Learn More about Mark Nepo and His Work and Teaching

Welcome. I hope the new year is treating you well. I feel blessed to be in a very creative period of my life. I traveled much of the fall speaking and teaching around the publication of Inside the Miracle and was moved to spend such time with many of you. Now I’ve returned to the quiet, inner space where I listen to all I’ve learned along the way and to the mysteries and lessons of experience, which never stop coming. And from this space, two new books are in the making and both will be published in 2016.

In July 2016, Atria will publish The One Life We’re Given: Finding the Wisdom that Waits in Your Heart. In this book, I’m evolving the story-driven, short-chapter format of The Book of Awakening. Drawn from many years of teaching, this book explores how our hard work and authenticity ready us for meaning and grace, and how our sincerity and labor help us to survive and thrive. In The One Life We’re Given, I hope to offer a path of soul work that can help us find our way, so we might discover the story behind the story and find what can last.

In October 2016, Sounds True will publish a major collection of my poetry The Way Under the Way: The Place of True Meeting, which gathers 217 poems retrieved and shaped over the past twenty years. The central theme of this work is my ongoing inquiry into the inner space of the soul and the journey of being human. The place of true meeting, which is always near, is where we chance to discover our shared humanity and common thread of Spirit. As a poet, I’ve always been a listener. In this way, the poems are the teachers. They arrive with their wisdom and become my guides. What they surface becomes my inner curriculum and by staying in conversation with them, I grow.

I hope your own inquiries are leading you more fully into life and that you’re challenges are not too great. In March 2016, I’ll be traveling again and hope to see you somewhere along the way.



Selected as one of Spirituality & Health Magazine‘s Top 10 Best Books of 2015

miracleInside the Miracle: Enduring Suffering, Approaching Wholeness

In 1987, Mark Nepo was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. The heart of that journey and its aftermath has greatly informed his work. In 1994, Mark published and recorded a landmark book, Inside the Miracle, about the nature of suffering and resilience, which Publishers Weekly called one of the best audiotapes of the year. The book had a greater reach than anyone imagined. Sounds True is now publishing a new, expanded edition of Inside the Miracle, which gathers twenty-eight years of Mark’s writing and teaching about suffering, healing, and wholeness, including: the original poems and prose from Inside the Miracle (1994, 1996, now out of print), ten relevant essays from his collected personal essays, Unlearning Back to God (2006, now out of print), and thirty-nine new poems and prose pieces not yet published. Of the book, Mark says, “One of the great transforming passages in my life was having cancer in my mid-thirties. This experience unraveled the way I see the world and made me a student of all spiritual paths. It’s my hope that the trail of this lifetime conversation with suffering and care will open you to the fullness of your own humanity. With a steadfast belief in our aliveness, I hope what’s here will help you meet the transformation that waits in however you’re being forged.”

Inside the Miracle is simply the best book I have read in years. Mark Nepo invites us to live a human life, fully, joyously and without reservation, using all our experiences and vulnerabilities as a precious opportunity to encounter and serve the Mystery. He has blessed us all.”
—Rachel Naomi Remen MD, author of Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings



In November 2013, Mark’s two-part interview with Oprah appeared on Super Soul Sunday on OWNTV. In these interviews with Oprah, Mark discussed the lifelong lessons from his cancer journey 26 years ago, and why he believes listening with a full heart is the key to living a vibrant and meaningful life. Mark explains how modern-day distractions can keep us from establishing deep connections with one another; he offers practical insights on how to cultivate our listening skills, deepening relationships with ourselves and others.

Check out nine of Mark’s most moving quotes from his two-part interview with Oprah—and download them and share them with friends.


CLIP: Why Mark believes listening with an open heart is the key to living a vibrant and meaningful life.

CLIP: “The Inspiration For 7,000 Ways to Listen”

CLIP: “Mark Nepo on poetry”


On his way to Maui to meet Oprah, Mark wrote a poem about their meeting on an island with such an ancient and beautiful bamboo forest. Oprah and the Super Soul Sunday crew created this amazing video of the bamboo forest with Oprah reading Mark’s poem. Watch it here.

Paia, a Clearing

in the Forest

—for Oprah

We agree to meet half way

round the world where the ocean

waited thousands of years before

opening its clear mouth to speak

this island under the sun. All to

remember we are students of the

large stillness, struggling with our

little stillness. Never knowing what

will rise between us, we meet beyond

the bamboo forest and bend in

the light, hollow as these stalks,

listening for a trace of the

beginning, as we do.


Mark’s previous Super Soul Sunday appearance was on a panel with Ed Bacon and Elizabeth Lesser. WATCH SELECTED CLIPS HERE.



Mark Nepo’s body of work explores leaning into life and holding nothing back. Mark is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry and spirituality for over thirty years, and taught at the State University of New York at Albany for eighteen years. Mark is currently available for speaking engagements (including giving readings, keynotes, lectures, workshops, and retreats).

In 1987, Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. The heart of that journey and its aftermath has greatly informed his work. Of his journey since then, he says, “What I have had to face are the great ordinary things that all of us have to face: the prospect of dying without having truly lived, and the prospect of living without having truly loved. And the joy of discovering this with others.” As a result, Mark is committed to the usefulness of daily inner life. Through writing and teaching, he remains devoted to the life of inner transformation and relationship.

Mark’s work is deep yet accessible because his wisdom is that of one whose close brush with death has enabled a rich understanding of the power of the human Soul. He does not discount our flaws, our failings, our human weaknesses. On the contrary, his great tenderness for our imperfections is precisely what makes his readers feel so held—both in our human capacity and in our interconnectedness with one another.

In 2010, Mark’s The Book of Awakening was chosen by Oprah for her Ultimate Favorite Things show. “Mark Nepo is a poet,” Oprah said. “He’s an author and a philosopher and has been through two different cancers. So when he writes, he writes purely from the heart.”

Oprah was given The Book of Awakening as a birthday gift and says she does one lesson from the book every morning. “If we all do it together, we can begin to open our hearts, change the world and begin to have the life you want by being present to the life you have now,” Oprah says.

Mark has moved and inspired readers and seekers all over the world with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening. Beloved as a poet, teacher, and storyteller, Mark has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” To date, he has published sixteen books and recorded eleven audio projects. In 2015, he was given a Life-Achievement Award by AgeNation.

Recent work includes Inside the Miracle (Sounds True), selected by Spirituality & Health Magazine as one of the top ten best books of 2015, The Endless Practice (Atria), cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2014, his book of poems, Reduced to Joy (Viva Editions), cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2013, a 6CD box set of teaching conversations based on the poems in Reduced to Joy (Sounds True, 2014), and Seven Thousand Ways to Listen (Atria), which won the 2012 Books for a Better Life Award.

Mark was part of Oprah Winfrey’s The Life You Want Tour in 2014 and has appeared several times with Oprah on her Super Soul Sunday program on OWN TV. He has also been interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America.



Oprah shares a favorite passage from The Book of Awakening


Mark on The Book of Awakening


Mark on Good Morning America (January 2011)