“A World to Light:” Pointilla’s Song from Mindel and the Misfit Dragons

Journal
On Sunday March 26th I had the pleasure of hearing the LA Valley Girls’ Choir sing the song “A World to Light” for which I wrote the lyrics, adapted from my book Mindel and the Misfit Dragons. It comes from the plea of the
dragoness Pointilla to her parents that she must leave home now because she wants to light the world with her fire, and knows she will find a place for herself to do just that.

Diana Warshawsky composed the gorgeous music and Marilyn Kay directed the choir and also produced a beautiful album, “Nishmas,” in which this song appears. It was an incredible experience for me to listen to these wonderful young girls sing their hearts out and bring my words to life! “Nishmas” features the Shireynu Women’s Choir singing original songs by LA Valley composers and lyricists.

I also wrote the lyrics for another song on the album, “If I Forget.” Diana again wrote the music and the first time I heard it I was so humbled by the added dimension and richness that the music brought to what before had been mere words on paper. I want to thank Marilyn and Diana so much for including me in this wonderful project of “Nishmas.”

You can listen to excerpts of these songs at www.MarilynKayProductions.com where you can also purchase the album.

dragoness Pointilla to her parents that she must leave home now because she wants to light the world with her fire, and knows she will find a place for herself to do just that.

Diana Warshawsky composed the gorgeous music and Marilyn Kay directed the choir and also produced a beautiful album, “Nishmas,” in which this song appears. It was an incredible experience for me to listen to these wonderful young girls sing their hearts out and bring my words to life! “Nishmas” features the Shireynu Women’s Choir singing original songs by LA Valley composers and lyricists.

I also wrote the lyrics for another song on the album, “If I Forget.” Diana again wrote the music and the first time I heard it I was so humbled by the added dimension and richness that the music brought to what before had been mere words on paper. I want to thank Marilyn and Diana so much for including me in this wonderful project of “Nishmas.”

You can listen to excerpts of these songs at www.MarilynKayProductions.com where you can also purchase the album.

Announcing the Publication of The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®

Journal
I’m so excited to announce the launch of my new book, The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®—Seven Steps to Your Personal Gold. This is my outlier book, the only non-fiction book I’ve ever written.
It’s a kind of meditative manual that guides the reader through an intuitive process that I developed through years of writing poetry as part of my own inner work.

Actually, I didn’t know that I was developing a “process” at all. I was simply doing what came most naturally to me—make sense of my life through writing poetry. I had been doing this all my life. From the time I wrote my first poem at the age of eight, poetry was my primary medium for expressing delight, dealing with difficulty, recording events. Others kept diaries; I wrote poems. Eventually, they became a way of healing and of connecting with God.

But some years ago I realized I needed to go deeper to find answers that I could not access in my usual way. I had always loved the unexpected surprises that came from writing within poetic constraints, and now I discovered the wonder of drawing with my non-dominant (left) hand. So I drew and I wrote, and together these two practices yielded up a kind of magic. The left-handed drawings elicited words, the words formed themselves into poems, and I received answers I never expected, not from my rational left brain but from my intuitive right brain. I began to see changes in my thoughts and my life as a result of what I called my poem-mandalas, and the process became a daily practice for me.

I realized that this process is a form of spiritual alchemy, a tool for self-awareness and transformation, and my dear friend and calligraphy teacher, DeAnn Singh of Designing Letters in Los Angeles, encouraged me to teach it and eventually to write about it. The result is this book.

The book also introduces the reader to a new verse form that I developed, the Xoem®, a short, circular-shaped poem especially suited to intuitive work and the mandala drawings that are part of the process. I received registered trademark status for both the process of The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® and the Xoem® verse form, and will be launching a new series of workshops this summer.

