Here is my chapbook of poetry titled From the Desert, Under Constantine. When I wrote these poems, the struggle to prevent U.S. colonization of Iraq was prompting me to question everything I knew about America, Christianity, and religion.
I assembled the book as part of my senior Capstone in creative writing at Brown University in 2005.
It is a testimony of Christian mysticism vs. Christian empire: a series of deserted, fertile perceptions that never fit into the legacies of European Christendom. It explores how spiritual ancestors from the Egyptian and Syrian deserts left behind texts that were edited by rain, moths, and sunlight, their gaps opening multiple possibilities. Similarly, our fragmented perceptions will leave our descendants with worlds where many worlds fit.
This book won an award from the English department at Brown. I had meant to find a publisher for it, but I was too busy participating in social movements the past 11 years.
I am publishing it here for the first time, in honor of my mentor C.D. Wright who recently passed away. May she rest in poetry.
I read from this book at an ecosexual open mic the other night, and I realized how relevant it still is. I was onto something that I wasn't able to fully embody at the time, something that is starting to come into fruition now: a revolutionary, sensuous Christian practice, full of ecological love.
From the Desert, Under Constantine by Mamos Rotnelli is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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