The Deep River Poets offer this collection of our poems to the Jung Institute of San Francisco, in celebration of its passage from a beloved old home to a transformative new home, and as an expression of deep gratitude to Extended Education, which has given Deep River support, visibility, and a place to gather. Soul Making, which began in the library of the Gough Street building, was nurtured by Extended Education, has been influenced by the spirit of our times as well as the spirit of the depths, and is a manifestation of the essential role the creative arts play in the Jungian approach to healing the individual as well as the culture. Since the trauma of the 2016 election and the catastrophic times that have followed, Deep River has become a sacred river we wash ourselves in, as the Hindus do in Ganga Ma – Mother Ganges – to cleanse our souls and heal our broken hearts. We gather at the river to follow the flow of our poems; they take us to surprising places, show us the unexpected-the tree of life around a bend in the river, its roots deep in the earth.
About the authors
Kent Ward Butzine, Ph.D., is a licensed clinical psychologist and college professor, now retired. He lives with his life–partner in the San Francisco Bay Area. Painting and drawing have been joyous activities for him since childhood, but only since retirement has some degree of consistent practice become possible. Poetry, both reading and writing, is a newer love, which has grown exponentially since joining Deep River over 12 years ago. The group’s facilitator, Naomi Lowinsky, and fellow participants, have created a safe, comfortable, nurturing environment for the exploration and celebration of poetry and its many gifts. Kent says that “Naomi is the embodiment of wisdom and compassion. She, and the delightful, generous, skillful group members, have expanded my horizons and deepened my soul in terms of both poetry and life, which have become one. At times, I now actually think of myself as a poet. That would not have been possible without Deep River.”
Virginia Lee Chen has a PhD in Mythological Studies from Pacifica Graduate Institute. She began writing her dissertation on Orpheus while on a journey to Antarctica. On the way, she traveled with an unlucky couple. The husband failed to save his wife from falling off a cliff. Following that, Virginia lost four loved ones in four years. The inner work of poetry with Naomi Lowinsky and the Deep River poets helped her to survive the grief. A mezzo-soprano, she sang with the San Francisco Opera, Carmel Bach Festival, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. She received a fellowship to the Bach Aria Festival and Institute at Stony Brook. Virginia was born and raised on a ranch in California where she spent the weekends riding her retired race horse, Echo. Her mother called the mare an “old nag.” Even so, she sang all the songs she knew to Echo as she rode through the countryside. She loves jazz.
Sheila deShields balances with one foot on a ranch in Oklahoma and one foot in the Bay Area of CA. Interviewed on National Public Radio for her essay “Sunset Tales,” published in At Grandmother’s Table, she has poems published in literary magazines and newspapers such as Comstock Review and The Halifax Herald. She is a founding member of Hedgebrook Sisters Writing Group and a recipient of Hedgebrook and Rotary International Fellowships. Deep River compels her to voice vision, joy and concerns louder, please! Lucille Clifton, poet of light, woke her up to speaking more truth. W. S. Merwin showed her a long life committed to our planet, our need to work for love and its unexpected, unearned gifts that ripple into our souls. Naomi brings a cornucopia of poets past and present that speak of times as hard as, or more difficult than, our own. She and her poets grab Sheila by the neck and shake her into gratefulness to try again, to listen, to write.
Dossie Easton, Marriage & Family Therapist, is co-author with Janet W. Hardy of The Ethical Slut (now in its 3rd Edition) and four other books about alternative sexualities. In her private practice in San Francisco she works with individuals, couples and moresomes, and it has been her privilege to supervise several interns preparing to serve the often misserved communities of sexual outsiders. Her articles for therapists about alternative sexualities include “Making Friends with Your Jealousy” in Understanding Non-Monogamies and “Shadowplay: S/M Journeys to Your Selves” in Safe, Sane & Consensual. Her poetry has been published in several topical anthologies. Dossie is creator and lead teacher of the Navigating Consent classes, which you can learn more about at www.navigating-consent.com. Dossie has been a member of the Deep River Poetry Circle for around ten years where she has experienced unlimited inspiration, encouragement and just plain love that have transformed writing poetry from nervous work to unmitigated delight, thanks to our amazing teacher, Naomi Lowinsky. You can find Dossie’s website at www.dossieeaston.com.
