Archive for the ‘poem’ Category

Here are the TOP 10 POEMS of 2020 at NinaAlvarez.net.

It’s worth noting that 2020 was the first year EVER at this blog (started in 2007) that “Ithaca” was knocked from 1st place, replaced with “I Walked a Mile with Pleasure,” a poem about how much Sorrow teaches us. Seems fitting. I hope these poems brought some joy, perspective, and solace to those of you who needed it this year. Thank you for 14 years of celebrating poetry.


Happy New Year.

1. I Walked a Mile with Pleasure

2. Ithaca

3. On The Road Home

4. Deathless Aphrodite of the Spangled Mind

5. The Lost Son

6. The Insect God

7. The Serpent

8. Wish for a Young Wife

9. I Looked at the World

10. The Unicorn


Read Full Post »

Anthology of Transcendent Poetry - Cover

Out in late July, 2019

In September 2017 I placed a call for poems here at NinaAlvarez.net. One winner every month would receive $50 and online publication.

I was looking for well-crafted pieces on what I was framing as “transcendent experience,” those glimpses of nonduality and spirit, the quest for self-realization, the longing to understand the mysteries of the universe. I wanted to know if there were still people out there looking for what unites us with each other and with life—especially as the news and media became more and more divisive and reductive—and I would happily pay out $50/month to find them.

For the following ten months I received hundreds of submissions: great poems, not-so-great poems, and everything in between.

I could only pick one winner every month, but often a poem arrested me so much I couldn’t let it go. This month I will finally be able to share all the most significant and compelling poems submitted to the 2017-2018 Poem of the Month contest in The Spirit It Travels: An Anthology of Transcendent Poetry.

This anthology is the indispensable companion to those who want to tap into the consciousness of transcendence by contemporary poets from many locations, backgrounds, and walks of life. With varying styles, voices, themes, and cultures, 84 poems are presented in 7 sections of 12 poems each, loosely categorized into: searching, introspection, secrets, time, the mysteries of nature, awakening in nature, and spirituality. Featuring works by poets from the U.S., UK, Canada, Turkey, and Singapore, these selections paint a dynamic portrait of contemporary transcendent thought and feeling.

The name of this anthology, The Spirit It Travels, is meant to be read both ways: “the spirit, it travels” . . . and “the spirit it travels.” In other words, the spirit as the traveler, and the spirit is also the road we (and all things) travel.

In this collection you will find the soul-work of poets 19 – 80+ years old: professors, poets laureate, college students, English teachers, teaching artists, arts administrators, professors, MFAs, PhDs, copywriters, reporters and columnists, lawyers, visual artists, artists-in-residence, filmmakers, actors, musicians, music teachers, social workers, youth advocates, refugee advocates, travelers, food columnists, semi-truck drivers, and two with interesting library jobs: running the tea service at University of Colorado Law Library and archiving the audiovisual catalog at the New York Public Library.

Some of the writers herein have over a hundred publications, some have multiple poetry prizes, and still there are some for whom this will be their first publication.

Anthology of Transcendent Poetry - Back Cover - THIS THIS

With 84 poems by 63 poets from 5 countries, this anthology explores the many faces of transcendent experience.


The Spirit It Travels comes out in late July 2019, but you can pre-order it now and it will be shipped to you upon publication. We are currently offering 15% off pre-orders if you use the code: PREORDER

Read Full Post »

WINNERPOEM OF THE MONTHCONTESTPrince Christian Sound, Greenland


We shelter from freezing winds
in sun-warmed nooks on the deck.
Indoors, the crew ladles
hot Dutch pea soup
hunked with ham into bowls.

To starboard, mountains march past
like a row of stout children
with waterfalls pinned to their jackets.
Their mountain neighbors, faces blackened
with gneiss, torsos girdled in mist,
wear witches’ hats on their peaks
as if hoping to frighten the children away.

As we watch icebergs calve
I think of the cow made of ice
in Norse myth who nourished
primeval Ymir with her milk.
The calves birthed today
are blue and translucent
as premature babies
who cannot survive.

