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


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