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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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Poems by E.V. Noechel
E.V. Noechel reads her poems, "A Nick, to the Heart, Is a Fatal Wound" and "A Desperate Plea from Your Buddhist Serial Killer." E.V. Noechel lives with OCD, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, severe chronic pain, and an assortment of delightful rescued animals. Her work has received multiple Pushcart nominations and generous support from the North Carolina Arts Council, Vermont Studio Center, Headlands Center for the Arts, United Arts, Culture and Animals Foundation, and I-Park. This is our last episode of the season, but don't miss these other works published in our Summer 2022 issue: Thought in Lévy Flight | Yuan Changming methuselah’s beard | Dan MacIsaac Three Poems | Gale Acuff A Sonnet for Freshman Year | Claude Clayton Smith Night Calls | Stephen Reilly Morning Ruckus | Mira Martin-Parker House of Words: Finding Comfort in the Dwelling Space of Sheltering Mercy Kathryn Sadakierski Soul Care Rhythms: A Year of Exploration | Judy Ko and Laura E. Peluso
September 02, 2022
Visual Art by Mary Jane Miller
We explore the series, On Holy Ground, by visual artist Mary Jane Miller. Four pieces from this series are published in our current Summer issue: A Sword Will Pierce Your Own Soul, Outside Space and Time, A Mary’s Love of Earth, Ideas and Progressions.  Mary Jane Miller is a self-taught Byzantine style iconographer living in Mexico for three decades. Her collections are extraordinary, with a proficient command of egg tempera, and have been exhibited in museums and churches in the United States and Mexico. Her published books include Meditation and Iconography, In Light of Women, and Life in Christ. She teaches 5-day workshops. Contact her at
August 30, 2022
Poems by Linda McCullough Moore & Michael Hettich
Linda McCullough Moore reads her poem, "A Case for Repetition," and Michael Hettich reads his poem, "Heaven," from our current Summer issue. Winner of the Pushcart Prize, Linda McCullough Moore, is the author of a novel, two story collections, a collection of essays, and more than 400 shorter works. Teacher and mentor, she loves helping other writers, and is hard at work on a poetry collection. Michael Hettich has published a dozen books of poetry, most recently The Mica Mine, which won the 2020 Lena Shull Book Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society and was published in 2021. A "new and selected" volume is forthcoming in 2023. He has published widely in journals, and in a number of anthologies as well.
August 26, 2022
Visual Art by Rhian Swierat
Rhian Swierat talks about her embroidered pieces from two series published in our current Summer issue: Paper Samplers and Pressed Memories. Rhian Swierat grew up in the Hudson Valley and is now based in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BFA in graphic design from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her mom taught her embroidery as a child, sharing with her a love of textiles and patterns. Her work has been featured in notable shows throughout the United States, such as the Flat Rate Box Group Show, Modified Arts Gallery, Phoenix, AZ; SCALE, Deanna Evans Projects, Brooklyn, NY; and others. She’s also taken part in the Together, Separately Residency, Cel del Nord, Barcelona, Spain.
August 23, 2022
Poems by Kathleen Hellen & Marda Messick
Kathleen Hellen reads her poem, "compass my eyes to speed of light," and Marda Messick reads her poems, "Spiritual Exercise" and "Beachfront Prophecy," from our Summer 2022 issue. Kathleen Hellen’s collection meet me at the bottom is forthcoming in Fall 2022 from Main Street Rag. Her credits include The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin, her award-winning collection Umberto’s Night, published by Washington Writers’ Publishing House, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Marda Messick is a poet and accidental theologian living in Tallahassee, Florida. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Christian Century, Delmarva Review, Literary Journal, and other publications.
August 19, 2022
Dustfully by Phocas
Phocas reads his prose poem, "Dustfully," published in the current Summer issue. Phocas lives in central Michigan.
August 16, 2022
Poems by G.R. Kramer & John C. Mannone
G.R. Kramer reads his poem, "Traffic Light," and John C. Mannone reads his poem, "Second Thoughts," from our current Summer issue. G. R. Kramer grew up in Canada, Kenya and the U.S., the child of refugees from fascism and communism. A lawyer by vocation, his passion for writing poetry has rekindled in late middle-age. His first poetry chapbook is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Go to for more. John C. Mannone has poems in North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry South, Windhover, Braided Way, Spirit Fire Review, Credo Espoir, Heart of Flesh Literary Journal, and Scriblerus Arts Journal. He has collections: Disabled Monsters (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2015), Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2021), Sacred Flute (Iris Press, 2022), and Song of the Mountains (Middle Creek Publishing, 2023). A retired professor of physics living in Knoxville, Tennessee, he edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade, Liquid Imagination, and American Diversity Report.
