angels trying to comfort

anyone against a loss. The players
come out, pass him, step up into
the bus, find their seats. Coach
gets on last, sits in front. Driver
takes a last draw, feels the smoke
mix in his lungs, exhales, drops
the butt, a quiet hiss into the ice,
gets on and pulls the warm bus out,
across the empty lot, down a block,
left onto the highway home.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Poetry East.

Subsequently published in Losing Season (CavanKerry Press)

Donald Revell has published Sudden Eden, a collection of his essays on poetry from Parlor Press. You want this book.

And Naomi Shihab Nye’s new collection is The Tiny Journalist, from BOA. Each poem is written in the voice of a young Palestinian girl witnessing the atrocities of war. You want this one too.

Both Donald and Naomi have been abidingly supportive of this scribbler’s work.

Well here’s a late learning experience for ya. And a hilarious joke on me. I have always assumed XO meant hugs and kisses. Today I learned it’s kisses and hugs. If any of you have been offended, or otherwise provoked, by my signing off with kisses, please alter them to hugs. From now on—-OOO.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

I Almost Saw a Rabbit Today

Let’s all go in together and buy Greenland.

I doubt YOU would leave your chair empty at the G7 and say that you already know all about the environment.

This week, thanks to that wonderful soul Pat Barnes, I’m letting the gift of the late Toni Morrison speak to and for us. Thank you, Pat, for sending me the following quote:

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

Even if we feel we can do little-to-nothing to stop the damage, within it we can place that which is good, sustaining, beautiful, caring.

I Almost Saw a Rabbit Today

He was wearing a Boursin homburg hat
and the sky was coated in blue after a night,
clear, dappled with stars, a crescent moon’s

arc all but rocking slowly under Venus’s
modest vigil. He looked at me. I waved.
Then the angels, four of them, got up and

walked from the porch, picked up
the horseshoes and began a game.
It was quiet, silent really, silent as

the stars’ light, except for the ring
of the clink after each angel’s fling,
one horseshoe after another clinging

to the rusty iron stakes. The rabbit
sat up, watched a dozen tosses, then
hopped on, none of us thinking

it wise or kind to follow. When one
of the angels missed, the game ended,
and back on the porch we talked it over.

–Jack Ridl

from Saint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press)

Two new collections you will appreciate, ones that attend to what we deserve to attend to–

Elizabeth S.E. McBride’s Most Beautiful: Inspired by the Village of Glen Arbor and The Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, is a collection of her writings and the art of Connie Cronenwett, and can be ordered through The Poetry Box.

Phillip Sterling’s Amateur Husbandry from Mayapple Press (Preorder October 1)

 

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Thinking Again of My Daughter

Our daughter is a teacher, an art teacher. School started this week. Years ago during her first years of teaching, I would smile thinking about her and her students and the wonderful world each would be creating every day by doing art work, each student creating out of what they cared about, each learning from her how to bring their individual vision into being.

Now? I think about that very same possibility and hope, rather than know for sure, that it will happen once again. The school’s doors are locked; security is vigilant; everyone knows what to do in case, and during the pre-school meetings the police instructed the faculty what to do.

I know there is no evidence, no “data” that proves 45 has influenced violence’s terrible increase. All I do know is that implied permission from any leader opens the possibility for those who dementedly believe they are standing up for the hate he speaks.

I, like parents everywhere, hope every day that our daughter returns home smiling over what her fledgling artists have experienced, that they return home.

Thinking Again of My Daughter

Tonight the clouds moved on, and the stars lay
flat against the sky’s black backdrop. The moon

sat full beneath Jupiter’s deceptive white glow,
and Orion seemed to be falling headfirst toward

some anonymous emptiness. I sat on the couch,
skimming across television’s landscape, tapping

the remote like some anachronistic telegraph
operator. Flicking into the past, I saw her

watching walruses heaving their inopportune
selves onto a shoal of ice, Bugs Bunny thumbing

his twitching nose at Elmer Fudd’s exasperated
lack of r’s, music videos, Sesame Street, even

the news and the History Channel. I paused
to watch an evangelist, became as mesmerized

as she did when she first saw Mr. Rogers. I
watched his hands, how they were able to point,

to lift themselves like dumb birds toward only
the roof. I thought how my father had always

pulled my hands out of my pockets, how even
today they feel strangely vulnerable hanging

at my sides. You had lunch today with your
granddaughter. You had a salad and some

pasta. You had dessert. You took her home.
When the news comes on tonight, I’ll watch,

knowing tomorrow night the stars will have
moved. And in the morning, I will walk

the dog, trying not to pull him away when
he stops, fixes his nose on a clump of leaves.

–Jack Ridl

From Saint Peter and the Goldfinch (Wayne State University Press)

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

 

One Childhood

I have wasted a lot of time trying to figure out a way to say what it feels like to live under the reign of 45. This is as close as I have come.

One Childhood

Maybe that hesitation
just before I crossed
the street brought
the old woman to
the window. She
looked out, the way
a monk looks into
a prayer, then turned
and disappeared
into the dark of her
living room. That’s
when I crept into
her yard, touched
the gray-green bark
on the old elm draping
itself across her porch,
then ran down into
the ravine behind her
gardens, knowing she
could rise up through
the chimney, float
down, point, and
turn me into a yellow
cat sitting on the front
porch rail, or into
a star hanging in
the night. The door
opened, and I heard
her call for her father.
I felt anonymous as
any stone, and knew
that even she
carries what we carry.

