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PoetrySnaps! José Alcantara: To a Friend Who Does Not Believe in God

Courtesy José Alcantara

In this week’s segment, we meet Colorado-based poet José Alcantara. He prefers to write outside so that his muse, Mother Nature, can find him and offer him inspiration. Alcantara says he doesn’t write within a human timeframe. Instead, he writes according to nature’s eternal clock. Here is José Alcantara with his poem To a Friend Who Does Not Believe in God.

José Alcantara:

I don’t feel like I have to write a poem every day, but I try and structure my day so that the opportunity for a poem to arise is there. That’s really almost my driving force in being alive these day; to create the space of quietness and stillness.

I do most of my writing, like 95% of it, outside. I like to sit next to a river, or I’m on a trail climbing a mountain, or by a tree…something where the time scale around me is not a human-dominated time scale. So, being at the ocean – something that has that sense of eternalness to it is what works for me.

I might be inspired by something that is right there that I’m seeing, or something that I’m reading, or I’m just remembering something. But, I’m in a place that’s quiet and still that allows that to come, and for me to give my attention to it.

I’m mostly a morning writer, so I’ll get up early and I’ll try to go out somewhere and allow whatever’s going to come come. By the end of the day I feel like too much is…like, my brain doesn’t feel clean anymore. In the morning you feel like you have this fresh, blank slate, and it’s more open to different possibilities coming in.

This is a poem…I was living in Missouri for the winter at the beginning of 2022, and this was a poem that came from there: To a Friend Who Does Not Believe in God.

José Alcantara's poem To a Friend Who Does Not Believe in God is set for publication in Rattle Magazine in 2023.

About the poet:

José Alcantara lives in western Colorado. His poems have appeared in Poetry Daily, American Life in Poetry, and The Southern Review. His poem, Divorce, won the 2021 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor from Rattle Magazine.

About the host:

Steven Law is a poet, journalist and educator based in Page, Arizona. He is the author of a collection of poems called Polished.

About the music:

Original music by Flagstaff-based band Pilcrowe.

Steven Law was the co-producer of KNAU’s series PoetrySnaps!
Gillian Ferris was the News Director and Managing Editor for KNAU.