A Friend of A Rocha Connects Nature and Poetry in Her New Book

Liz Kornelsen, a long-time friend of A Rocha Manitoba, has written and published her own book: Arc of Light and Shadow, a collection of poems and art. Many of Liz’s poems relate to nature and tell the story of her merging passions for creation care, nature, poetry and art. Through her book, Liz invites readers to explore the natural world and discover wonder, joy and hope, even amidst loss and pain. We connected with Liz to find out more about her journey with A Rocha and her new book.

Woman, Liz, standing in nature by a lake.

How did you get involved with A Rocha?

About fifteen years ago, a friend invited me to a presentation on A Rocha. It piqued my curiosity, so I went to find out about this “creation care” organization. I was impressed with what I learned and with the people I met. I have been involved ever since!

What does creation care mean to you?

I think creation care needs to be predicated on awareness. To be aware and awake to the wonders of creation, to have an intimacy with the trees, flowers, birds, with the rhythms of nature and the rush of a waterfall. I have tried to move from that place of intimacy with nature to sharing it as a teacher and as a leader in camp and outdoor education settings, in the hope that children growing up with a knowledge and love of nature will grow up to be protectors of our planet. I have also been involved in lobbying efforts to stop projects that would be harmful to the environment and to vulnerable groups of people. In the summer, I do volunteer gardening on my condo grounds and at a local nature center. To me, creation care also means financially supporting A Rocha and other organizations that are committed to caring for the earth.

Book Cover reads Arc of Light and Shadows, poems with art by Liz Kornelsen.

What inspired you to write your book?

Retirement! That’s the short answer. I had the notion of publishing a book when I was in my twenties, and I’m happy to say that didn’t materialize; it might still be haunting me! I “dabbled” in writing throughout my adulthood, but after I retired, I started taking art and writing courses, which somehow resulted in an accumulation of poems, many of which were nature-based. I decided they needed a home with artistic touches. And so a book was born out of a merging of passions.

How does poetry help you engage with nature/creation?

When I go walking or cycling, I often come home with a poem. There’s something about the wide open spaces and wild places that opens up my mind and heart to see things differently. Being in nature helps me to express how I see the world and explore its diverse and amazing forms of beauty. Perhaps it’s the other way around: nature/creation helps me engage with poetry.

Who are the poets that inspire you?

A woman. Liz Kornelsen, smiling and holding her book, Arc of Light and Shadow.

There are so many! I will mention a few. For ancient poets, I turn to Rumi and Hafiz. I am also inspired by Pablo Neruda, Margaret Atwood, Lorna Crozier, Patrick Lane and, closer to home: Di Brandt and Angeline Schellenberg. During the writing of my book, the most powerful inspiration came from Gwen Frostic and Mary Oliver. Frostic was an American whose excellent blending of art and poetry influenced me in my decision to accent my own writing with art images. I had an opportunity to meet her on two occasions, and she left an indelible impression on me. Oliver inspired me with her profound love for the natural world.

Where can we find your book?

My book is currently available online through FriesenPress Bookstore, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online venues. Locally, it’s available through CommonWord (CMU) and McNally Robinson.

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