Kim Rosen is a performance poet, a calling I’d never heard of until I read one of her books, Saved By A Poem. She came to Sarasota last weekend and conducted a workshop that was inspiring, energizing, comforting, and magical. I was particularly struck by the quiet power of a woman who’s using her unique talents in a way she’s carved out for herself.
I don’t imagine it’s been easy. Americans as a society don’t value poetry except as the lyrics of popular music or rap. Even then, we don’t honor its transformative power the way people in some other societies do. To Kim, it is both healing and entheogenic, a word I’d never heard of until I heard her use it. Its dictionary meaning is “creates god within.” I think Kim means it in the sense of making you aware of God within, of awakening the holy and pure in yourself.
Through Kim, I’ve learned that a poem has to be read over and over to get its full meaning, that it has to be repeated aloud and carried around with you and thought about to get it in your bones. The beautiful lines are easy. Think, for example, about this incredible line from a David Whyte poem, “The Lightest Touch”:
In the silence that follows
a great line
you can feel Lazarus
even the laziest, most deathly afraid
part of you
lift up his hands and walk toward the light.
But beautiful lines may not teach you as much as the lines you reject. The parts that bore you or annoy you have to be considered and questioned. Why does that particular line bother you? Why does it make you sneer or yawn? What does it touch in you that you want to keep hidden from yourself?
Those are the questions I’m asking myself since Kim’s workshop. If you get a chance to experience Kim in person, jump at it. It’s truly a entheogenic experience.