by Jean Janzen

In a poetry workshop years ago I was taught to test a poem with three questions: Is it true? Is it beautiful? Does it lead the reader to her own experience? I suggest that these same questions lie within the question: Is this a poem that promotes peace? When a poem reaches into the complexity and wonder of human existence, we are invited to move beyond prejudice and opinion, and sense our commonality. When the poem finds shape and music, we enter a beauty which draws us toward harmony in ourselves and with others. Because the mystery of the Transcendent is a truth we carry in our bodies, we seek language for holiness and grace which offers peace with the other and the Other.

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