August 12, 2022
Sacred Invitations: Writer Patrice Gopo in Conversation with Emily Chambers Sharpe
"Creativity is an invitation from God to participate in adding beauty to the world." —Patrice Gopo Our Interviews Editor, Emily Chambers Sharpe, talks with writer Patrice Gopo about storytelling, the search for belonging, and creativity as a sacred invitation from God to participate in sacred work. A transcript of the interview is published in our current Summer issue. Patrice Gopo is the child of Jamaican immigrants and was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska. She is an award-winning essayist and the author of All the Colors We Will See (a Fall 2018 Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection). As a child, she loved twirling a globe, dreaming about cities and states, countries and continents. As an adult, she loves words and enjoys pondering how places shape the people we become. She lives with her family in North Carolina—a place she considers another home. All the Places We Call Home is Patrice’s first picture book. Please visit to learn more.
August 09, 2022
Poems by Ellis Purdie & Remi Recchia
Ellis Purdie reads his poem, "Praise as Acrostic," and Remi Recchia reads his two poems, "From Isaiah" and "From Psalms." Ellis Purdie is a graduate of The Center for Writers at The University of Southern Mississippi. Along with writing and teaching, he spends a good deal of time looking for herpetofauna in east Texas, where he lives with his wife, son, and daughter. Remi Recchia, author of Quicksand/Stargazing (Cooper Dillon Books, 2021) and Sober (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2022), is a trans poet and essayist from Kalamazoo, Michigan. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Remi’s work has appeared or will soon appear in Best New Poets 2021, World Literature Today, Columbia Online Journal, Harpur Palate, and Juked, among others. He holds an MFA in poetry from Bowling Green State University and currently serves as an associate editor for the Cimarron Review.
August 05, 2022
God Help Him by Nathan Geeting
Nathan Geeting reads his short story, "God Help Him," from our current Summer issue. When Nathan Geeting can pull himself away from the kitchen (where he cooks for family and friends), the dining room (where he puzzles with his wife), or the living room (where he plays with his red-headed poodle, Brûlée), he spends his time writing. His nonfiction has been featured in the Englewood Review of Books.
August 02, 2022
Poems by Andy Oram & Gabriella Brand
Andy Oram reads his poem, "Half Life," and Gabriella Brand reads her poem, "Where We Come From" -- both from our Summer 2022 issue. Andy Oram is a writer and editor in the computer field. Print publications where his writings have appeared include The Economist, the Journal of Information Technology & Politics, and Vanguardia Dossier. He has lived in the Boston, Massachusetts, area for almost 50 years. Gabriella Brand's short stories and poetry appear in such publications as New Lit Salon, Critical Art, and Résonance. Her travel writing can be found in The Globe and Mail and The Christian Science Monitor. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and serves as the Poet Laureate of her small Connecticut town.
July 29, 2022
The Soul a City by Sarah Law
Sarah Law reads her essay, "The Soul a City," from our Summer 2022 issue.  Sarah Law lives in Norwich, UK, and is an Associate Lecturer for the Open University. She has published six collections of poetry, and her novel, Sketches from a Sunlit Heaven, is forthcoming from Wipf and Stock. She edits the online journal Amethyst Review.
July 26, 2022
Season 5 Trailer: Summer 2022 Issue
Our Summer 2022 issue is here! Tune in to hear new works at the intersection of art, faith, beauty, and spirit. 
July 18, 2022
Zen Meditation by Grace Phong
Grace Phong leads a guided sitting meditation from the Zen tradition. Listen here on the podcast or watch the video in our Spring issue. Born in Hong Kong, Grace Phong has a strong passion for body and holistic well-being. She is a spiritual director and a mental health therapist, and has been doing Zen meditation for 20 years.
