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How Therapists Dance: Poems and Essays

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By Dane Cervine

How Therapists Dance follows the numinous thread described by Novalis:

The seat of the soul is where the inner world and the outer world meet. Where they overlap, it is in every point of the overlap.

As in the first poem, in which snails scrawl the names of Buddhas with their silvery trails and ends with the poet kissing his wife's hands, taking out the garbage, and being confronted with an overwhelming moon. These poems stitch together psychiatric ward encounters with the musings of security guards in an art gallery; an urban dance floor provoking a breakthrough for a stranded therapist; his father's empty shotgun shells, his aunt's accordion finding its way inside the body, ribs expanding and contracting as though you are an instrument life is still learning how to play.

"…clear struck bells."
—Jane Hirshfield

How Therapists Dance is the meeting ground for the spiritual seeker, the therapist and the observant poet who negotiates this tricky terrain and writes poems for them all. There is humor and longing, tenderness and beauty. Each of these voices has its say. From them I learn how enlightenment is spoiled by wanting it too much. How the dance of therapists is into and out of the skin of others. How Superman's true heroism is revealed. These are poems worthy of a long-term friendship.
—Len Anderson, author of Invented by the Night

Dane Cervine explores with a keen poet's eye the borderlands where the doctor meets the mystic, the adult meets the child he once was, the beauty and pain of life become indistinguishable. Deliciously full of joy, insight, and awe, Cervine's poetry certainly shows you how therapists dance.
— Ellen Bass, author of The Human Line

Dane Cervine often lets a wry humor open the door to a deeper place. His light stroke sets the reader at ease, invites us into "the mischief in the young boy's fiddle," the "almost tangible, humming in the air between us" where, even through sadness and hardship "a blue dragonfly whirs" and we come to know we are "wide enough, finally, for every jagged thing." His finely-wrought poems are a comfort and a compass.
—Patrice Vecchione, author of Writing and the Spiritual Life and a poetry collection, The Knot Untied

While Dane Cervine's first book, The Jeweled Net of Indra, was woven with themes related to social justice and our larger connection with each other, this new book is flavored with the act of "attention" shared by the triune influences of his work: therapy, meditation, and poetry. Dane Cervine's poems are at once disciplined, sturdy, compassionate and wise. And there's an inspired playfulness, as in these lines from his poem "Enlightenment Is a Bitch":

...even fire hydrants with their red stubby arms become mandalas, and worse, the police siren revving its wail behind/my slow-moving car sounds like a mantra...

—Robert Sward, author of New & Selected Poems, 1957-2012

Regarding the poem "Accordions & Shotguns," a finalist for the Wabash:
The sheer volume of information in this poem is impressive—which is to say that all that story is fluently delivered to the reader—but it is really the passion and precision of the final stanza that earns my full attention.
—-Tony Hoagland

Dane's acute observations bring a magnifying glass to the private and public Self, and his poems become our mirror. In this respect, Dane's work brings to mind Rilke's lines from the Duino Elegies: "All that we can achieve, here, is to recognize ourselves completely in what can be seen on earth."
—Maggie Paul, author of Borrowed World

I keep Dane's poem "Sin" next to my computer to read each morning, and use the poem as the starting point for my workshop Only This Failure to Praise: Poetry and Our Place in the World. Dane Cervine tells us:

The worst part is failing to kiss the ground each morning.
Or the cold pot of resentment stirred and simmered
well into the evening. Everything else comes from this,

Using this poem as a guide, we explore our relationship to earth, to those closest to us, to abundance, to the material world, to death, and to spirituality.
— Edwina Trentham, editor of Freshwater

About the Author Dane Cervine

Dane lives in Santa Cruz, California along the Monterey Bay coast, where he serves as Chief of Children's Mental Health for the county and works as a therapist. Dane Cervine's book The Jeweled Net of Indra was published by Plain View Press in 2007. His poems have won or been finalists for awards from Adrienne Rich, Tony Hoagland, the Atlanta Review, and Caesura. His work appears in a diverse range of publications, including The SUN, the Hudson Review, anthologies, short film, animation, newspapers, and on-line. Visit Dane Cervine's web site at

ISBN: 978-1-935514-22-0

120 pages, $14.95

Poetry : American - General
Body, Mind & Spirit : Parapsychology - General
Philosophy : Eastern

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  • Model: Cervine, Dane
  • Shipping Weight: 10oz
  • 100 Units in Stock
  • Manufactured by: Plain Vew Press

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 08 February, 2013.

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