Visit the Abbey of the Arts online retreat platform to access your programs:

Featured Poet: Joel McKerrow

Last spring we launched a series with poets whose work we love and want to feature and will continue it moving forward.

Our next poet is Joel McKerrow whose work is inspired by liminal spaces.  You can watch Joel’s poem videos and read more about the connections he makes between poetry and the sacred.

Themes of His Work

I have just finished working on a book, a creative non-fiction all about the spiritual journey. Its called WOVEN: A Spirituality for the Dissatisfied and is being published in November. So a lot of my focus has been on taking the stories of my life when everything has crumbled and the doubt has come and the wrestle and the struggle are at their most intense and working out how to articulate these often indescribable moments. How to give voice to the deep longings that stir in those liminal times. This would be a major theme- the liminal, between that which has finished and that which has not yet begun.

Poetry and the Sacred

When I sit down at my table to write. I am never really just writing. I am engaging in ritual. From the pouring of the tea, to the unfolding of my antique writing table, to the moment the words begin to flow, or more often, the moment I drag them out of myself. This is all ritual. It is all a process of slowing down from the chaos of my life and choosing to be present to myself and to the story that wants to come out of me and also to the sacred. It is in this three way intersection of self, story and sacred that I consider the words that come out of me to be nothing but prayer. And if my words are prayer then my poetry is worship. It is an unfolding of myself and a giving of myself. It forces me to be fully truthful and authentic. It forces me to name my inner world even when I’d rather not. It is in the naming and the owning of my reality that I can then find the surrender of this reality through writing it down, giving it over. There is no difference between my prayer and my poetry.

About Joel McKerrow

Joel McKerrow is an award winning writer, speaker, educator, creativity specialist and is one of Australia’s most successful performance poets. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he has seven published works of poetry, is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEAR Australia’, was the third ever Australian representative at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championships and is a co-founder/host of the The Deep Place: On Creativity and Spirituality Podcast. Joel teaches on creativity and spiritual formation all over the world and has just opened up registration to his first ever ONLINE course – A Clearing in the Forest: An online writing course for cultivating artistry and self growth through the creative process.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]
[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]


You can find Joel’s writing, videos, music, teaching, etc at:
Website –
Online Course –


[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

Dreaming of Stones

Christine Valters Paintner‘s new collection of poems Dreaming of Stones has just been published by Paraclete Press.

The poems in Dreaming of Stones are about what endures: hope and desire, changing seasons, wild places, love, and the wisdom of mystics. Inspired by the poet’s time living in Ireland these readings invite you into deeper ways of seeing the world. They have an incantational quality. Drawing on her commitment as a Benedictine oblate, the poems arise out of a practice of sitting in silence and lectio divina, in which life becomes the holy text.

[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]
[siteorigin_widget class=”SiteOrigin_Widget_Image_Widget”][/siteorigin_widget]

You might also enjoy

Christine Interviewed on the Compass Podcast

Christine was interviewed about fasting and Lent on the Compass Podcast. She shares her insights on how fasting can go beyond traditional ideas of abstaining from food and can instead be a way to open ourselves to a deeper encounter with the divine. Christine outlines

Read More »

Monk in the World Guest Post: Anne Barsanti

I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Anne Barsanti’s reflection The Quiet. I crave the quiet of a new morning. I’ve always been an early riser and am frequently

Read More »