The ice sheet, whitened
with bubbles of air in July,
deepens to aquamarine
in December. Eons ago,
glacial behemoths sheered
mountainsides slick; now,
as the icecap retreats,
its dirty fingers reach out,
grope the slopes, seeking water—
a panorama reflected, reversed,
in the blue-green glass mirror
of Prince Christian Sound.

Where one glacial digit
Dips down to the strait,
the ship pauses and rotates.
Each revolution’s a vista unveiled.
Only the clicking of cameras,
the chunk-chunk of idling engines.
Breathless and stilled,
we are seized by what Jack London
called the “white silence:”
time suspended in a caesura
of one billion years.

-Sharon Whitehill


Sharon Whitehill is the co-winner of the NinaAlvarez.net + Cosmographia Books Poem of the Month Contest, January 2018. The other winner is Ari Gold’s poem “Fire Dancer.” The two created a lovely juxtaposition that put in me the mind of fire and ice, and that is why I broke tradition and chose two winners.

Happy New Year!


Sharon Whitehill is a retired professor of English from Michigan, now living in Florida and attempting poetry for the first time.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

You can still submit to the Poem of the Month Contest (ongoing), and to the Cosmographia Chapbook Contest (until Jan. 12, 2017).

Read Full Post »


My brother danced at last with explosions and fire—
Not a helicopter, just mushrooms at Burning Man.
I had Minha with me,
accidental lover,
former ballerina with a titanium knee,
a crescent scar on golden skin.
My brother had us,
temporary parents
so he shouted in triumph at the beauty of a bespectacled blonde dancer incoming from the skyscraper of flames.
My twin let loose at last.

Got burning ash in my fucking eye!
he screamed.
So much for bliss.
The carnival was now Hieronymus but I was not going
to allow
my hypochondriac brother
to chain himself to the wheel in the sky.

My gold and silver velvet robe flapped open,
sharp sand pierced my chest.
I was a king.
He was jealous when I bought my costume on Haight
As though I had stolen it from him.
A clump of soot, glowing orange,
somersaulted jerkily across the desert floor
A lizard on bad acid.
Minha placed her hand on the back of mine.
We should find a medic.

Had I really witnessed my twin at age six,
friendless in the playground riot,
friendless save for the pale-green puffy jacket
he clutched in his lap?
Or was it our mother who saw him there,
and told us later
how she’d burst into tears at the sight of one of her little boys
who didn’t know how to play?

Maybe it’s hard to lead another person to joy,

but here in the windy inferno,
I’d be damned if I didn’t try.
He’ll be fine, I said.
The crust of sand crackled under my boots.
My left palm gripped a ribbon that Minha gave me
a hundred minutes before.
Her hair whipped around her big soppy deer’s eyes.
Ethan moaned, on his knees,
convinced by the inferiority of his boring black robe
he was doomed to go blind.

Now inside the medic’s tent,
my brother being tended
I wait with Minha on folding chairs.
Another young lady punches herself in the forehead.
Neither the tattooed doctors scurrying around, stethoscopes flapping,
nor I, hairy knee trembling with fear for my brother’s eye,
know what to do about the weeping stranger.
I was
a dancer,” the young lady cries
to the canvas ceiling
fluorescents revealing her despair
for all to see.
Party time over.
A tiny ballet shoe on the hard dirt beneath her folding chair.
A bone pressing out of her ankle skin.
Her joy is embalmed on her wrists–
a hundred multicolored bangles rise and fall with her tears.

Minha crosses the floor, kneels behind the girl.
Her hand on the stranger’s shoulder.
She whispers into her ear.
The girl softens
the cacophony of competing sound systems retreats
the plastic-and-tin folding chair holds me eighteen inches above the packed dirt.

