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Vita Poetica Journal

Vita Poetica Journal

By Vita Poetica
A quarterly publication of the Vita Poetica Collective, our literary and arts journal features creative work explored through a spiritual lens. Vita Poetica connects artists of faith and cultivates spiritual development through the arts. Learn more about us at
Hosted by Vita Poetica Journal Editors
Music by John Morris
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The Visual Art of Jennifer Anne Moses & "Jonah" by Jeff Burt
We introduce the visual art of Jennifer Anne Moses, who has three paintings featured in our Summer issue. And hear Jeff Burt read his poem, "Jonah."  This is our last episode of this podcast season. We'll be back in October with our Fall issue and a new season of the Journal podcast. If you'd like to submit work to the journal, please visit our website, where you can find submission guidelines and read past issues.  Jennifer Anne Moses is a writer and self-taught artist. Both her visual and written work is informed by the many years she lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her most recent book is The Man Who Loved His Wife, a collection of short stories. Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and works in mental health. He has contributed to Williwaw Journal, Red Wolf Journal, Willows Wept Review, and Poetry and Places.
August 31, 2021
Poems by L. Ward Abel & Kathleen Gunton
L. Ward Abel reads "Cradle the Easter Wind," and Kathleen Gunton reads two centos: "Love's Radiant Play" and "Putting Words Next to Silence." All of the poems can be found in our Summer issue. L. Ward Abel’s work has appeared in Rattle, The Reader, The Istanbul Review, The Worcester Review, The Honest Ulsterman, hundreds of others, and he is the author of three full collections and ten chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UKA Press, 2006), American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012), Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), The Rainflock Sings Again (Unsolicited Press, 2019), Floodlit (Beakful, 2019), and The Width of Here (Silver Bow, 2021). Abel resides in rural Georgia. Kathleen Gunton is a poet/photographer who believes one art feeds another. Her words and images often appear in the same journal. Over fifty of her cento poems have appeared in publications such as Amethyst Review, Commonweal, The Cresset, Friends Journal, and Rhino—to name a few.
August 27, 2021
Two Poems by Jeannine Pitas
Jeannine Marie Pitas reads her poems, "The river that cuts a country in two" and "During the Sixth Extinction," from the Summer issue of our journal. Jeannine Marie Pitas is a teacher, writer, and Spanish-English literary translator living in Iowa, where she teaches at the University of Dubuque. Her first poetry collection, Things Seen and Unseen, was published by Mosaic Press in 2019. Her favorite poets include Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, and Delmira Agustini.
August 24, 2021
Poems by Karen Neuberg & Mark J. Mitchell
Karen Neuberg reads her poem "The Beginning in My Hands," and Mark J. Mitchell reads his poems "Secular Comedy" and "He Attempts to Explain His Religion." All poems can be found in the Summer issue of our journal. Karen Neuberg is a Brooklyn, NY,-based poet. She is the author of the full-length poetry collection, PURSUIT (Kelsay Press, 2019) and the chapbook, the elephants are asking (Glass Lyre, 2017). She holds an MFA from the New School and is associate editor of the online poetry journal First Literary Review-East. Mark J. Mitchell has been a working poet for forty years. His latest full-length collection is Roshi:San Francisco published by Norfolk Press. He lives with his wife, the activist, Joan Juster.
August 20, 2021
A Daily Examen for Living as an Anti-Racist Person
This episode features a contemplative prayer practice known as the "daily examen." Written by Vernée Wilkinson and Ted Wueste, and led by Rev. Mary Amendolia Gardner, "The Daily Examen for Living as an Anti-Racist Person" is published in the Contemplative Practice section of our Summer issue. This guided meditation lasts 10-15 minutes, with silences between steps. It is best listened to in a quiet place, perhaps with a journal to record your thoughts. Vernée Wilkinson is a spiritual director and nonprofit communications consultant. Dr. Ted Wueste has served in ministry for almost 30 years, with 22 of those years in pastoral ministry. Rev. Mary Amendolia Gardner is an ordained Anglican priest and spiritual director with Coracle and is currently pursuing a DMin at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, in Curating Community through the Arts.
August 17, 2021
Poems by Rachel Grandey & James Owens
Rachel Grandey reads "Morning Anointing," and James Owens reads "The Desert Prophets" and "Father to Son" -- all available in our journal's Summer issue. Rachel, originally from Northeast England, studied literature, linguistics, and anthropology before moving to Southeast Asia to teach English. She enjoys sea-gazing, bird-watching, tea-drinking, and early morning forest-exploring. Her proudest literary achievement to date is winning a signed Manchester United football in a poetry competition at the age of fourteen. James Owens's most recent book is Family Portrait with Scythe (Bottom Dog Press, 2020). New poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Grain, Queen's Quarterly, The Christian Century, and Dappled Things. He lives in a small town in northern Ontario.
