on March 6, 2008
This handsome anthology pairs some of our greatest poets with the reflections of prominent leaders across a wide range of professions. Each contributor testifies to a particular poem's power to illuminate the heart of his or her life's work. Leaders write with startling candor and clarity about both the light and dark places they encounter in their professional lives--and in the inner lives they bring to their work. This gathering of poetry and reflection reminds me that head and heart together create whole individuals with the vision, drive, self-awareness and authenticity that lead to creative and positive change. I have a copy on my desk and another on my nightstand. It's a book to curl up with and savor--and to turn to when the going is rough.
on December 15, 2007
In Leadership from Within I am discovering one poem and essay at a time what leadership means to all kinds of people from college students to college professors, from social advocates to corporate executives, lawyers and journalists and more. It is fascinating to see the poems that inspire them and the reasons why. This is a book not just to read but to savor.
on October 9, 2007
Never before has there been a collection of poetry so profound, yet so in touch with human nature. Boldly, yet subtly, one of my favorite collections, will not fall off of my reading desk anytime soon.
on March 5, 2008
Just the title, Leading from Within--Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach, cues the reader to the truth that this is a very different book about leadership. With each page turned, a leader shares a poem which spoke to his or her heart at a significant life moment or one which seems to give new life to core beliefs. What ties them all together?
Each leader's story illustrates the value of inner work as critical to his or her work in the world. By using metaphorical materials, the leaders are able to name and welcome the power of their gifts and talents while recognizing the potential for their abuse.
This is a book which can be picked up and put down, dipped into at any page, read and reread. It needs to be placed on the corner of your desk, on your night-stand or in your brief case; left some place for easy perusal of authentic insights.
on October 1, 2007
This beautifully written collection brings together experience and insight from a wide range of leaders--executives, educators, clergy, politicians, and entrepreneurs, just to name a few. The poems they share are themselves beautiful and profound; the reflections accompanying them speak to both the challenges and potential of inspired leadership. A powerful source of encouragement for all those who seek to change our world for the better.
on September 25, 2007
Francis Bacon said that "some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested." This one deserves to be chewed and digested--read from front to back, back to front or from the middle out, or just on a happen-to-be-open page. The poems are eclectic, the comments are refreshing and easy to identify with. A perfect gift opportunity!
on March 20, 2008
This wonderful anthology gives pleasure two ways: first, as a source of a wide variety of new and interesting poets and poems you may not have encountered before, always an important service for an anthology to perform. Second, however, the brief introductions that each contributor offers to his or her poem are a revelation and often as powerful as the poem itself. Who would have guessed that Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group, would both find inspiration in Tennyson's "Ulysses"? Or that a Congresswoman would be touched by Naomi Shihab Nye's "Kindness".
If you are expecting a collection of sentimental poetic candies, fear not. A few old chestnuts are here: "Invictus", for example, offered by a philosophy professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, but when you read his reason for including it, you read the poem with a new appreciation. Poets like William Stafford, Mary Oliver, and Langston Hughes are cited multiple times, and much-anthologized poets like Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot are here too, but so are poets new to me: William Ayot, Carol Zippert, or Ezzeddin Nasafi. Mystics like Rumi, Hafiz, and William Blake. Public figures like Eugene McCarthy and Martin Luther King Jr.
The 93 poems are thoughtfully grouped into eight sections with intriguing titles that will make sense to anyone who's been in a position of leadership: "Called", "Defining Moments", "Sometimes It Aches", "Pay Attention", "The Real Bottom Line", "Dare to Endure", "Leading Together", "Back At It". The editors have clearly paid attention to the poems and clearly thought deeply about leadership. We expect much of our leaders and project upon them powers and motives that only compound the responsibility they already carry. We hope they will inspire us, but we seldom think about where they find inspiration. This anthology offers their testimony and the result is an anthology that rewards multiple readings. Whether you lead a large corporation or a school PTA, you'll find it inspiring to listen to leaders praise the poems that inspire them.
on March 24, 2008
There are many devotional resources, most of which serve us well in our faith formation. This book however has been a unique resource for me as a United Methodist pastor. It is a book filled with poems that have been selected by various individuals, some well known, others not. The individual gives a reflection on the meaning of the poem for her/him and then the poem following.
For me, I turn to this book at the end of the day, sitting in my easy chair I flip through the book in no particular order. I find myself reading the reflection by an individual. I then read the poem, allowing the person's reflection to "color" my perception of the poem. And then I sit in silence. No difficult/complex process. Just reflection, poem, silence.
As we are reminded in the Courage & Renewal work, the soul/spirit comes to us "at a slant". It is in the silence that I feel a particular sense of the sacred. This book is a rich resource to be read one poem/one reflection at a time. It is food for the long journey.
on June 17, 2013
One of the most inspiring and centering books I have ever encountered. The perspectives and insights of so many world changers are helpful, but their vulnerability concerning the cost and meaning of leadership is remarkable. This is an anthology to savor and to return to again and again. It reawakens your love of words, poetry, and the gift of leading others.