Everyday Magic

Everyday Magic: Field Notes on the Mundane and Miraculous

Meadowlark Press, Release date: December 2, 2017. ISBN: 987-0-9966801-5-8.  422 pages. $24.99

Buy your signed copy from Caryn now.

Also available through Meadowlark Press here, and Amazon.  Also available in Lawrence, Kansas at the Raven Bookstore, and Signs of Life. 

Everyday Magic features the best of Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's blog of the same title, exploring the mundane and miraculous unfolding around us, and how to live with greater verve, meaning and joy. Journey through whimsical, tender, and fierce explorations of travel and homecoming, beloveds and the art of loving, grief and resilience, the arts and politics, spirit and being a body, and many other glimpses of being all-too-human in an astonishing world.

Reading this book is like having a wise friend take you by the hand and walk you down a healing path. Thank you, Caryn, for showing  us how to embrace the beauty, joy and pain in everyday life. ~ Harriet Lerner, Ph.D author of NYTimes bestseller The Dance of Anger and Why Won't You Apologize?

Many thanks to Caryn for these beautiful lessons in living, really living from a poet laureate who reminds you of your best friend. It's wonderful to feel so deeply inspired by a world that feels so deeply familiar. ~ Dar Williams, Singer-songwriter, and author of What I Found in 1,000 Towns

Like Da Vinci, Caryn is in love with the world, knows its many ways, excels at all she does, and captures the hidden emotion behind what she studies. Those gifts and skills manifest in volume in this collection of essays, where Caryn meditates on her world in all its daily-ness. Miracles are to be found everywhere, and Caryn finds them and pins them to the page. My world opens up, when I read these. Yours will too. ~ Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas, 2017-2019, All That Jazz

Enter the amazing world of genius writer Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg as she ruminates, rejoices, revels, and reflects. Her book Everyday Magic is a passport to her remarkable life as mother, wife, daughter-in-law, friend, professor, community leader, and writer. The author’s Wells Overlook homestead becomes as familiar as my kitchen table when I read scenes from her rocket-speed life. ~ Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009, author of Turtle’s Beating Heart

“It's not just a body, it's an adventure,” is the title of one of Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg's essays on the exceptionality of the everyday. This body of work is an adventure—not necessarily the roller-coaster-ride variety, but one of the turning of the moments of a life into opportunities for introspection, for sharing, for recognition that this instant in time is truly meaningful and lovely and deserving of notice. That Mirriam-Goldberg is a poet is evident here. Nothing gets by her, and she turns her observant eye to herself and those around her so lovingly that as we read we feel ourselves becoming a part of her community of friends and loved ones. Here we meet and grow to love a menagerie of people, dogs, cats, foibles, occasions of grief, days of joyous abandon, of all the ridiculous and sublime and ennobling and embarrassing things that enrich our lives and make our days worthwhile. Here is a paean to the human experience as is occurs: in the commonplace details and the nitty-gritty day-to-day unfolding of life, the individual seconds and minutes that make up what and who we are. After reading Caryn's book I found myself paying more attention, noticing those crystalline little orts of the day's events that so easily and often slip by beneath notice. And that is a precious gift. ~ Roy Beckemeyer, author of Music I Once Could Dance To

"Listening to another means learning a new language,” writes Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg. This former poet-laureate of Kansas is absolutely present in the world. This book is an invitation to join her in a celebration of mundane moments illuminated by her loving presence. Wrap yourself in a warm embrace of words. ~ Sherry Reiter, PhD, Director of The Creative Righting Center, and Poetry Therapy pioneer

Once I read the first piece in this book, I couldn't stop. Each piece is a window into a room in the author's mind, each so enticing that I wanted to see the next room, and the next. This house is a well-lived-in home, filled with compassion, honesty, wit and humility. ~ Doug Lipman, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award for storytelling, National Storytelling Network

In Everyday Magic, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg describes a spirit trip, her family’s drive to Colorado to visit a dying cousin. A spirit trip, she writes, is “usually sudden, regardless of what’s in the bank account or on the schedule, guided by a simple yearning to be with someone we love to say, hello, goodbye, I’m here for you.” With an open heart and often with sly humor, Caryn shares stories of bad vacations, burritos, family, faith, navigating a difficult childhood, and the passing of people dear to her. In these graceful essays I marvel, as always, at Caryn’s skill with language. Words are in her care and her command:  “a jewelry store run by paranoia and good taste,” . . . “slogging through the potholes of grief,” . . .  “The night smelled like roses, honeysuckle, car fumes, and popcorn.” As these essays journey through the joys and complications of life, Everyday Magic becomes a spirit trip in itself, a trip rich in depth and meaning, one that will remain in our hearts long after the last chapter is read. ~ Cheryl Unruh, author of Flyover People: Life on the Ground in a Rectangular State

