Small Claims, Large Encounters by Sonya Jones

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These poems recount a journey to India to meet a great meditation teacher, but they are for anyone who has ever longed for internal peace.

In 1978, Sonya Joes made a conscious decision to abstain from the practice of what she calls “writing poetry out of the skin.” Unhappy with an increasingly negative American verse as well as her own narcissistic whining, she pledged to remain silent unless she could find an intelligent voice with which to affirm life.

Eleven years later, Jones met an Indian Guru who filled her with so much joy she had no choice but to write again – and to consider the vocation of poetry from a new perspective. She resisted at first, but her resistance faded in the face of the Guru’s compassion.

“Of all things I expected to be in my life,” says Jones, “devotional poet was not one of them. Political activist, yes. Feminist agitator, no question. But straight-laced piety has never been one of my strengths. Fortunately, Indian tradition in all its marvellous inclusivity has a place for rebels like me who are interested in attaining freedom and happiness here on earth.”

By turns irreverent and heartfelt, these poems explore the very personal and mysterious bonds of the Guru-disciple relationship. They refuse to settle for spiritual cliches; each poem included is its own gem – emotionally honest and exquisitely crafted. Taken as a whole, they combine the cool joy of Rumi with the simplicity of John Berryman.

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