In 2008, I helped to guide composer Andrea Clearfield and visual artist Maureen Drdak on a journey through Mustang, Nepal. This sojourn to a place I love resulted in an artistic collaboration of music, dance, and painting called Lung Ta: The Windhorse. Inspired by this work and the musical heritage of Mustang, Clearfield returned to the region with Katherine Blumenthal, a student of ethnomusicology and anthropology whom I helped to mentor at Dartmouth. Together, they worked with local singers and musicians to record the repertoire of court songs and folk songs. Andrea has composed two additional pieces of music based on her time in Mustang, including Tse Go La: At the Threshold of this Life, a cantata that combines two of my poems and three traditional songs from Mustang.
A Sacred Geography: Sonnets of the Himalaya and Tibet is borne out of years I’ve lived in the Nepal Himalaya and in Tibet. These sonnets are written in homage to places on the edge of things. Each locale invoked through these poems has made me more attentive to the stories that live within a landscape. These places are touchstones. I have chosen the sonnet-as-form, in part, because these poems are an act of love. They are offerings, written in the spirit of ritual and with the knowledge that, like love, landscapes must be true to change. I was fortunate to work with my mother, Mary Heebner on this artist’s book project. To learn more about the process of making A Sacred Geography click here: In June 2006, the exhibit “Mani Wall and A Sacred Geography” opened at the UCLA Fowler Museum. This installation featured a series of paintings by Mary Heebner, the artist’s book, and photography of the region by Macduff Everton, my stepfather.
To read the poems, click here.
I was very fortunate to collaborate with the wonderful Dolpo artist and social entrepreneur, Tenzin Norbu, on this story about the making of art, the meaning of home, and the challenges we face in our everyday lives. The story was written during 2001, when Norbu got to spend some time with us in the US. The book is now in its second edition and is currently being translated and published in Tibetan language, thanks to the Tibetan Arts and Literature Initiative. To purchase Clear Sky, Red Earth, please visit Amazon, or contact me. To read a review of Clear Sky, click here.
The book is now in its second edition and has also been produced in Tibetan Language, thanks to the Tibetan Arts and Literature Initiative.