May 20, 2022
The Visceral Experience of Faith: Poet Libby Kurz in Conversation with Emily Chambers Sharpe
Our Interviews Editor Emily Chambers Sharpe speaks with poet Libby Kurz about her poetry, her experiences as a cardiothoracic nurse, and other influences in her writing. You can find the transcript to this interview in our Spring 2022 issue. Libby Kurz is a writer, poet, registered nurse, and US Air Force veteran. She holds a BS in Nursing from UNC-Charlotte and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. Her work has appeared in Ruminate, Relief Journal, Driftwood Press, and Literary Mama, among others. Her poetry was awarded first prize in the New Voices category of the Poetry Society of Virginia’s 2017 Contest. In 2019, Finishing Line Press published her poetry chapbook, The Heart Room, which chronicles her experiences working as a cardiothoracic nurse in Norfolk, Virginia. She has taught creative writing classes for The Muse Writers Center and the Armed Services Arts Partnership. After a decade of moving cross country with the military, she now resides in Virginia Beach with her husband, three children, and Swiss Mountain Dog.
May 17, 2022
Poems by Libby Kurz & Barbara Sabol
Libby Kurz reads her poems, "Joy" and "Born Blind. And Barbara Sabol reads her poem, "Flare." Libby Kurz is a writer, poet, registered nurse, and US Air Force veteran. She holds a BS in Nursing from UNC-Charlotte and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. Her poetry chapbook, The Heart Room chronicles her experiences working as a cardiothoracic nurse in Norfolk, Virginia. She now lives in Virginia Beach and teaches poetry and trauma writing workshops for The Muse Writers Center. She’s currently at work on a memoir about violence, sexuality, and faith. Barbara Sabol's fourth collection, Imagine a Town, was published in 2020. Barbara's awards include a grant from the Ohio Arts Council. She lives in Akron, OH.
May 13, 2022
My Slow Uncertain Journey into the Writing Life by Heather Morton
Heather Morton reads her essay, "My Slow Uncertain Journey into the Writing Life: Pimps and Johns, Morals and 'Messages,' Faith, Hope, and Divine Partnership." Heather Morton's work has appeared in Plough, Fathom Magazine, and other publications. A native Oregonian, she lives with her husband and their three children in Cheverly, Maryland. Read more of her writing at
May 10, 2022
Poems by Samir Knego and Peter Bankson
Samir Knego reads his poem, "Post," and Peter Bankson reads his poem, "Garlic Lover." Both are published in our Spring 2022 issue. Samir Knego is a multidisciplinary artist and zinester. His current exhibition, The Divine - dreams of disabled gods, combines poetry and visual art and explores disability and ableism through the language and imagery of religion. When he’s not making art, Samir works in a library and listens to lots of heavy metal. Peter Bankson has been an active Steward of Seekers Church in Washington, DC, for a long time, where he helps support the worship life of the community and keep the building in working order. While his work over the years has focused on serving non-profit organizations, part of his being has lived in artistic expression: crochet, photography, poetry, and prayer.
May 06, 2022
Chosen People by Ethan Ashkin Stanton
Ethan Ashkin Stanton reads his creative nonfiction story, "Chosen People." Ethan Ashkin Stanton is a husband, father, teacher, writer, and Jewish pantheist with a side of skepticism. He lives in San Jose, California, and studies poetry at San Francisco Creative Writing Institute.
May 03, 2022
Two Poems by Devon Balwit
Devon Balwit reads her two poems from our Spring issue: "Reading Flannery O'Connor while Trapped under the Heat Dome" and "A Reading of Revelation."  Devon Balwit walks in all weather. Her most recent collections are Rubbing Shoulders with the Greats (Seven Kitchens Press 2020) and Dog-Walking in the Shadow of Pyongyang (Nixes Mate Books, 2021). For more of her poems and reviews, please visit
April 29, 2022
Spring 2022: Notes on Borrowed Wisdom by Ken Hines
Season 4 of our podcast features works from our Spring 2022 issue. Starting us off is Ken Hines, reading his poem, "Notes on Borrowed Wisdom." A 2021 Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Ken Hines has written poems that appear in AIOTB, Ekphrastic Review, Psaltery & Lyre, and other magazines. His poem “Driving Test” won the Third Wednesday Journal Annual Poetry Prize. All this scribbling takes place in Richmond, Virginia.
April 26, 2022
Ars Poetica, Obstetrics, Painting, and the Rough Draft by Sean Sexton
Sean Sexton reads his poem, "Ars Poetica, Obstetrics, Painting, and the Rough Draft."  Sean Sexton of Indian River County, FL, divides his time between managing his family’s 700-acre cattle ranch, painting, and writing, and is author of two volumes of poetry: Blood Writing and May Darkness Restore. His third collection, Portals is due out in Autumn, 2022, from Press 53. He has performed at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, NV, the Miami Book Fair International, and High Road Poetry and Short Fiction Festival in Winston Salem, NC. He was nominated for a 2020 and 2021 Pushcart Prize and received a FL Individual Artist’s Fellowship in 2001.