–Jack Ridl

Published in Waymark — Voices of the Valley, June 2019

Really, really, really honored: The City of Douglas is naming me their Poet Laureate. I love this place and these people, and will love representing the community in this way. A proclamation will be read at the August 19th city council meeting, in the Douglas City Hall on Center Street, downtown, where I will also read a poem, at  7:00 pm. Join us if you can. Then go enjoy a beverage and a snack at the Respite Cappucino Court, or dine or grab a cocktail at one of Douglas’ great restaurants, or go gaze at the Bayou from the park, or just promenade on Center Street. Or, or, or! Head to the free Douglas Beach to watch the sun set. And you’ll see why I love this place. So. Much. Special thanks to Respite’s Renee, former mayor and instigator.

Here’s some really good news that I neglected to include a bit ago: The poet Kathleen McGookey, that masterful composer of the prose poem, has published a new collection — Nineteen Letters, a stunning hardback, each poem printed on a different color paper. BarCat Press and produced in cooperation with Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School.

 

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Coach Dreams of Being on Vacation

Did I… did we… hear correctly?

Did 45 really say that there is no room for hate in America?

Oh he’ll get out of this one by saying he only hates those who hate, and that’s why he is justified in attacking any who disagree with him. Look it up in Roget’s: Synonym for hate — to disagree.

Sigh. And that prompts my gratitude for the abundance of care, kindness, and well-wishes as I take a few months to recover from cervical surgery.

Julie and I do indeed live in an alternative, deeply caring world that won’t quit within the depersonalized world at large. Thinking small is paradoxically thinking big.

I grew up in one of the strangest worlds where hate thrives: Sports. I have never understood the emotional investment in one’s team winning or losing. As my father once told a sportswriter, “I love this game. What I don’t understand is why all these people place their emotional well-being in my and my team’s hands. Let’s care about what really matters.”

How have we turned our political party into sports franchises?

Coach Dreams of Being On Vacation

Swathed in Number 4 Coppertone, Coach
sits in his beach chair, watching
the Atlantic roll itself toward his toes,
his belly white as a gull’s,
the sun playing him tight.

He listens to the waves, the children squealing,
the stockbrokers still talking big bucks
as their wives try to coax them offshore,
and the teenagers laughing as they roll
under the cool water or whispering

as they bake next to each other, fingers
laced. Suddenly he wants to buy
some jeans, open his shirt, take
his wife across state lines.
But his brain’s a gym.

Every move he makes draws jeers.
Even here, dreaming himself a surfer,
builder of sandcastles, a stud
who strolls the shoreline, or just
leaning back into the sand to feel

the salt air sift across his body,
he can hear the catcalls — “You’re
a bum, Coach. You’re a lousy bum.”

–Jack Ridl

First published in Poetry East
Anthologized in Men of Our Time (University of Georgia Press)
Subsequently published in Losing Season (CavanKerry Press)

Sure bummed about having to cancel The Red Dock Reading. Mark Hiskes and D.L. James will join me next year, the second Tuesday in August.

The reading with Greg Rappleye at The Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague has been postponed until the holiday season. Date and time TBA.

A fascinating new memoir in poems, Portals by Nancy Owen Nelson, has just been released from Kelsey Books. “We enter Nelson’s liminal dreamscape into poems populated by Becket, Godot, Hemingway, even Johnny Cash,”–Kelly Fordon, author of the recently published Goodbye Toothless House.

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection

Trainer Teaches Eight Phys Ed Classes a Day

These past weeks I experienced the most consistent kindness that has ever come my way other than from my wife. I was at Holland Hospital, and the staff there created an exceptional fusion of professionalism, expertise, and warmth.

Imagine a world where this is a universal incarnation.

I once knew a minister who greeted everyone with “Hi ______! Man, you look really good and with all that’s going on right now in your life . . . ” He knew.

I wonder what it might be like if we gently assumed the pain of one another and greeted each other with such understanding, compassion?

Trainer Teaches Eight Phys Ed Classes a Day

And he goes to
every game. He
knows pain’s
every name, lets it
lead him through
its landscape
to the perfect
place to stay.

He’s a priest
listening
to the mortal
sins within
the skin, the
muscles, blood,
and bone.

If pain refuses
to confess,
he prays
his prayer,
says, “Can you
still go?”
Knows.

–Jack Ridl

First published in Nebraska Territory
Subsequently published in Losing Season (CavanKerry Press)

I’ve hit a bump in the road, requiring surgery and a long healing time. And that means unscheduling or rescheduling a few things:

The August 13 Reading at the Red Dock will be postponed until next year.

The August 20 Reading at Book Nook in Montague will be rescheduled for some time in the fall or winter.

Good News! Noah Davis, son of long time friend/poet/writer/environmentalist Todd Davis, has won the Emerging Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize from MSU Press!

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Visit Reader’s World or Hope-Geneva Bookstore in Holland, The Bookman in Grand Haven, the Michigan News Agency in Kalamazoo, and The Book Nook & Java Shop in Montague to find Jack’s books in West Michigan.

Jack’s page on Amazon.

Click here to subscribe to receive Jack’s poems and news in your inbox.

Click here for Jack’s entire collection, In Time — poems for the current administration.

Click here to watch Jack’s TedX talk.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Kindness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Everyday Forgiveness.

Jack at Fetzer Institute on Empathy.

Jack Ridl at Fetzer Institute on Suffering and Love.

Beyond Meaning with Jack Ridl, C3: West Michigan’s Spiritual Connection