Friday, February 07, 2014

Best American Poetry: Reading Tarot for Writing

This week, writer Benebell Wen has been holding forth on the intersections between Tarot and literary practice. This Friday is her final entry and she's done a very nice job all week of showing different ways you can understand the connections and the possibilities between the Tarot and creative writing.

Of particular note is that one of my poems, "Leuk Lao" gets a nice nod here. Be sure to check it out!

Over the years I've written more than a few poems regarding different elements of the Tarot and other methods of divination, including a few that show up in my latest book DEMONSTRA, notably "The Dream Highway of Ms. Mannivongsa."  Benebell Wen definitely took an interesting approach in examining why poets may want to consider adding the Tarot to their repertoire of creative techniques from time to time.

Lao typically used other forms of divination, soothsaying and divination than the Tarot, but I wonder what a Lao version of such a deck would look like. Would we swap out the major arcana, how would we interpret other symbols more common to Europe than Asia, etc. Perhaps that will be a side project for the coming year. If there can be Tarot decks for Hello, Kitty, the Cthulhu Mythos, and Steampunk, let alone any other number of topics, I would certainly suggest Lao culture could be represented within a traditional deck.

Benebell Wen is the pseudonym for a certain literary journal editor, writer, corporate lawyer, and fashion designer. Benebell is also a professional tarot reader and has been a practitioner for over 15 years. Her book, Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Tarot for Personal Growth will be coming out Fall, 2014 from North Atlantic Books. She is a mentor and senior reader with the American Tarot Association. Read more about her work at When she is not practicing tarot or dabbling in any of the other areas of interest, she is a feng shui practitioner and student of the I Ching. She resides in Oakland, California.

Meanwhile, I suppose I really should see about getting one of my poems in their main anthology one of these days.

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