March 15, 2022
Poems by Jenna K. Funkhouser & Jonathan Chan
Our poetry editor reads Jenna K. Funkhouser's poem, "Falling Star, by Romare Bearden" (based on the artwork of Bearden). And Jonathan Chan reads his poem, "apophasis." Jenna K. Funkhouser is a Pacific Northwest native, author, and poet. Her work has recently appeared in Saint Katherine Review, As It Ought To Be, and Geez Magazine. Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate student at Yale University. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore and educated in Cambridge, England. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. Join the conversation! Read the Winter issue, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and leave us a voice message here on the podcast.
March 11, 2022
Interview with Visual Artist Maria Eugenia Fee
Hospitality of the Soul: Visual designer and mental health professional Judy Ko speaks with artist Maria Eugenia Fee about art, theology, and hospitality. This excerpt of their conversation is from a video created by videographer Allen Wong. As an artist, theologian, and educator, Maria Eugenia Fee embraces the term mestizaje to reference her bi-culture identity, a multi-ethnically rich urban upbringing, and interdisciplinary studies in art and religion. Mestizo is visually represented through the mixed-media composition of her artwork. These notions also drive her theological research explored in the upcoming book The Art of Theaster Gates and a Theology of Hospitality. She is currently an adjunct professor at Seattle Pacific University and The Seattle School. Judy Ko is interested in the intersections of faith, creativity, beauty, truth, trauma, and soul care. She received a design education from Carnegie Mellon and worked as a visual designer in Manhattan before deciding to pursue the field of therapy. She moved to the Pacific Northwest to earn a counseling psychology degree at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. Judy is currently a Licensed Mental Health Associate working as a play therapist in the Seattle area. Photographer and videographer Allen Wong was trained classically on the piano and violin, and later studied viola. He has played with the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra and was a finalist in the Washington State Solo & Ensemble Contest. After picking up the guitar, bass, and drums, he recorded his first EP, As Headaway Ahem. After graduating from the University of Washington with a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering, he produced the Theotech Podcast and had a quick run on YouTube before taking on photography. Join the conversation! Read the Winter issue, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and leave us a voice message here on the podcast.
March 08, 2022
Poems by James Owens & Maria Giura
James Owens reads his translation of R. M. Rilke's poem, "Soloist," and Maria Giura reads her poem, "Last Supper." James Owens's newest book is Family Portrait with Scythe (Bottom Dog Press, 2020). His poems and translations appear widely in literary journals, including recent or upcoming publications in The Christian Century, Dappled Things, and Grain. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in a small town in northern Ontario. Maria Giura is the author of What My Father Taught Me (Bordighera Press) and Celibate: A Memoir (Apprentice House), which won the 2020 First Place Independent Press Award for Religion Nonfiction. Her writing has appeared in journals including Prime Number, Presence, (Voices) in Italian Americana, Lips, Tiferet, and the Paterson Literary Review. An Academy of American Poets winner, Maria has taught writing at multiple universities, including Binghamton, where she received her PhD in English. Learn more about her at Join the conversation! Read the Winter issue, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, and leave us a voice message here on the podcast.
March 04, 2022
Made by Hand: A Meditation with Clay by Marjory Zoet Bankson
Marjory Zoet Bankson leads this contemplative practice, "Made by Hand: A Meditation with Clay." Listen here on the podcast or follow along with the video on our website. Marjory Zoet Bankson is a published author, working artist, and seasoned spiritual guide. As a skilled potter, her biodegradable burial urns have been shown in Baltimore and Washington, DC. A graduate of Radcliffe College (Harvard University), Marjory has an MA in American history from the University of Alaska and an honorary doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary—cited for her work in lay ministry. Some of her books include Call to the Soul, Creative Aging, The Soulwork of Clay, and most recently, Stalking the Spirit, a history of @seekerschurchdc, a Church of the Saviour community in DC., where she is a Steward and regularly preaches and teaches. She and her husband, Peter Bankson, have been married more than 60 years and currently live in Washington, DC. Read the Winter issue, follow us on Instagram and Facebook, leave us a voice message here on the podcast!
