Emerging Form
Emerging Form
Episode 34: Creative mindfulness with James Crews

Episode 34: Creative mindfulness with James Crews

How might stillness and a heightened sense of awareness infuse your creative endeavors? In this episode we speak with poet, editor and writing coach James Crews about how a daily mindfulness practice can help us meet creative stumbling blocks such as self-judgment and writer’s block with more clarity, curiosity, acceptance and even surprise. Can mindfulness be a hindrance to creativity? Are there “rules” for how and when to to do it? Can being quiet really help an art that depends on words? How might your creativity infuse your mindfulness? 

James Crews is the author of four collections of poetry, The Book of What Stays, Telling My Father, Bluebird, and Every Waking Moment. He is also the editor of two anthologies: Healing the Divide: Poems of Kindness and Connection and How to Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope. His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, The Sun, The New Republic, The New York Times Magazine, and have been reprinted in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry and featured on Tracy K. Smith’s podcast, The Slowdown. Crews teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Eastern Oregon University and lives with his husband on an organic farm in Vermont.

John Kabat-Zinn

Sharon Salzberg

Jane Hirshfield

Naomi Shihab Nye

Darn Lucky

for James Crews

It happens, you know—the day opens itself

like a tulip in a warm room, and you meet someone

who amazes you with their willingness

to be a thousand percent alive, someone

who makes you feel grateful to be you.

And it’s as if life has been keeping a beautiful

secret from you—like the fact that they make

elderberry flowers into wine. Like muscadine.

Like the yellow-green floral scent of quince.

Like the perfect knot for tying your shoes.

And it turns out life does have wonderful

secrets waiting for you. Even when the news

makes you cry. Even when some old pain returns,

that’s when you will meet this new friend.

Someone wholly themselves. Someone

who makes you smile in the kitchen, a smile so real

that when you go out, the whole world notices.

It’s enough to make you want to wake up in the morning.

To go into the day. To be unguarded as a tulip, petals

falling open. You never know who you might meet.

--Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

Emerging Form
Emerging Form
Emerging Form is a podcast about the creative process in which a journalist (Christie Aschwanden) and a poet (Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer) discuss creative conundrums over wine. Each episode concludes with a game of two questions in which a guest joins in to help answer questions about the week's topic. Season one guests include poets, novelists, journalists, a song writer, a circus performer, a sketch artist and a winemaker.