August 13, 2021
A Conversation with Poet Edward A. Dougherty
Interviews Editor Emily Chambers Sharpe speaks with Edward A. Dougherty about the role of the imagination in the work of social justice; moral engagement as both a spiritual and a creative practice; and his most recent book, a collection of essays titled Journey Work: Crafting a Life of Poetry and Spirit (Apprentice House Press, March 2021). A transcript of this interview can also be found in our Summer issue online. Edward A. Dougherty earned his MFA from Bowling Green State University. In addition to his 11 collections of poetry, he’s been poetry editor at the Mid-American Review, a contributing editor at Rowboat: Poetry in Translation, and a regular contributor to American Microreviews & Interviews. He lives in the Finger Lakes region of New York State and is Professor of English at Corning Community College.
August 10, 2021
Poems by Rose Knapp and Gerard Sarnat
Poetry Editor Maggie Swofford reads "Rave Haiku" by Rose Knapp, and Gerard Sarnat reads his two poems, "Far Out Space Capsule Hygiene to Avoid Primal Screams" and "Mudita." All of these poems can be found in our Summer issue. Rose Knapp (she/they) is a poet and electronic producer. She has publications in Lotus-Eater, Bombay Gin, BlazeVOX, Hotel Amerika, Fence Books, Obsidian, Gargoyle, and others. She has poetry collections published with Hesterglock Press and Dostoyevsky Wannabe. She lives in Minneapolis. Find her at and on Twitter @Rose_Siyaniye. Gerard Sarnat, MD, has won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest and Poetry in Arts First Place Award/Dorfman Prizes. He has published in Buddhist Poetry Review, NY Times, among many others, as well as by Harvard, Stanford, Dartmouth, Penn, Chicago, and Columbia presses. A Stanford professor/healthcare CEO, Gerry has built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, devoted energy/resources toward climate justice on Climate-Action-Now’s board. Married since 1969, Gerry has nine grand/kids.
August 6, 2021
A "Slackness of the Soul" by Nicole M. Roccas
Nicole M. Roccas reads her essay, "A 'Slackness of the Soul': Finding Hope in the Existential Time Warp of Acedia."  Nicole M. Roccas is an author and communications professional who writes on matters of faith and spiritual struggle. She lives in the Toronto area and has a PhD in History. Find her on Instagram (@nicoleroccas) and her website (
August 3, 2021
Poems by Laurie Klein and Matthew J. Andrews
Laurie Klein reads "Eavesdropping on Absence," and Matthew J. Andrews reads "Whole and Entire" from our Summer issue. Laurie Klein is the author of Where the Sky Opens (Poeima/Cascade). A multiple Pushcart nominee and Merton Prize-winner, she lives in the Pacific Northwest. You can see photos of the bowl that inspired Laurie's poem on Vita Poetica's Instagram account or Facebook page, and read more about the bowl on Laurie's blog. Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom Review, Funicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review, among others. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He can be contacted at
July 29, 2021
On Temporal Tranquility by Cheryl Sadowski
Our Reviews Editor, Lila Stiff, reads Cheryl Sadowski's piece, "On Temporal Tranquility," a review of the book Breaking Bread with the Dead: A Reader's Guide to a More Tranquil Mind by Alan Jacobs. Cheryl Sadowski writes creative nonfiction from Northern Virginia, where she works in nonprofit management. Her writing explores memory, time, natural and cultural landscapes. Cheryl's work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, EcoTheo Review, After the Art, and the 2020 Bay to Ocean Anthology. Follow Cheryl's words and pictures on Instagram and Twitter @cherylsadowski.
July 27, 2021
Two Poems by Lauren K. Carlson
Lauren K. Carlson reads two poems: "Prayer" and "God Not Only Did I Walk." Lauren lives in northern lower Michigan and is the author of the chapbook Animals I Have Killed. A graduate of the Warren Wilson Program for Writers, you can find more of her work in Fatal Flaw Literary Magazine, Amethyst Review, Pirene's Fountain, and Pleiades: Literature in Context (among others). For more see
July 23, 2021
History Lessons by Jeannine Marie Pitas
Jeannine Marie Pitas reads her nonfiction piece, "History Lessons." Jeannine is a teacher, writer, and Spanish-English literary translator living in Iowa, where she teaches at the University of Dubuque. Her first poetry collection, Things Seen and Unseen, was published by Mosaic Press in 2019. Her favorite poets include Wislawa Szymborska, Zbigniew Herbert, and Delmira Agustini.
July 20, 2021
Podcast Trailer
Introducing the Vita Poetica Journal Podcast
July 14, 2021