March 01, 2022
Poems by James Hannon & Julie L. Moore
James Hannon reads his poem, "Satsang with Guruji," and Julie L. Moore reads her poem, "The False Prophetess Noadiah," both from our Winter 2022 issue. James Hannon is a psychotherapist in Massachusetts, where he accompanies adolescents and adults recovering from addictions, disappointments, and deceptions. His poems have appeared in Blue Lake Review, Blue River, Cold Mountain Review, and other journals, and in Gathered: Contemporary Quaker Poets. His second collection, To My Children at Christmas, will be published in 2022 by Kelsay Books. A Best of the Net and seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Julie L. Moore is the author of four poetry collections, including, most recently, Full Worm Moon, which won a 2018 Woodrow Hall Top Shelf Award and received honorable mention for the Conference on Christianity and Literature's 2018 Book of the Year Award. Her poetry has appeared in African American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. She is the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, where she is also the poetry editor for Relief Journal. Learn more about her work at
February 25, 2022
Finding Meaning in Modernity by Cheryl Sadowski
Cheryl Sadowski reads her book reviews, "Finding Meaning in Modernity: Two Books about Quest." She reflects on the books Why We Are Restless: On the Modern Quest for Contentment by Benjamin Storey & Jenna Silber Storey and God, Human, Animal, Machine: Technology, Metaphor, and the Search for Meaning by Meghan O’Gieblyn. Cheryl Sadowski writes essays and reviews from Northern Virginia, where she works in nonprofit management. Her writing explores the plain weave of everyday life with philosophy, art, literature, and the natural world. Cheryl's work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, EcoTheo, After the Art, and the Bay to Ocean Anthology.
February 22, 2022
Two Poems by B.J. Buckley
B.J. Buckley reads her two poems, "Be as a ringing glass..." and "Funeral" from our Winter issue. B.J. Buckley is a Montana poet who has worked as a teaching artist in Arts-in-Schools and Communities programs throughout the West and Midwest for over four decades. She has recent/forthcoming work in Calyx, Grub Street, Sugar House Review, and Whitefish Review.
February 18, 2022
An Ode to an Ode about Hands by Rebecca Moon Ruark
Rebecca Moon Ruark reads her essay, "An Ode to an Ode about Hands." Rebecca Moon Ruark is a Catholic writer of nonfiction and fiction, a Mass cantor, and a kitchen dancer. She lives with her husband and twin sons in Maryland, where she is at work on a novel about the healing power of song.
February 15, 2022
Two Poems by Alfonso Sito Sasieta
Alfonso Sito Sasieta reads his two poems, "Pa' Huele" and "A Toddler's Doubt." Alfonso “Sito” Sasieta is a caregiver, poet, dancer, and father. He lives in Maryland, outside of Washington DC, and he works in a L’Arche community where adults with and without intellectual disabilities share their lives together. Half Lutheran and half Chinese-Peruvian, he enjoys writing poems that explore the mixedness inherent in the musical, spiritual, linguistic backgrounds from each side of his family.
February 11, 2022
Living Locks by Stephen J. Wallace
Stephen J. Wallace reads his short story, "Living Locks," a piece of biblical historical fiction retelling the story of Sampson.  Stephen J. Wallace is a speaker and author. He says he’s a “writer trapped in an engineer’s body, or vice versa.” He enjoys writing technical articles and short stories. He recently finished his first novel, Shelter In Place, which was a finalist in the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition. His short stories have appeared in the Schuylkill Valley Journal, the Mark Literary Review, and Vita Poetica. He has lived in the Washington, DC, area for several years but occasionally visits his home state of Kentucky. Read more at
February 08, 2022
Season 3 Trailer: Winter 2022 Issue
Welcome to the Winter 2022 issue of Vita Poetica. Here's a preview of what we have in store for you this season! The individual audio recordings accompany each piece online and are also heard in a straight audio issue you can stream on our website, Exclusive to the podcast are the contributors' own introductions to their pieces and glimpses into what inspired their work. If something speaks to you, would you take a moment to share a response either by sending a voice message here, leaving a comment on Facebook or Instagram, or sending a note to or via the contact form on our website? We'll share these messages at the end of the season! Music you hear in this trailer courtesy of Allen Wong's video in our interview with Maria Eugenia Fee (intro) and John Morris (outro).
