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Mark Liebenow

Mark Liebenow grew up in Wisconsin. When he moved to California, he often went to Yosemite and discovered the transcendence of Nature that John Muir wrote about. It was during this time that his wife Evelyn died suddenly of an unknown heart problem when she was in her forties. Liebenow now lives in Illinois where he helps friends preserve heirloom seeds on their organic farm. He writes about grief, nature, and the theology of fools. Liebenow is the author of four books, the most recent being Mountains of Light: Seasons of Reflection in Yosemite, about going into nature to deal with grief. It was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2012. His essays, poems, and literary criticism have been published in journals like The Colorado Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Disquieting Muses Quarterly, Clackamas Literary Review, Crab Orchard Review, and Rain Taxi Review. His poems have been set to music by composers Stephen Heinemann, “Mirage,” an eight-minute work for chorus and soprano saxophone; John Orfe, “God of the Night,” a choral piece commissioned by the Choral Arts Ensemble of Rochester, Minnesota; Robert Levy, “Maybe Sadness,” a jazz song that has been recorded. He has won the Chautauqua Nonfiction Prize, the River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Book Prize, the Literal Latte Essay Prize, the Sipple Poetry Award, received honorable mentions for the Editor’s Prize at The Spoon River Poetry Review and the Academy of American Poets Prize. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, an Illinois Arts Council Award, and named a notable essay in Best American Essays 2012. Liebenow studied creative writing in the graduate school at Bradley University and English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He holds M.Div. and M.A. degrees., and speaks before groups and gives workshops on a variety of topics.

Articles:

Thanksgiving Darkness

Coming home after work in late November, I hear the sounds of children laughing and look down from the BART station at the playground of St. Leander’s School. Children are […]

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Deep Calls to Deep: Why Grievers Understand Each Other

I wear the black shroud of my dead, walk through dark canyons littered with bones. Sorrowful, beautiful death lives here. Silence is my companion because you are gone. * A […]

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Dark World Community: Grievers Helping One Another

 When death comes, we leave the world of light behind and enter a world of shadows. Colors mute to gray. Sounds are all in the distance. Even if it’s sunny […]

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Re-Imagining Grief: When Family and Culture Offer No Help

We are taught how to grieve by the legacy carried in our families, or more accurately, we are taught how to cover death up. This presented a problem when my […]

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Open to  hope

The Far Territories of Grief

I lay you down in the resting place. As for me, I will let my hair grow matted, put on a lion skin, and roam the steppe. — Epic of Gilgamesh, Tablet […]

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Open to  hope

The Fierce Tribe of After: Grief, with Attitude

Don’t make the mistake. It’s not anger you see on my face. It’s attitude. My wife died suddenly in her forties of an unknown heart problem. If you don’t know […]

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Open to  hope

Already Among the Dead

I walk among the dead. This began when my wife died in April 2001. So when the planes slam into the World Trade Center, my heart doesn’t move. The towers […]

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