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After the Jug Was Broken Paperback – December 15, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


In her book of poetry, Leah Shelleda, "gatherer of shards", sings the world and psyche into wholeness. Whether she is speaking in the voice of a character in myth, or speaking in her own heartfelt voice of the places she has visited, she re-members for us that Myth, Place, Experience, and Spirit are One. Shelleda's After the Jug Was Broken, an incantation of healing, begs to be read aloud. Through the fruit of suffering, and transformation through beauty, "where spirit spins cosmic webs", the reader is forever changed. --Patricia Damery, author of Farming Soul

About the Author

Leah Shelleda is Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Philosophy at the College of Marin. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, and her chapbook, A Flash of Angel, won the Blue Light Press prize. She is a weaver of wall hangings as well as words, and an ardent gardener.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: il piccolo editions; First edition (December 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1926715462
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926715469
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,924,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Once upon a career, I taught Humanities and Philosophy at the College of Marin in northern California. After a long struggle between me and my somewhat-ignored Muse, I finally let her have her way with me - I retired to write poetry. The result is After the Jug was Broken.
When I am not ensconced with laptop and cat in favorite chair, there is a loom waiting for me, a demanding garden of fruit and roses, and 8 grandkids. My husband and I have traveled to Africa, India, Europe and Asia, and those places had a profound effect on my poetry.
And now the new anthology of poetry I edited has been published! It's called The Book of Now: Poetry for the Rising Tide. In 2011 my husband and I traveled to Southern Mexico, and in the rain forests of Chiapas the great trees took over my voice and new poems appeared about the Change we have entered. I was so fortunate to find a group of wonderful poets who speak to the love and sorrow of our relation to the earth, and how psyche mirrors nature.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By M. R. Campbell on April 26, 2011
Format: Paperback
Students of the ancient texts tell us that when the infinite flowed into the original vessels of the finite, the vessels shattered. Their shards, each with a spark of light, comprise all we know in a world of apparent opposites.

In the title poem in "After the Jug Was Broken," Leah Shelleda writes that if the vessels were too fragile to contain the light, "Then I will be a gatherer of shards." Shelleda organizes her shards in this luminous collection of sparks into Myth, Experience, Place and Spirit.

Some of the shards are transcendent. In Myth, her "Invocation" asks the Lamias of old to "Send sudden gusts of wild song" and Mary Magdalene asks again the old riddle, "How may a woman also enter?"

Some of the shards are sharp. In Experience, "The Memory of Light" cuts deep when it says "How rare when joy enters history/like fireworks and lasting/about as long" and "Extinct Birds" draws blood when it says "The Great Auk the Madagascar hawk/ the last ones died of indifference."

Some of the shards are kaleidoscopic, reflecting the visions of multiple places. In Place, Shelleda writes in "Behind the Sacred Heart" that she doesn't want to write about the Sacred Heart, preferring to tell us about a dream "of an openhearted wise man/who arrives four times a year/once in each season/but that comes later/in a language/that is not yet spoken."

None of the shards are like the shards of broken pottery displayed dead under glass in museums. They shine with their apportioned photons of light. They live and breathe and if we take them into ourselves with our apportioned share of the infinite breath, we will be changed in ways we should not try to predict.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 3, 2011
Format: Paperback
Some books of poetry provide solace for personal cum universal bruises while provided sustenance for minds eager to revisit the mythology of the past, seeking a path to understanding the present. They are few these days, when most poets are bent of sharing autobiographical moments that may or may not connect with the audience depending on sectors or gender or philosophies or other circumstances. Leah Shelleda happily offers us a collection of brilliantly composed poems that fall into the realm of universal connection that a knowledge of mythology and other foreign ports have provided her.

Shelleda divides her collection into four parts: Mythos (utterly extraordinary sensitive works recalling mythological and real people in a manner that stirs the imagination); Empeiria/Experience; Topos/Place (exotic ports of pleasure and the unknown); Pneuma/Spirit. If her quarto suggests philosophical bent, then the reader has successfully entered her world. Poetry of this caliber doesn't just roll off the pen: these poems represent a mind's activity that is at all times exploring the aspects of living we too often ignore. As the opening to her invitation to her four part journey she offers the following poem:

Once there was a vessel
wasn't there?
Didn't an ancient potter spin clay
a blacksmith hammer bronze?
Didn't all we knew and all
that was known coalesce
in that jug
or was it just the shape of
our hands caressing
Was it the brain fired
in the kiln of our body
the millennia of myths
the spirits arrayed
in our painted dreams
singing a map
of the world?
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By Deborah on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Leah has written a series of poems worth contemplation about-
-magical words
and the ways of living and seeing our world

Thank you for the care and wisdom
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