Reduced to Joy
Mark Nepo is emerging as one of the truly significant writers and thinkers of today. Nepo has a singular way of distilling great truths down to their essence. Moreover, during his cancer journey, Nepo relied on the power of expression and the writing process to keep him tethered to life.
In Reduced to Joy, Mark Nepo explores the places where pain and joy are stitched to resilience, uncovering them with deep wisdom, poetic passages and personal revelations. Nepo reminds us all of the secret and sacred places within, forgotten in the noise and chatter of our busy distracted 21st Century lives. Reduced to Joy is a lesson in stillness, in standing in the mystery and, above all, in the work of love.
Mark’s seventh book of poems contains seventy-three pieces, retrieved and shaped over the last thirteen years, about the nature of working with what we’re given till it wears us through to joy.
Reduced to Joy has many different kinds of poems, all of them clear, wise, beautifully put, spare. Mark Nepo has a great heart. His poems are good company.
—Coleman Barks, translator of The Essential Rumi
Mark Nepo’s poems in his new book, Reduced to Joy, reduce me first to grateful silence, and then to tears, and then to laughter, and then to praise. He joins a long tradition of truth-seeking, wild-hearted poets—Rumi, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver—and deserves a place in the center of the circle with them.
—Elizabeth Lesser, Cofounder, Omega Institute, author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow
Mark Nepo has a rare quality of writing, one that fills you up even as it drops you into emptiness. Through his sensibilities we touch what is human: he plucks at our heartstrings with naked candor and metaphorical mastery. Brilliant, profound and accessible, the poems in this collection are like precious treasures rising from the deep, glistening reminders of what really matters.
—Julie Clayton, New Consciousness Review
Oh! What a marvelous book. Mark Nepo’s generous, vast poems restore readers to joy even before we finish reading them—musing upon single lines, images, stanzas—we feel it rising up again, that precious sense of YES. And completing them—we feel the rich trove of thinking and living so heartened and restored.
—Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Words Under the Words and 19 Varieties of Gazelle
Watch this great video review of Reduced to Joy, by Stephanie Foley at The Voracious Reader: