Poetry & Writing

Poetry, essays, columns and more

Poetry rises up in human societies when official words fail us and we lose sight of how to find our way back to one another. It has moved to the heart of what we offer on the radio and in podcasts, in digital spaces, and in gatherings.

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These poems offer fresh ways to understand the world and one another.

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Explore our collection of writings, formerly known as the On Being Blog.

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When the peacebuilder John Paul Lederach reflected on his work with communities across the globe, he said one question sat at the heart of his work: “Where did we nourish and foster the creative imagination that permits you to bring into the world something that does not now exist? That’s the…
https://onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Loitering-for-CD.mp3   I’m sitting at a café in Detroit where in the door window is the sign with the commands NO SOLICITING NO LOITERING stacked like an anvil. I have a fiscal relationship with this establishment, which I developed by buying a coffee, and which makes…
https://onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/555-867-5309-for-CD.mp3   Today I was sitting down to a meeting with my friends Dave and Kayte to discuss the excerpt of Kayte’s graphic novel our little press is going to publish. When Kayte pulled the box from her bag that contains all her beautifully drawn pages, her…
https://onbeing.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Joy-Is-Such-a-Human-Madness-for-CD.mp3 Editor’s note: The audio above begins midway through the essay. So writes Zadie Smith toward the end of her beautiful essay “Joy.” She gets there by explaining that she has an almost constitutional proclivity toward being pleased. She is a delight to cook for, she suggests, because your…