January 31, 2022
Poems by Susan Delaney Spear & Jeremy Szuder
Susan Delaney Spear reads "A Protestant Attends a Funeral Mass," and Jeremy Szuder reads "Find Yourself" and "Easter Fools." Susan Delaney Spear is an Associate Professor of English at Colorado Christian University. She is the author of Beyond All Bearing, a collection of poems, and co-author of Learning the Secrets of English Verse, a creative writing/poetry textbook. You can find her at Jeremy Szuder has spent 15 years as a musician and graphic designer, 25 years self-publishing Zines, 10 years deejaying, and continues to have illustrations and poems published by fine art and literary publications across the U.S.A. and Canada. He lives in Glendale, California.
November 19, 2021
Moving Meditation by Emily Wright
Dancer Emily Wright introduces us to moving meditation as a contemplative practice. You can also join her in creative exploration through movement in the video from our Autumn 2021 issue (scroll all the way down to find the video at the bottom of the page linked). Based in Charlottesville, VA, Emily Wright is a dancer, movement educator, and author with a passion for the transformative power of dance. An experienced teacher of dance for all ages and a scholar with numerous publications, Emily is available for workshops, master classes, lectures, writing, commissions, and consultation. She offers an online and in-person Movement Medicine class that blends yoga, dance, and contemplation. Her book, Dancing to Tansform: How Concert Dance Becomes Religious in American Christianity, was published in June 2021 by Intellect Press. Learn more about Emily in an interview with her in Vita Poetica’s Autumn 2021 issue.
November 16, 2021
Two Poems by Fiona Vigo Marshall
Fiona Vigo Marshall reads her poems, "Blue Orchids" and "The Sailors' Church." Fiona Vigo Marshall’s poems have been published in a variety of outlets including Aesthetica, Ambit, Orbis, and Theology Journal. Her short story “The Street of Baths” won the V.S. Pritchett Memorial Prize 2016, and her story “The Marvellous Book,” Phantom Drift 2017, was nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her novel Find Me Falling is published by Fairlight Books, Oxford, 2019, and her second novel, The House of Marvellous Books, is published by Fairlight Books, spring 2022.
November 12, 2021
A Conversation with Dancer Emily Wright
Our Interviews Editor, Emily Chambers Sharpe, speaks with dancer Emily Wright about dance as a heightened form of attention and a vehicle for making meaning together. A transcript of their conversation, as well as a Moving Meditation from Emily Wright, can be found in our Autumn 2021 issue. Based in Charlottesville, VA, Emily Wright is a dancer, movement educator, and author with a passion for the transformative power of dance. An experienced teacher of dance for all ages and a scholar with numerous publications, Emily is available for workshops, master classes, lectures, writing, commissions, and consultation. She offers an online and in-person Movement Medicine class that blends yoga, dance, and contemplation. Her book, Dancing to Transform: How Concert Dance Becomes Religious in American Christianity, was published in June 2021 by Intellect Press.
November 09, 2021
Poems by Jacqueline Wallen & Kate Maxwell
Jacqueline Wallen reads "Naaman Hits Bottom," and Kate Maxwell reads "Her Abundance," both poems from our Autumn 2021 issue. Jacqueline Wallen is a clinical social worker with a practice of psychotherapy and an Associate Professor Emerita in the Department of Family Science, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park. Kate Maxwell has been published in Australian and International literary magazines. Kate’s interests include film, wine, and sleeping. Her first poetry anthology, Never Good at Maths, is published with Interactive Publications, Brisbane.
November 05, 2021
The Children of the Sun Begin to Wake by Chad Holley
Chad Holley reads his short story, "The Children of the Sun Begin to Wake."  Chad Holley lives in Los Angeles, where he is completing a novel and a collection of stories. His work has appeared in, among other places, Shenandoah, storySouth, Greensboro Review, and Houghton Mifflin's Best American Mystery Stories.
November 02, 2021
Two Poems by Ed Meek
Ed Meek reads his poems "Passing Away" and "In the Forest" from our Autumn 2021 issue. Ed Meek has had poems in The Baltimore Review, The Sun, and The Paris Review. His new book, High Tide, came out last September.
October 29, 2021
Wood Heat by Basira Harpster
Basira Harpster reads her personal essay, "Wood Heat," from our Autumn 2021 issue.  Basira Harpster is a speech therapist, writer, and gardener in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Her poetry appears in Sows’ Ear Poetry Review. She’s currently working on short personal essays and has a memoir in progress.
October 26, 2021
Season 2 Trailer (Autumn 2021 Issue)
The Vita Poetica Journal's Autumn 2021 issue is out! Here's a preview of what we have in store for you this season. You can also head to our website to see the full issue, including visual art and videos, and to stream the straight audio issue.
October 18, 2021
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 06, 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 03, 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