Open your mind to everyday wonders with poems that celebrate life’s small yet meaningful moments.
As editor James Crews writes in the introduction of his anthology, The Wonder of Small Things:
“[A] deep love for the world is present in every one of the poems gathered in this book. Wonder calls us back to the curiosity we are each born with, and it makes us want to move closer to what sparks our attention. Wonder opens our senses and helps us stay in touch with a humbling sense of our own human smallness in the face of unexpected beauty and the delicious mysteries of life on this planet. No matter how we name these sensations, we have all felt some version of awe as we were lifted out of the thinking mind, even if for an instant, and brought more fully back into our bodies. In this way, like mindfulness, wonder and awe root us in the moment, and when we create the space in our lives to feel them, the inevitable result is a deep sense of rest, renewal, and peace.
The poet and philosopher Mark Nepo has written: “Wonder is the rush of life saturating us with its aliveness, the way sudden rain makes us smile, the way sudden wind opens our face. And while wonder can surprise us, our daily work is to cultivate wonder in ourselves and in each other.” In other words, we don’t need to wait for amazement to find us, and we don’t have to search for it outside of ourselves either. Like the qualities of kindness and gratitude, which have been the subjects of my previous poetry anthologies, wonder and peace can be cultivated and practiced daily with the people, places, and things we encounter.”
We hope you enjoy this reflection on the small yet meaningful moments of this season.
Joshua Michael Stewart
The smell of ferns and understory
after rain. The tick, tick of stove,
flame under kettle. Bing Crosby,
and not just the Christmas records.
Cooking meat slowly off the bone,
and every kind of soup and stew.
To come this close to nostalgia,
but go no further, leaving behind
the boy who wore loneliness
like boots too big for his feet.
That time of evening,
when everything turns blue
in moonlight, when darkness
has yet to consume all for itself.
Find more poems like this in The Wonder of Small Things: Poems of Peace & Renewal.
Excerpted and adapted from The Wonder of Small Things, edited by James Crews.
The editor of the bestselling poetry anthologies How to Love the World and The Path to Kindness presents a collection of highly accessible, uplifting poetry celebrating the small wonders and peaceful moments of everyday life.
James Crews, editor of two best-selling poetry anthologies, How to Love the World and The Path to Kindness, presents an all-new collection of highly accessible poems on the theme of celebrating moments of wonder and peace in everyday life. As Crews writes in the introduction: "[A] deep love for the world is present in every one of the poems gathered in this book. Wonder calls us back to the curiosity we are each born with, and it makes us want to move closer to what sparks our attention. Wonder opens our senses and helps us stay in touch with a humbling sense of our own human smallness in the face of unexpected beauty and the delicious mysteries of life on this planet."
The anthology features a foreword by Nikita Gill and a carefully curated selection of poems from a diverse range of authors, including Native American poets Joy Harjo, Linda Hogan, Kimberly Blaeser, and Joseph Bruchac, and BIPOC writers Ross Gay, Julia Alvarez, and Toi Derricotte. Crews features new poems from popular writers such as Natalie Goldberg, Mark Nepo, Ted Kooser, Naomi Shihab Nye, Jane Hirshfield, and Jacqueline Suskin, along with selections from emerging poets. Readers are guided in exploring the meaning and essence of the poems through a series of reflective pauses scattered through the pages and reading group questions in the back. This anthology offers the perfect intersection for the growing number of readers interested in mindful living and bringing poetry into their everyday lives.