A Theopoetic of Embodied Prayer

Anna Talhami – The Embodied Prayer of New Blessings Poetry

Artist Statement originally written for the 2019 Theopoetics Conference

Internationally and throughout the U.S, I have been grateful to engage in collective trauma healing, restorative peace building, and embodied liberatory theology as interconnected. Here I will perform “New Blessings,” poetry that came out of this work, as well as share my process. These poems came from answering my own desperate questions –– prayers and blessings I needed that I couldn’t find anywhere. My own “New Blessings” –– have come out of chronic depression after years of spiritual practice and activism. I felt lost and disconnected and needed, urgently, new answers.

Some I wrote in order to heal from traumas, new and old. Some came from a need to transcend limiting beliefs, for internal and external harmony: How do I see G!d in the oppressor while centering the oppressed? How do I honor my anger at injustice while engaging vulnerably and compassionately? How do I reflect back to people in crisis the blessing that they are? How do I question every assumption of possibility and find radical coexistence? My work seeks to weave these questions and embody their relationship. Answering creates new artistic work, as well as new rituals and practices for joyful, resilience and radical love.