So now I invite you to pick up a pen and join me on a journey through these Seven Steps that will allow you to express yourself creatively while gaining insights that may not be available to you in your normal waking, thinking state. I assure you that no artistic training nor memory of anything you learned about poetry in school is necessary. The book guides you in setting an intention to understand a problem or physical ailment, to resolve a dilemma, or simply to see something in a whole new light. You will enter the realm of your intuitive mind and create a poem and accompanying piece of art that can lead you to unexpected answers, enhanced self-awareness and, if you wish, connection with your inner, Higher Self.

I feel a deep passion to share this work because I know, from my own experience and that of my students, that it really does work. We truly can become the alchemists of our own lives and turn whatever we identify as the lead in our lives into our Personal Gold. I hope you will join me and experience for yourself the magic of The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®.

It’s a kind of meditative manual that guides the reader through an intuitive process that I developed through years of writing poetry as part of my own inner work.

Actually, I didn’t know that I was developing a “process” at all. I was simply doing what came most naturally to me—make sense of my life through writing poetry. I had been doing this all my life. From the time I wrote my first poem at the age of eight, poetry was my primary medium for expressing delight, dealing with difficulty, recording events. Others kept diaries; I wrote poems. Eventually, they became a way of healing and of connecting with God.

But some years ago I realized I needed to go deeper to find answers that I could not access in my usual way. I had always loved the unexpected surprises that came from writing within poetic constraints, and now I discovered the wonder of drawing with my non-dominant (left) hand. So I drew and I wrote, and together these two practices yielded up a kind of magic. The left-handed drawings elicited words, the words formed themselves into poems, and I received answers I never expected, not from my rational left brain but from my intuitive right brain. I began to see changes in my thoughts and my life as a result of what I called my poem-mandalas, and the process became a daily practice for me.

I realized that this process is a form of spiritual alchemy, a tool for self-awareness and transformation, and my dear friend and calligraphy teacher, DeAnn Singh of Designing Letters in Los Angeles, encouraged me to teach it and eventually to write about it. The result is this book.

The book also introduces the reader to a new verse form that I developed, the Xoem®, a short, circular-shaped poem especially suited to intuitive work and the mandala drawings that are part of the process. I received registered trademark status for both the process of The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® and the Xoem® verse form, and will be launching a new series of workshops this summer.

So now I invite you to pick up a pen and join me on a journey through these Seven Steps that will allow you to express yourself creatively while gaining insights that may not be available to you in your normal waking, thinking state. I assure you that no artistic training nor memory of anything you learned about poetry in school is necessary. The book guides you in setting an intention to understand a problem or physical ailment, to resolve a dilemma, or simply to see something in a whole new light. You will enter the realm of your intuitive mind and create a poem and accompanying piece of art that can lead you to unexpected answers, enhanced self-awareness and, if you wish, connection with your inner, Higher Self.

I feel a deep passion to share this work because I know, from my own experience and that of my students, that it really does work. We truly can become the alchemists of our own lives and turn whatever we identify as the lead in our lives into our Personal Gold. I hope you will join me and experience for yourself the magic of The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®.

Kirkus calls The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® “A Message of Self Discovery”

Journal
A handbook that aims to help readers discover spiritual truth through unconventional poetry composition.
This beautifully produced work from Michaels (Lily of the Valley, 2016, etc.) encourages one to embark on a modern-day, metaphorical version of the medieval alchemists’ quest to turn base metals into gold. One may refine oneself, the author says, to “attain one’s Personal Gold.” She breaks down the mechanics of this “mystical, magical, meditative process” into seven steps, which she says that a reader may unlock with an unexpected method: writing poetry with his or her non-dominant hand. Michaels claims that such untutored writing forces one to draw on the intuitive, emotional right side of the brain, using what she refers to as the “Prima Materia” of one’s creativity. In this way, she says, one may achieve a deeper understanding of self and, ultimately, a closer connection to God. In brisk, evocative prose, Michaels systematically lays out the details of each of the steps, such as “Self-Purification,” “Preparation,” and “Distillation,” even down to specifics of location and time of day. She knows that readers will be initially skeptical, especially considering how little success most people have in doing finely controlled work with their non-dominant hand: “how can anything of value come from what must surely be indecipherable squiggles?” she imagines such readers asking, but she assures them to trust in the process. Whether or not readers achieve any success with its method, the book’s romantically charged language about poetry and personal investment is extremely contagious and oddly encouraging. Overall, it’s an effective invitation to write and explore one’s creativity: “You are the alchemist of your life,” she writes in a typically upbeat passage, “and your laboratory awaits.” The consistent messages of self-discovery and patience will appeal to many readers, regardless of their alchemical disposition.