Cauldrons of creativity lie hidden in San Francisco. Once, over the course of five years, in the foggy hollow of Noe Valley, she exchanged juicy poems with a Jungian Analyst. Say, she was branded as a poet. Fifteen years later—on a Pacific Heights perch—inside the Jung Institute’s library, Deep River writers exchanged fiery poems with Naomi Lowinsky, also a Jungian Analyst and poet. Jungians are dripping in creativity. For the next five years, Hills bathed in, read out loud, and wrote poems under the influence of “The Greats.” Two became her muses: James Baldwin for his sensuality and truth-telling—white people will one day fall down (as we are, today)—and Yusef Komunyakaa for his alchemy—turning his Vietnam terror into poetry. Along the way, her poems have appeared in Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Red Rock Review, Porter Gulch Review, The Bark Magazine, and the 2018-19 San Diego Poetry Annual.
Raluca Ioanid was born in communist Romania and raised in capitalist New York City. By day she is a UCSF trained Family Nurse Practitioner working at a community health center. By night she is a writer of stories and poems. Her work has been published in several anthologies and literary journals. She feels immensely grateful to share a place among the Deep River writers, guided by Naomi on a powerful journey into the heart of poetry. She is nourished and healed by the words of the poets they have studied, most notably: James Baldwin, Sandra Cisneros, Lucille Clifton and Galway Kinnell. Through them and the work of her Deep River fellows, Raluca has found strength and light for these dark times.
Daniela Kantorová, PsyD, is Czech Bahá’í clinical psychologist and community organizer living in Oakland, California. She is clinical faculty at the Wright Institute, president of Psychologists for Social Responsibility for 2020, co-chair of the first responders committee of Anti Police–Terror Project, and a coordinator of its mental health crisis response team, MHFirst, in Oakland. She specializes in work with survivors of trauma caused by interpersonal and state violence. Her writing and photography on topics of US police terror, mass incarceration and community responses has been featured in Czech publications Nový prostor, A2larm, Romea and Romano voďi.She has been writing poetry since her childhood, initially as a means of processing traumatic experiences, finding inspiration in mysticism, nature, punk and movements for liberation. She is eternally grateful to Naomi Lowinsky and the Deep River poetry circle for continuously inspiring and encouraging her poetry writing as a spiritual and healing practice.
Naomi Ruth Lowinsky lives at the confluence of the River Psyche and the Deep River of Poetry. She’s a Jungian Analyst, and a widely published poet, winner of the Obama Millennial Award and the Blue Light Poetry Prize. Her fifth poetry collection, Death and His Lorca, is forthcoming from Blue Light Press. Lowinsky has brought those two rivers together in Deep River—a poetry writing circle she’s been leading in the library of the San Francisco Jung Institute for 15 years. The group began as a way of working with writing as a spiritual practice. That expanded to writing under the influence of great poets. And before she could say “Open Sesame!” those second Saturday afternoon meetings reverberated with passionate, soulful poems written by the participants. Since the shock of the 2016 election the group’s writings have deepened in awareness of shadow, terror, and grief. Naomi is grateful for Deep River, her writing and support group in these awful times. She blogs about poetry and life at www.sisterfrombelow.com.
Clare Cooper Marcus retired as a professor in the College of Environmental Design at UC Berkeley and was looking for a way to deepen her consciousness, too long mired in the publish-or-perish demands of academia. She found what she was looking for among fellow Deep River poets. During World War Two as a child she was evacuated to the English countryside and there found solace in nature. It is not surprising she was drawn to the work of poets of nature and the environment—Gary Snyder, W.S. Merwin—and that she also wrote poems related to times of war. Deep River introduced her to poets of color, such as Gwendolyn Brooks; to others she knew little about such as Frank O’Hara; to those who wrote of poetry’s craft such as Annie Finch. With Naomi Lowinsky’s provocative prompts she was challenged to delve into her heart, relive painful memories, recognize buried connections. Poetry became her salvation.
Anita Cadena Sánchez received her BA in Economics from Pomona College, and 37 years later she decided to pursue a MA in Consciousness Studies with a certificate in Dream Studies from JFK University to balance out the left–brain demands of her work. Five years ago, a dream led her to the SF Jung Institute website where she fortuitously read about and immediately joined the Deep River poetry writing group. She eagerly accepted her Muse’s invitation to put pen to paper. When not writing poetry or dream journaling, she and her husband Steve have the pleasure of caring for their baby grandson Colin, born January 2020.
A steep decline in the value of your investments
A waterfall drop
What happens below
In the green river
Feeding the dark lake
To the underworld
Where the dead have gone
And the mortals
In their grief
Hoping to bring their loved ones back
Or failing that
Hoping to stay down forever
In that place where nothing can fall
Virginia Lee Chen