In the Beginning

by Arlyn Miller (Glencoe, IL)

Don’t Call it Night
The Hill of Evil Council
Falls the Shadow
The Unloved
Heir to the Glimmering World.

Inside, Outside –
The Winds of War
The Human Stain,
A God In Ruins.

Exit Ghost.
Undue Influence
Letting Go.
The River Breaks Up,
Blood Cries.

The Healer
Between Two Worlds,
Trial & Triumph
Invisible Mending.

The Open Cage
The Liberated Bride
The Hope–
Open Heart,
Everything is Illuminated.

In the Beginning:
The Book of Light
A Perfect Peace.

As writer-in-residence for Am Shalom, a reform synagogue in Glencoe, IL, Arlyn Miller oversaw a literary column for the synagogue’s monthly newsletter.  The column– “Meelem” (Words)– chronicled synagogue life over the course of the year. One evening, as she was perusing the synagogue library bookshelves, Arlyn was inspired to write “In the Beginning,” a found poem which is comprised entirely of titles from books in the fiction section.

A found poem is created from snippets of text found in other sources and pieced together.  If the idea intrigues you, you might try looking in the Tanakh, a siddur, Jewish magazines, newspapers, fiction or creative non-fiction books for inspiration.  Share what you find with your local Jewish community or with The Jewish Writing Project.

A poet, essayist and journalist, Arlyn also teaches creative writing in schools and in the community through Poetic License, Inc. and has recently launched Poetic License Press, which just released its inaugural publication, A Light Breakfast: poems suitable for breakfast reading. You can find out more about her work at:

“In the Beginning” appears in the July/August 2011 KOL, the newsletter of Am Shalom, Glencoe, IL. It’s reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

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Filed under American Jewry, poetry

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