A single sparkle that had once graced a cheek
calls to me from the floor
to tear my eyes from my queen’s caress of this stranger,
because as she whispers to the girl,

sweet milk pours over the other patients
in their soon-to-be-obsolete-again Victorian costumes
straight towards me.
Look away.
She is an accidental lover,
a girl from the midwest who I’m not supposed to fall in love with tonight.
So I tear my eyes from her,
to the tent door flapping open,
to the chaos of the night and a thousand other parties,
to the road like a long tall princess waiting to be fucked,
to a thousand restless flappings of my mother’s wings.

-Ari Gold


Ari Gold is the co-winner of the NinaAlvarez.net + Cosmographia Books Poem of the Month Contest, January 2018. The other winner is Sharon Whitehall’s poem “Prince Christian Sound, Greenland.” The two created a lovely juxtaposition that put in me the mind of fire and ice, and that is why I broke tradition and chose two winners.

Happy New Year!


Website: AriGoldFilms.com
Instagram: Instagram.com/AriGold
Twitter: Twitter.com/AriGold
Facebook: Facebook.com/AriGoldFilms

Ari Gold is a student-Oscar-winning writer and film director whose films are linked by musical and environmental themes. As a writer, his work has been serialized in the Serbian newspaper Danas, and he is completing both an adult novel and a middle-grade novel this year.

His new feature film, “The Song of Sway Lake,” has been selected as Opening Night Film at four films this month; he also directed the cult comedy “Adventures of Power” (“One of the funniest films in recent years” – NY Magazine), dozens of award-winning shorts and videos that have been presented everywhere from Sundance to Karlovy-Vary, and the short film “Helicopter” about his mother’s death in the helicopter crash that killed rock music promoter Bill Graham.

His most unusual distinctions include winning High Times Magazine’s “Stoner of the Year” award, and being enshrined in the Guinness Book of World Records for commanding the largest air-drum ensemble on earth. His next major project, currently in development, is a game-changing action-adventure fiction TV series about ecology, war, shamanism, and the liberation of the human spirit.


Many thanks to all those who submitted your beautiful and transcendent work.

You can still submit to the Poem of the Month Contest (ongoing), and to the Cosmographia Chapbook Contest (until Jan. 12, 2017).

Read Full Post »

Time too is afraid of passing, is riddled with holes
through which time feels itself leaking.
Time sweats in the middle of the night
when all the other dimensions are sleeping.
Time has lost every picture of itself as a child.
Now time is old, leathery and slow.
Can’t sneak up on anyone anymore,
Can’t hide in the grass, can’t run, can’t catch.
Can’t figure out how not to trample
what it means to bless.

-Joy Ladin

Read Full Post »

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota
Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly,
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year’s horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.
-James Wright

Read Full Post »

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

-Wendell Berry

Read Full Post »

Weave in, My Hardy Life

Weave in, weave in, my hardy life,
Weave yet a soldier strong and full for great campaigns to come,
Weave in red blood, weave sinews in like ropes,
the senses, sight weave in,
Weave lasting sure, weave day and night the weft, the warp,
incessant weave, tire not,
(We know not what the use O life, nor know the aim, the end,
nor really aught we know,
But know the work, the need goes on and shall go on, the death-
envelop’d march of peace as well as war goes on,)
For great campaigns of peace the same the wiry threads to weave,
We know not why or what, yet weave, forever weave.

-Walt Whitman

Read Full Post »

When we are soft – when the world is underneath us; when we are lost with longing

Be a sparrow.

You knew before you knew all else that this was artifice – and you searched for self-instruction.
You learned to search for what was yours beyond modesty and immodesty.

Be that person again – with a broken wing – if there was ever truth in you, find it now. Be true to that which is best in you, and rides during the Spring, and mounts in its own language. Be true to that which is highest born in you. Let it all be alive in the alchemy.

Be choice. Be free and free, sister, in what was not lost from you – in what was finally heard correctly – in what is not theirs to hold. Your freedom is not theirs. So quick to hear what is not there – so slow to know.

We are here waiting for you. Be beloved. Sky, earth, wind, all.


-Nina Alvarez


Read Full Post »

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of allnothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

— e.e. cummings


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »