(ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ) -- Hey there, poetry lovers and literary friends! Join the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council on Tuesday, August 9th at 7:00pm to kick off a new series of readings in their gallery space. Treat yourselves to an evening of poems as we celebrate the important relationship between visual arts and the written word. The guest is award-winning poet Wendy Jean MacLean who will be reading from her recently published book, On Small Wings.
Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP here. The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is located at 54 First Avenue in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey.
Cosmic and intimate, gritty and gentle: from the first moments of creation to the aching losses of dementia, the poems in Wendy's book draw from nature’s relentless promises of birth, death and change. Ranging from complicated ancestry to the simple joy of a rainy morning, these poems invite the reader to ponder the mysteries and beauty of eternity, in each day. Wendy's poetry springs from extraordinary depths of vision, honed through her years of ministering to a broad spectrum of seeking souls. Her ear is tuned to the joys and suffering of being alive, which she hears as keenly as the slap of tiding water and the flutter of chickadee wings.
Poetry is her first language, the forge where she transposes mute feeling into words that capture the small and monumental movements of the human heart. Ageless rhythms of nature and small miracles are considered and seamlessly woven into the elemental images of daily experience.
Wendy Jean MacLean’s everyday life is rimed with numinous light.
Her award-winning poetry explores the untold stories of ordinary objects like buttons and stones, and our deepest humanity. Her work is shaped by a lifelong engagement with mythology, gospel and literature. Published in Crosswinds, Gathering, Green Spirit, Ancient Paths, CASA, Boosey and Hawkes, GIA, Streetlight, Arborealis. Sheila-na-Gig, Collegeville Bearings Online, andcommissioned and sung internationally. Awards include: the Don Gutteridge Inaugural Poetry Prize; Big Pond Rumours Chapbook; Open Heart; Poetry Matters; the Drummond.Wendy is a retired minister of the United Church and a Spiritual Director.
Wendy has spent a lot of time in wonderland, blissfully free to follow the Spirit wherever it leads. This has taken her in and out of conventional roles, from her birth in Toronto and childhood in the suburbs of Montreal, to a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University in English and Classics and training in early childhood education at University of Ottawa.
After this traditional start, her adventures led her to a small elementary school in Chibougamau, and international schools in Saudi Arabia in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The forests of Chibougamau, the deserts of Saudi and the mountains of Addis continue to ferment in her poetry.
Living in Athens, a small village in Ontario, with her two sons, Angus and Chester, she spent hours reading and writing storybooks and silly poems. At some point, she recognized that the restlessness in her soul was a call, and she went back to school to prepare for ministry in the United Church of Canada, earning her Masters in Divinity from Queen’s Theological College. This began another adventure, which tuned her ears through the ancient words of prophets and poets in scripture, and the writings of mystics and feminist theology. After serving in Kingston, Cowansville, Montreal and Lyn, Ontario, she transitioned to a ministry of Spiritual Direction. This is an ancient tradition of “soul friends” and spiritual accompaniment.
Over the years she has published many prayers for liturgy, but with the encouragement of her writers’ group in the Eastern Townships, she had two books published by Borealis Press: Rough Angel, Ange Ecru, with translations by Michel Gadoury (2006) and Spirit Song in Ancient Boughs (2008).
Hearing her poetry sung has been a great joy to Wendy. Commissioned by over ten composers, she entrusts their music with her words’ messages of beauty, justice and wonder. In 2021 her poetry was commissioned for the National Unison Choirs commemoration of the LGBTQ+ Purge, and by the Vancouver Men’s Choir. In words that connect the diversity of nature with the magnificent gifts of human creativity, Wendy echoes the call that has stirred her since childhood: to wonder, spirit and grace.
Wendy lives in Brockville near the St. Lawrence River with her husband, Michel, and a rowdy puppy named Joy.
The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council (AHAC) is committed to enabling all visitors to experience its classes and workshops, exhibitions, and public programs. We recognize the diversity of our community’s abilities and needs, and accommodations will be made to allow the fullest level of participation possible.
For accessibility requests or questions, please visit their Accessibility Services webpage.
The mission of the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council is to strengthen community through the arts. They are a 100% volunteer 501(c)3 non-profit organization that believes in the power of the arts to transform and enrich communities. Our primary function is to develop and execute events and arts related activities for the benefit of our community.