A colorfully written guide to entering the “Inner Sanctum” of one’s creativity.

Read the full review here at Kirkus Reviews.

This beautifully produced work from Michaels (Lily of the Valley, 2016, etc.) encourages one to embark on a modern-day, metaphorical version of the medieval alchemists’ quest to turn base metals into gold. One may refine oneself, the author says, to “attain one’s Personal Gold.” She breaks down the mechanics of this “mystical, magical, meditative process” into seven steps, which she says that a reader may unlock with an unexpected method: writing poetry with his or her non-dominant hand. Michaels claims that such untutored writing forces one to draw on the intuitive, emotional right side of the brain, using what she refers to as the “Prima Materia” of one’s creativity. In this way, she says, one may achieve a deeper understanding of self and, ultimately, a closer connection to God. In brisk, evocative prose, Michaels systematically lays out the details of each of the steps, such as “Self-Purification,” “Preparation,” and “Distillation,” even down to specifics of location and time of day. She knows that readers will be initially skeptical, especially considering how little success most people have in doing finely controlled work with their non-dominant hand: “how can anything of value come from what must surely be indecipherable squiggles?” she imagines such readers asking, but she assures them to trust in the process. Whether or not readers achieve any success with its method, the book’s romantically charged language about poetry and personal investment is extremely contagious and oddly encouraging. Overall, it’s an effective invitation to write and explore one’s creativity: “You are the alchemist of your life,” she writes in a typically upbeat passage, “and your laboratory awaits.” The consistent messages of self-discovery and patience will appeal to many readers, regardless of their alchemical disposition.

A colorfully written guide to entering the “Inner Sanctum” of one’s creativity.

Read the full review here at Kirkus Reviews.

Lily of the Valley is a Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Finalist

Journal
I have some very special news to share: My book, Lily of the Valley—An American Jewish Journey, has been named a finalist for the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award in the Religious (Adult Fiction) category for 2016!
As many of you know, this story touches something deep inside of me, and it is very gratifying to know that others have been touched by it as well. From the time the very first Lily began whispering her story to me many years ago, I felt a tremendous responsibility to bring her words out into the world. I am humbled as much as excited by this honor, and most of all, if it brings Lily’s story to the attention of more readers, then I will be ever grateful.

You can check out Foreword’s review of Lily of the Valley here.

As many of you know, this story touches something deep inside of me, and it is very gratifying to know that others have been touched by it as well. From the time the very first Lily began whispering her story to me many years ago, I felt a tremendous responsibility to bring her words out into the world. I am humbled as much as excited by this honor, and most of all, if it brings Lily’s story to the attention of more readers, then I will be ever grateful.

You can check out Foreword’s review of Lily of the Valley here.

Foreword Reviews calls The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® a “master class experience”

Journal

This is a master class experience on the art and science of illustrated poetry.
Xianna Michaels’s The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® is a surprising and successful hybrid of poetry and prose that serves as a meditative experience. A deeply personal yet universal outline, the book is unconventional in the best sense of the word.

As explained here, illuminated poetry is the term for illustrated poetry, and alchemy “simply means the art of transformation.” Through seven different steps, Michaels presents a guide to what she calls “poem-mandalas,” drawings and poetry that she makes with her left, non-dominant hand. The process is like “spiritual alchemy,” which she says “is above all about inner transformation.”