This rich collection of 250 essays -- perfect as a gift, on a coffee table, or by your bedside -- explores everyday possibilities for magic and meaning with humor and tenderness.  There are tributes to Pete Seeger, Mexican food, bathrooms, Bruce Springsteen, playing the cello, Maxine Kumin, alleys, Adrienne Rich, Laura Nyro, making the bed, civil rights, the wonders of tea, wild weather, Marion McPartland, the desert, Ken Irby, Supertramp, installing a new toilet, Mary Chapin Carpenter, mothering hacks, and staying put in a community. Here are some other essays celebrating the glimmers of light in unexpected places:

  • The Glory of Failing
  • Satan Called: He Wants His Weather Back
  • Sorting Socks as a Rite of Passage
  • Dogs Are Better Than Us
  • Cats Taught Us To Lie
  • How Can You Not Love Kansas Basketball?
  • Lightning Bolt in the Rearview Mirror
  • How to Make a Decision About Anything
  • The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Parenting
  • The Horror and Humor of Family Vacations
  • 9/11 Ten Years Later from the Vantage Point of a Subway Dweller
  • The Insomniac and the Hour of the Coyote
  • Dance Like Everyone's Watching
  • The Scandals of Our Lives
  • If You Postpone a Flight a Dozen Times and Then Cancel It, the Revolution Begins
  • Humor in the Bureaucratic Rings of Hell at the DMV
  • I Wanted An Enchilada, I Got a Prairie Fire
  • A Big Gay Wedding for Kansas
  • Catching Mr. and Mrs. Rattlesnake Right Now
  • Why I'm a Crazy Bitch Sometimes
  • A Bedroom Full of Fireflies
  • Calicoco, the Flying Cat, or Why You Shouldn't Put a Feral Cat in Your Bathroom
  • The Everyday Magic of Rainbows

This book, artfully designed by Tracy Million Simmons, features dozens of photos and innovative luna moth illustrations, accenting each story with greater delight, depth, and surprise. 

Excerpt: "How to Live?"

A steady question has circled me for years like a song I can’t shake: “How to live?” When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, it was as if someone turned up the volume on this question, and since then, I have been regularly landing in moments when I felt para- lyzed as to what to do with myself to live the way I should. I would stand in the middle of my living room, debating whether to put my feet up and read a book, practice the cello, revise poetry, catch up on emails, do some yoga, take a walk, or clean out an obscure drawer. “What to do?” became the back beat behind “How to live?”

In the land of my mind, “How to live?” is a number one hit, playing simultaneously as gospel, rhythm and blues, hard-driving rock and roll (complete with Bruce Springsteen- like howls), familiar Irish gigs, complex but haunting folk songs, and as a blaring musical (think “Oklahoma” meets “Rent”). While I’m learning the various notes and hues of this question, I’m finding—to paraphrase the poet Rainer Maria Rilke—that I can only live my way into the answers, or, more likely, more questions.

Ironically enough, one of the clearest answers I get is to try to try less, something almost impossible for my grasping mind to inhabit, given my you’re-not-alive-unless-you’re -doing-something ways. Being my father’s daughter, I carry within me the legacy of working passionately, but also obsessively, springing into doing something related to my brilliant and exhausting career at any given moment (2 a.m.? No problem, I’ll just start up the computer; weekends? Oh, just this one thing and then . . . Vacation? Let me check my email first).

Yet my father died relatively young after too many years of constant illness and workaholism to see straight. After my own list-carrying decades, delighting in crossing things off and feeling generally compelled to immediately do whatever I think up, my very smart body now refuses to tolerate being dragged around like a pull toy from one overwhelm to the next.

I didn’t just realize the obvious easily. I sailed under the skies of low-grade, but chron- ic, unidentifiable illness since finishing chemo. After visiting my oncologist, various other doctors, energy healers, acupuncturists, massage therapists, psychics, dear friends, the self- subscribed-to myths of my past, and all manner of big pills (herbs, vitamins, amino acids) that came in glass bottles, I had a breakdown of sorts. In a small hotel room on the eighth floor of a Boston Marriott, in the middle of a conference at which I was presenting and helping organize, and in the middle of a herd of small ailments, from a wound on my foot to a migraine in my head, I heard one clear sentence: If you want to heal your life, you need to change your life.

