Learn More about Mark Nepo and His Work and Teaching

Welcome and thanks for all your interest and support during this past year. 2014 is coming to a close after much travel and teaching, and much learning. It’s a gift to keep learning. The Life You Want Tour with Oprah was a remarkable journey and I was honored to be a small part of it. Oprah opened an enormous heart space that we all moved in and out of. This kind of authenticity in public was groundbreaking and the arenas, filled with thousands, actually felt intimate. And my experience as part of the documentary The Power of the Heart was equally moving. The film doesn’t just speak to the heart, but touches the heart. Now I’m opening to the stillness again, the listen to the voices inside. So the winter months are quiet ones for me, time to renew, recharge, time to go inward, time to listen and retrieve as I begin to shape two new books. The first project I’ll be finishing this winter is a new, expanded edition of Inside the Miracle (originally published in 1994). I’m excited to gather poems, stories, and lessons on suffering, healing, and wholeness from twenty-eight years of my writing and teaching. A third of this book will be new work not yet published. Inside the Miracle will be published in fall 2015 by Sounds True. The second project I’ll be exploring is the next ground of my own learning, which is an inquiry into the forces of effort and grace and how they shape us and help us to survive and thrive. This book, yet to be titled, will be published in August 2016 by Atria. I hope the winter holds you well, giving you time to renew and gestate into your next best self. Come April 2015, I’ll be traveling again extensively to be with you, to learn together, and to share the journey. Until then, I hope that time will open and let its blessings meet you.

—Mark Nepo


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.

A New York Times #1 bestseller, The Book of Awakening has been translated into more than twenty languages. To date, Mark has published fourteen books and recorded eight audio projects. Recent work includes: Reduced to Joy (2013), Seven Thousand Ways to Listen which won the 2012 Books for a Better Life Award, Staying Awake (2012), Holding Nothing Back (2012), As Far As the Heart Can See (2011), Finding Inner Courage (2011), and Surviving Has Made Me Crazy (2007), as well as audio books of The Book of Awakening, Finding Inner Courage, and As Far As the Heart Can See (2011).

The Exquisite Risk was cited by Spirituality & Practice as one of the Best Spiritual Books of 2005, calling it “one of the best books we’ve ever read on what it takes to live an authentic life.” Mark’s collected essays appear in Unlearning Back to God: Essays on Inwardness. Other books of poetry include Suite for the Living (2004), Inhabiting Wonder (2004), Acre of Light (1994), Fire Without Witness (1988), and God, the Maker of the Bed, and the Painter (1988).


Oprah shares a favorite passage from The Book of Awakening


Mark on The Book of Awakening


Mark on Good Morning America (January 2011)