The lessons begin with the presentation of “Prima Materia,” or a personal moment or concept that has meaning to the practitioner and also serves as the foundational core of the work. Michaels suggests writing down a prima materia each day and working to simply observe as the poetry “spills out of you.”

Michaels jumps into the process by instructing with the universal “we” and “us,” bridging the gap between teacher and students. This creates seasoned, easy-to-understand language to help guide newcomers through the complex topics covered in the book.

Throughout the seven steps, amid a game plan for transcendent and visionary poetry, Michaels shares a series of “Facets.” The facets are small historical or logistical anecdotes that provide the collection of lessons with a loose narrative presence.

Whether through a mini-biography of Maria Prophetissa or a brief contemplation of the limitations of time, the facets are another testament to the book’s intention to educate and enlighten, more than anything else.

Michaels provides samples of personal poems and mandalas and even builds up to an innovative verse of her own creation, “Xoem.” This blend between the personal and professional provides the ultimate teaching experience and helps connect each step that is needed to create illuminated poetry.

In the seventh and final step, “Personal Gold,” Michaels draws on a popular alchemy ideal: “The alchemists’ quest to turn lead into gold, though certainly pursued by many, was also a metaphor for refinement of the self to attain one’s Personal Gold.”

As the book constantly reinforces, this lead-to-gold transformation is the product of continuous practice and an eternal curiosity.

With The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®, Xianna Michaels has created a master class experience on the art and science of illustrated poetry. The intricate brown-and-gold packaging is reason enough to pick up the book, but the written and illustrated artwork within is what makes this such an intriguing read.

Read the full review here at Foreword Reviews.

Xianna Michaels’s The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry® is a surprising and successful hybrid of poetry and prose that serves as a meditative experience. A deeply personal yet universal outline, the book is unconventional in the best sense of the word.

As explained here, illuminated poetry is the term for illustrated poetry, and alchemy “simply means the art of transformation.” Through seven different steps, Michaels presents a guide to what she calls “poem-mandalas,” drawings and poetry that she makes with her left, non-dominant hand. The process is like “spiritual alchemy,” which she says “is above all about inner transformation.”

The lessons begin with the presentation of “Prima Materia,” or a personal moment or concept that has meaning to the practitioner and also serves as the foundational core of the work. Michaels suggests writing down a prima materia each day and working to simply observe as the poetry “spills out of you.”

Michaels jumps into the process by instructing with the universal “we” and “us,” bridging the gap between teacher and students. This creates seasoned, easy-to-understand language to help guide newcomers through the complex topics covered in the book.

Throughout the seven steps, amid a game plan for transcendent and visionary poetry, Michaels shares a series of “Facets.” The facets are small historical or logistical anecdotes that provide the collection of lessons with a loose narrative presence.

Whether through a mini-biography of Maria Prophetissa or a brief contemplation of the limitations of time, the facets are another testament to the book’s intention to educate and enlighten, more than anything else.

Michaels provides samples of personal poems and mandalas and even builds up to an innovative verse of her own creation, “Xoem.” This blend between the personal and professional provides the ultimate teaching experience and helps connect each step that is needed to create illuminated poetry.

In the seventh and final step, “Personal Gold,” Michaels draws on a popular alchemy ideal: “The alchemists’ quest to turn lead into gold, though certainly pursued by many, was also a metaphor for refinement of the self to attain one’s Personal Gold.”

As the book constantly reinforces, this lead-to-gold transformation is the product of continuous practice and an eternal curiosity.

With The Alchemy of Illuminated Poetry®, Xianna Michaels has created a master class experience on the art and science of illustrated poetry. The intricate brown-and-gold packaging is reason enough to pick up the book, but the written and illustrated artwork within is what makes this such an intriguing read.

Read the full review here at Foreword Reviews.

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