Since that Boston epiphany, I started giving up things I used to do: extra work outside and inside of my teaching position, over-functioning with friends and family (on the premise that if I couldn’t fix my own life, I could fix someone else’s), and activities, thought-mazes and habits that took me away from being here, with myself as I am, in the present, whatever the weather. I’m a slow learner in the art of surrender (ten years after writing this post, I’m still immersed in these lessons). Give me an urgent task and high speed internet, and I’m easily tempted to go galloping in my mind toward whatever is asked. Give me an excuse, and I can convince myself it’s fine to take on more work. But the imperative to live a life of meaning has been a patient and persistent teacher. My health, which tends to go south easily and for prolonged periods if I don’t listen to my body, reinforces what I need to do . . . or not do.

I’ve also been discovering something entirely thrilling and not so unexpected: Living with greater self-care, discipline and awareness makes me outrageously happy. In the fall, I love watching the deer empty our bird feeder, as I watch from inside the house, still under the weight of the motor-purring kitten. I love the winter’s open space and time that’s always been right here, like the sky—sometimes variegated in golden pinks and grays through the bare branches of the sycamore—when I’m waiting at a stoplight. I love long stretches at home, and because I’m still hard-wired to keep doing things, using these stretches to re-organize the linen closet, make collages, or stare at old pictures of my parents and siblings. There is such a profound joy in the simple and constant art of cultivating space.

How to live is no longer such a cross-blends of many stations playing at once, but more like a heart beat. Its rhythm is all around me. All I need to do is listen.

Essays, Poems & Songs

Kelley Hunt and Caryn after one of their songwriting adventures

Check Out Engaging Essays, Poems, Podcasts & Videos

Featured Essays & Interviews: 

Featured Poems:

Featured Songs, Podcasts & Videos:

Anthologies:

Upcoming Events

June 23, 2018 - 2:00pm
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library 1515 SW 10th Ave
Topeka, Kansas
June 23, 2018 - 7:00pm
Temple Beth Sholom, 4200 SW Munson
Topeka, Kansas
June 30, 2018 - 10:00am
Temple B'Nai Israel, 4901 N. Pennsylvania
Oklahoma City, OK
June 30, 2018 - 4:00pm
Watermark Bookstore, 4701 E. Douglas
Wichita, KS 67218
July 8, 2018 - 10:00am
Temple Ohev Shalom, 5711 W. 75th St.
Prairie Village, KS 66208
July 13, 2018 - 7:00pm
Mojo Coffee Gallery, 2205 California St.
Minneapolis, MN
August 3, 2018 - 5:30pm
Burkholder Project, 719 P Street Haymarket District
Lincoln, Nebraska
September 20, 2018 -
Benedictine College
Atchison, KS
September 13, 2018 - 4:00pm
Washburn University
Topeka, Kansas
September 27, 2018 - 6:30pm
Basehor Community Library 1400 158th St.
Basehor, Kansas

Teaching Transformation

Teaching Transformation

Teaching Transformation: Progressive Education in Action is edited by Lise Weil and Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg with an introduction by Elizabeth K. Minnich. This book, published by the Goddard Graduate Institute (GGI), is a collaborative project between GGI faculty, students, and alumni. We are grateful to Goddard College’s Fund for Experiments and New Initiatives for supporting this project.

Buy a signed copy from Caryn. Or for your free download, please click here. Also available at Lulu.com through this link and  Amazon here.

Here’s an interview on “The Magical Mystery Tour” with several contributors to the book — Lise Weil, Sarah Van Hoy, Katt Lissard, Lori Wynters, and Karen Campbell — on WDGR.

Please scroll down to peruse our contents and contributors.

