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Book Reviews

In Praise Of Listening

This essential book reminds us of essential things—like the way listening can be a creative advance, not a passive retreat…and that listening outward can lead to listening inward…and how eloquent voices are nothing without eloquent listeners. Here you will hear a multitude of voices with stories about listening with the ears, the fingers, the heart. In a world all too strident in shouting, this book leads us to velvet voices, hints and murmurs, to speaking silence and kinship whispered for our remedy.

—Kim Stafford, author of The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer’s Craft

“McEwen’s poetic prose reveals what is possible when we learn to listen with
more than our ears.”

—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Life


Legal Tender: Women and the Secret Life of Money 

“If money talks, it is with our voice,” writes Lynne Twist. Christian McEwen has been listening to women tell their money stories for more than a decade. This book is the fruit of more than 50 of her interviews. Lively and surprising, with a focus on childhood memories, adult challenges, the joys of generosity and abundance, and the inequities of race and class and gender, it has been edited and arranged by McEwen herself.

“Money was invented to facilitate the transfer of goods and services when bartering became difficult to manage. Since then, we have imbued it with all sorts of meanings that were never intended, and wrapped it in multiple layers of secrecy and shame. Christian’s book, Legal Tender, helps disentangle money from its shroud of confusion and mystery. Reading these stories is a healing process, and an invitation to consider how we would tell money stories of our own.”

—Megan LeBoutillier, PhD


World Enough and Time

World Enough & Time : On Creativity and Slowing Down 

“World Enough & Time is a wise book—a quiet feast, a daydreamer’s manual, a work of mindfulness, which teaches us to slow down and see the world anew. Read it slowly and come to your senses.”

Edward Hirsch, author of How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry 

“World Enough & Time is, above all, simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. Christian McEwen’s prose is pure poetry. …This is not just a good book. This is a book that should become a classic.”

—John de Graaf, editor of Take Back Your Time


Sparks from the Anvil


Sparks from the Anvil : The Smith College Poetry Interviews

“In his interview, Patrick Donnelly suggests that in the deep core of everything we experience, ‘there is light, there is luminosity, there is tenderness.’ These words aptly describe the fundamental gifts to be found in Sparks from the Anvil. Sixteen of our finest poets shed abundant light on the poetic process. They also offer luminous observations on how and why a person might devote a life to the practice of poetry. Above all, these interviews affirm the worth of tenderness — the openness to feeling — as the sine qua non of art. Friend, this is a book you will love as you love poetry itself.”

—Fred Marchant, author of The Looking House


The Tortoise Diaries

The Tortoise Diaries : Daily Meditations on Creativity & Slowing Down

The Tortoise Diaries offers a “slow quote” for every day in the year, with illustrations by
Laetitia Bermejo. January introduces the art of slowing down, while March explores
“child time,” and April the joys and relaxation to be found in walking. The entries have
been arranged to flow smoothly from one to the next, helping to deepen and clarify each
new theme, and offering inspiration for your own creative practice.





Music Hiding in the Air

“…is a tender retrospective of artist and musician, Rory
McEwen, a very dear uncle and mentor to niece and author/poet Christian McEwen…
One gets swept away with McEwen’s poetic reverie as she speaks of her uncle: “… he
was someone who knew in his bones the world that we were part of, with its tidal pull of class and family loyalties, its fierce old-fashioned obligations. But he was also a
professional artist, deeply committed to his work. He painted every day. He got things

—Johanna, a PhD student in Transformative Studies at the California Institute for Integral Studies


In the Wake of Home

“In poems that search, name, nab and unsettle, Christian McEwen excavates loss – and discovers evidence of love. Many of the poems make poignant use of the rich iambic throb and dangerous lilt of nursery rhyme, while others follow instinct and let mystery do the singing… I am grateful for these voices’ testimony, fierce and gentle.”

Ellen Doré Watson, author of Dogged Hearts, director of the Smith College Poetry Center.




Readers Write:

“Thirteen thank yous for World Enough & Time. It is a beautifully written, touching, and profoundly helpful book.”

Paulus Berensohn, artist, potter, dancer, and author of Finding One’s Way With Clay

“Yesterday a former Hartsbrook colleague visited me. He and his family now live in Vienna where he works for the United Nations. He reads in a wide-ranging, eager way, and is also a real connector, very personable. Yesterday he told me, “By the way, that book you gave me? It’s now at the very top of my list of books I recommend to others. In fact, and I never do this, I went right out and bought another copy for a friend.” You don’t know John, but being at the top of his list is a bit like hitting the jackpot. He reads so much and so well, and he knows so many people. Just thought you’d like to know.”

Meg Fisher

“I just finished World Enough & Time last night… there aren’t enough words to say how grateful I am to have found this book. It is a treasure map to the proverbial island everyone is so frantically searching for in these mad times. I am 75 years old, an artist of sorts maybe on Thursdays, have friends and pets dying, find little to contemplate without becoming angry about the state of the world. I’m truly thrilled by the silences and pleasures you describe. Thank you, thank you for such a marvelous and well-researched book, which is tops on the re-read list, much slower the second time around… and the third.”

Sue Hunsicker

“My friend Craig said that your book is helping him rediscover himself and return to the truth of his soul.”

Maddy Cahill

“I just wanted to tell you how much I am enjoying your book. I am taking it slowly in the spirit of your writing of it and I am sure I will be reading it again and again. Reading “The Space Between” this morning brought tears to my eyes. This is why I came to live here and yet the lure of the internet has taken me away from it. So today I went and stood above the bay and let the wind and wave after wave come in. They swooshed and crashed around me and I felt refreshed and re-energized for the day.”

Norrie Bissell

“So, Christian I bought your book and was enjoying it very much — it shows an enormous amount of erudition lightly worn and a succession of fascinating examples and your voice clearly within it, full of helpful connections and analogies and references from literature and life…

I have a confession to make, though. I haven’t finished it. I went to meet my sister last weekend and she started reading it and grew so captivated I lent it to her. I suspect I will have to buy myself another one. I thank that will be its fate — it will be recommended and lent and not returned and will continue to grow and swell in volume for a long long time to come.”

Adam Ganz