John Brehm: The Dharma of Poetry (#106)


For this episode of the Wisdom Podcast, host Daniel Aitken interviews poet and teacher John Brehm. Wisdom is proud to have published two of John’s books: his collection The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy, which came out in 2017, and his 2021 book The Dharma of Poetry.

In this episode we explore the fascinating and profound territory where spirituality and poetry come together, with John as our expert guide. John shares specific practices and ideas that will deepen and enhance your experience of reading poetry, including:

  • the specific techniques he uses for teaching the integration of poetry and spiritual practice;
  • how to mindfully read and reflect on your favorite poems, interacting with them on a deeper level;
  • how to approach poems from a nondual perspective, and how poems in turn can create a nondual experience for the reader;
  • what a meditative writing process looks like;
  • what it means to become intimate with a poem;
  • and much more.

John Brehm is the author of three books of poems—Sea of FaithHelp Is On the Way, and No Day at the Beach—and the associate editor of The Oxford Book of American PoetryHe teaches at the Mountain Writers Series in Portland, Oregon and the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado. He also offers a monthly Poetry as Spiritual Practice gathering online and leads mindfulness retreats with his wife, Alice Boyd, that include movement, guided meditation, and mindful poetry discussions.

About the Interviewee

John Brehm is the author of two award-winning books of poems, Help Is On the Way and Sea of Faith, and the associate editor of The Oxford Book of American Poetry. His poems have appeared in PoetryThe Southern ReviewNew Ohio ReviewThe SunThe Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, The Writer’s Almanac, The Norton Introduction to Literature, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and teaches for Literary Arts and Mountain Writers Series in Portland and for the Lighthouse Writers Workshop in Denver, Colorado.

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