CONTENTS

  • Time to Tell Our Story: Preface by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
  • Introduction: The Moral, Political Action of Education by Elizabeth K. Minnich
  • Vision from the Ground by Sarah Bobrow-Williams
  • Leading and Following: A Perspective on Teaching and Learning by Ruth Farmer
  • The Virtual and Place-Based Culture of the Goddard Graduate Institute by Karen Campbell
  • Rigor, the Ridiculous, and Radical Resonance: Transitory Community and the Construction of History by Katt Lissard
  • What Happens at a Goddard Residency (and Why Is It So Hard to Explain)? by Lori Wynters
  • A Kitchen Table Discussion on Transformative Language Arts with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Minna Dubin, Deb Hensley, Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams, Kao Kue, Joanna Tebbs Young, and Angie River
  • Embodiment Studies: “Academia as a School of Life” by Lise Weil, Juliana Borrero, Emilee Baum Trucks, Katie Soule, Sonja Swift, Kate Lidfors Miller, and Britta Love
  • Homecoming and Prayer: “Not To Be Cut Off” by Susan Pearson, Linda Schneck, and Bernadette Miller
  • “Goddard is a Place for People Willing to Bet on Themselves”: Graduates Steve Wright, Kris Hege, Karl Stenske, Mike Alvarez, Nicolette Stosur-Bassett, David White, Justin Kagan, and Larry Greer
  • Undiagnosed Visionaries by Sarah Van Hoy

Teaching Transformation also includes an appendix of Graduating Student Presentations, and resources.

Reviews & Excerpts

Teaching Transformation: Progressive Education in Action shares vibrant stories of how students in the Goddard Graduate Institute's Individualized MA, Social Innovation and Sustainability, and Health Arts and Sciences programs find and enact their vision, make and keep community, and foster enduring social change and ecological stewardship.

It comes to me again that knowing, feeling, thinking are intrinsically moral, and political: they concern how we relate, or fail to. This is also why acting and making, during which we are more used to being attentive to social and material possibilities and effects, can be invaluable in learning. ~ Elizabeth K. Minnich, Introduction to Teaching Transformation

We don’t offer a packaged curriculum where someone else has decided what constitutes knowledge, has organized that knowledge, has weeded out what they deem unimportant, and has emphasized what makes most sense to them. Our students don’t sit in classes and receive ideas. They don’t reproduce what already exists. Instead, Goddard students participate in shaping knowledge; they enter the collective conversation and move it in new directions. They are not satisfied with given meanings and comfortable practices. They are co-creating something that doesn’t always fit those givens. They are deciding what is important to them. Like the thawing of springtime, Goddard students take what has been frozen in place and they melt it and rework it, and in so doing they rebirth the world in their vision - their vision of justice, their vision of love, their vision of wellbeing and wholeness. ~ Sarah Van Hoy, “Undiagnosed Visionaries”

Teaching Transformation, crafted by visionaries dedicated to the preservation and reconceptualization of progressive, experimental education, provides us with the blueprints for teaching at the edges of what is known, and points the way toward an embodied, enchanted interdisciplinarity. ~ Kathleen Kesson, Professor of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership at LIU-Brooklyn

Discover, through writing by students, faculty, and alumni, how Goddard College transforms learning and provides students the tools they need most in dealing with all the complex issues facing their communities. ~ Sebastian Marino, delegate, Palau National Congress; Goddard Graduate

"Goddard changed my life" is a popular phrase at graduations. Teaching Transformation is a gold mine of ideas written by those on the front-lines of progressive educational about ethical, moral and political nature of education; the culture conditioning on learning; the need for "seeing the world through new eyes"; and developing capacities of awareness, receptivity, deep listening, and response. ~ Richard Schramm, former faculty at Goddard, Columbia, Cornell, Tufts, and MIT.

Following the Curve

Spartan Press, 2017. $12.  Signed copies available through the author here. In Lawrence, pick up your copy at The Raven Bookstore, or Signs of Life, and at the Yoga Center of Lawrence, all in downtown Lawrence; available on Amazon.

“All spiritual journeys have a destination of which the traveler is unaware," Martin Buber writes, and in this collection of embodied poetry, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg journeys into the cusp of art and soul to explore what it is to be a body across life changes and ages. The poems here speak to poetry in motion as well as breathing into the deeper experience of yoga and embodiment. Whether you practice yoga or not, these poems can expand your perspective of living in and being a body in motion and stillness, youth and age, alone and with others.

Listen to Caryn reading from Following the Curve on New Letters on the Air here

Read a review by Roy Beckemeyer in River City Poetry.

Excerpt: I Love This Body That's Not the Way I Thought

like I love lightning, and especially its aftermath:

a horizon balancing blue sky, dying thunderheads,

faint stars, open space—the whole world stretching

its arms two directions at once, just as I do,

shaking myself steady, remembering how this body loves

miles of sidewalk diminishing into a faint path

made by deer with genius for merging the visible.

I love the walk out of what I thought even if

my feet hurt, I'm scared by the blank stare of the sun,

or I've surrendered to how the subway sways its chant

along my spine as it cups this body in its seat.

I love the flash of yearning that turns this body

toward the dark or bright branches of sex or dreams,

all this weather informs these limbs and muscles

in the seasons that come and go, or that came and went:

the mechanisms of cell-building, the three children

from that flint-on-flint spark, the years before

walking sunsets out of housing developments,

and earlier, the fast slim legs that galloped me

down long apartment hallways as the girl

who knew how to tell herself to stay curious,

just as the woman who woke from the old pain,

and put on her walking shoes to head out into billions

of atoms shifting into fire or flower at every turn.

Table of Contents

Following the Curve

Hold to the Center

The Women Learn the Invocation to Patanjali

Getting Started

Healing

Child's Pose (Balasana)

Am I My Feet?

Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)

The Yoga of Illness

I Love This Body That's Not the Way I Thought

Mountain (Tadasana)

In the Middle of the Yoga Studio

The Dead Poets' Yoga Class

Sun Salutation (Suyra Namaskar)

The Yoga of Memory

Finding the Fire (Tapas)

Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II)

Body of Time

Triangle (Trikonasana)

The Yoga of Injustice, Betrayal, and Anxiety

Self-Study (Svadhyaya)

Tree (Vrksasana)

The Yoga of Trees

Balancing on the Equinox

Half Moon (Ardha Chandrasana)

What the Ocean Can Know of a Body

Find Your Seat (Uktakasana)

The Yoga of Old Wounds

Devotion (Ishvara-Pranidhara)

Prayer Twist (Namaskar Parsvakonasana)

Let the Body Speak

The Dharma of the Arms

Forearm Plank (Makara Adho Mukha Svanasana)

Pigeon (Kapotasana)

Headstand (Sirsasana)

Why I Do Yoga on the Tenth Anniversary of My Father's Death

I Sing to My Bones

The Yoga of Forgiveness

Yoga Class Overlooking Four Oxen, Three Cars, Two Pick-Up Trucks, and One Blue Heron

What's Pure (Saucha)

The Yoga of Sex

The Holy

Corpse Pose (Savasana) at the End of Yoga Class

Contentment (Santosh)

Your Body is a Conversation With the World

Chasing Weather

chasing-weather-new-web-site

Chasing Weather: Tornadoes, Tempests, and Thunderous Skies in Word & Image

by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Stephen Locke

Winner, Kansas Notable Book Midwest Booksellers Assn. Best Pick

Buy your copy from Caryn, delivered or shipped to you for free. Also available in Lawrence, Kansas at the Raven Bookstore, and Signs of Life, and at the Merc. Also at Ice Cube Press, and on Amazon.

Our Story: We love weather. As a girl, it was love at first storm for Caryn, who grew up in the east. When she landed in Kansas, shUntitlede was hooked for life. Stephen, who grew up in Boulder, Colorado, was captivated by the afternoon thunderstorms from the mountains, especially the cloud-to-ground lightning. We met on Facebook when Stephen asked Caryn the very question she was about to ask him: do we want to create a book together of poetry and photography? For the last four years, we've been creating a whole body of new work in word and image of thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail storms, panoramic lightning, sunset and midnight storms, and spectacular supercells. Weather subtly shapes our days, infuses our moods and interactions, and at times, completely re-orients our lives. Catching moments of stunning beauty and surprising shifts in the sky helps make the vibrant and variable world more visible to us, and shows us how to truly see where and who we are.

Words of Praise for Chasing Weather:

August 17, 2009: The Watonga supercell, rotating wall cloud/updraft base, cloud to ground lighting, Oklahoma

“This ravishing call and response between a fearlessly roving artist-with-a-camera (Locke) and a lyric laureate of the heart’s workings under Kansas heavens (Mirriam-Goldberg) is both glorious and intimate. Wonderfully illustrating the dynamism and vastness of prairie skies and prairie soul, Chasing Weather is a volume to treasure in these stormy times.” ~ Stephanie Mills, author, Tough Little Beauties and Epicurean Simplicity

“The photographs are tempest wars, but a war of flowers and silence and color and God’s calling his/her poems out over the land. And the poems are silver threads that weave through the darkening sky and gates and light unspooling from the heart’s loom a dream of joy and ancestral echoes.” ~ Jimmy Santiago stephen_locke_MG_0355Baca, author, A Glass Of Water and Singing At The Gates and founder, Cedar Tree, Inc.

“What a beautiful book, a gorgeous pairing of photos and poetry! These images are at once alluring and startling, awe-inspiring and terrifying—the joining of heaven and earth. Chasing Weather unlocks the power of nature on the Great Plains—the ever changing, fascinating drama of the sky.” ~ Mary Swander, Poet Laureate of Iowa, author, Farmscape: The Changing Rural Environment

“When the poems in this book, billowing among images that take my breath, say ‘the sky is made of rivers before and after they become rivers,’ and ‘the sycamore buds into tomorrow,’ savoring ‘the threat to come and the yearning to plant,’ I am swept away like a leaf before the storm. I pity people who don’t know a sky like this, who don’t have these words of electric insight, spoken true, blessing the open country at the mercy of the storm.”~ Kim Stafford, editor, Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by William Stafford

“Being a native Kansan, I thought I had a clear image of what stormy, tornado-ridden skies looked and felt like, but after seeing Stephen Locke’s astonishing, almost surreal photographs, I realize how much I had missed. Coupled with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s lyrical, other-worldly poetry, the photographs come to life and suddenly I can see my beloved Heartland in a whole new way.”~ Kelley Hunt, singer/songwriter, The Beautiful Bones

“Mother Nature’s ever-changing mood often leads to a paradoxical juxtaposition of fury and tranquility on the Great Plains. For the photographer, that moment of perfection can last but a fraction of a second. Stephen Locke possess that unique blend of passionate dedication, preparedness, extreme patience, and a keen eye, capturing nature’s balancing act in a way that many try, but few succeed.  Well done !”~ Evan Bookbinder, Meteorologist, Information Technology Officer at US National Weather Service

Have Us Present Chasing Weather in Your Community!

Since Chasing Weather came out, Stephen and Caryn have given a vibrant presentation -- featuring a virtual storm chase in photography, videos, poetry, and stories -- at many libraries, festivals, community centers, bookstore, colleges, and universities, including Truman State University, Johnson County Community College, Linwood Public Library (KS), Boone County Historical Society (MO), Eat My Words Bookstore (MN), Emporia State University, Pittsburg State University, and many more venues. We would love to come to your community too!

See our Press Kit for more details.Please contact Caryn at CarynMirriamGoldberg@gmail.com or 785/766-7159 to talk about the details, including fees (negotiated based on what works for us all). We love to travel with our books and weather stories.

What People Are Saying About Our Chasing Weather Presentations:

About to Chase WeatherChasing Weather took a packed house on a poetic journey into the heart of some of Kansas’s most terrifyingly beautiful storms.  Free State Festival audiences found Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg’s words and Stephen Locke’s images fascinating, and the concluding virtual storm chase gave everyone the opportunity to experience the thrills of a Kansas tornado from the safety of their seats. -- Sarah Bishop, coordinator of Free State Arts Festival

In a spellbinding presentation, Caryn and Stephen strike at the heart of the storm. Through poetry and striking photography and video, these two reveal the power of a tornado as well as the power of words and images to depict and express this frightening and awe-inspiring weather many of us in this part of the country know so well. -- Kevin Rabas, Chair - English, Modern Languages, and Journalism, and co-director, Creative Writing Program, Emporia State University

Chasing Weather is a memorable work that combines striking photographs with lyrical poetry, and a presentation by the authors brought the book to life for our community. The dynamic presentation combined a moving poetry reading with a virtual storm chase, then engaged the audience with a thorough Q&A and discussion. The event drew a big crowd, and a wide range of ages. Our library customers enjoyed meeting the authors after the event, and left in high spirits. Many attendees noted that they enjoyed the program, and that they learned about storm chasing, too. -- Miranda Ericsson, Topeka Public Library

Excerpt: "What the Sky is Made Of"

The sky is made of soft rain and hard light,

the old yearning to be held, the ancient fear of not

having enough, and the fountain of wind that says,

Something’s gone, something else is arriving.

The sky is made of rocks shattered finer than

the smallest atoms of human memory, air we call breath

once we take it in and turn it to motion, anger, or song.

The beating of hummingbird wings compose the sky,

as well as the fluttering of muscle on muscle, the space

in between the rain, the drum of the jackrabbit's heart.

The sky is made of rivers before and after they become rivers.