Elizabeth Thompson Oakes – 1943 – 2017

Elizabeth Oakes

Elizabeth Oakes transitioned at 12:48 AM on December 30, 2017, surrounded by love and family.

Elizabeth and her husband John Warren Oakes began visiting Sedona, AZ, in 2008 and moved permanently in 2012. Elizabeth immediately became active in the literary and writing community. She read her poems at various venues, was an organizer and a patron of the Pumphouse Poetry and Prose Project, and wrote two columns for Sedona Biz for two years, one on writing in Sedona, past and present, and another on spiritual subjects. She was a member of the writing group, Wild Writing Women of the West, and started a writing group, SiteWrite, which went to various places to write.

She was also active in various groups in Sedona. She served as vice-president and president of the University Women of Sedona, was on the board of the Sedona Culture Collaborative, gave several talks on the history of women’s right to vote to the League of Women Voters, and was a member of P.E.O. University Women established the Libby Oakes Lifetime Achievement Award to recognize her contributions as past president, scholar, poet, and activist.

Elizabeth held a Ph.D. in Shakespeare from Vanderbilt University and taught at Western Kentucky University, where she also served as Graduate Director. In her career, she published in significant Shakespeare journals, including the premiere one, The Shakespeare Quarterly, and presented her work on Shakespeare at many conferences, among them the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the International Shakespeare Conference in Tokyo, Japan. She retired in 2008 as a full professor and a professor emerita.

Elizabeth, who was a poet, graduated with a B.A. from the Creative Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She wrote poetry through her academic career, but in 2004 she won the Pearl Poetry Prize, a national award based in California, which began a second career for her. In her sixties, she published four volumes of poetry and two self-help spiritual books. Her poem, “When I Remember Lucille Clifton” was included in Veils, Halos and Shackles: International Poetry on the Abuse and Oppression of Women.

Elizabeth was known for her intellectual curiosity, spiritual insight, kindness, humility, love of literature and art, passion for life, sense of gratitude, compassion, and drive to make the world a better place. The word most often used to describe her was grace.

Elizabeth and John would have been married 52 years in 2018. They were the love of each other’s life, and devoted to each other. She is also survived by her children: Christopher (Katherine) of Chicago, IL, Marya (Sean Heeney) of Asheville, NC, Antonia (Joe Nolan) of Nashville, TN; granddaughter: Mira, of Asheville, NC; brothers: Wendell Thompson of Owensboro, KY, Dennis Thompson of Georgetown, KY; and 11 nieces and nephews.

Friends are welcome to join in a celebration of her life on Saturday, January 6, 2018, from 2 – 4 PM at The Sedona Hub, 525 B. Posse Grounds Rd., Sedona, AZ.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Sedona Public Library. Libraries have been important to Elizabeth since she was a child waiting for the bookmobile in the small town where she grew up.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Elizabeth Thompson Oakes – 1943 – 2017

What My Soul Wants —

Looking back through old notebooks — five years ago I asked my soul what it wanted, and here is the answer: solitude, work, fulfillment, delivery into the world, freedom, acceptance, company, fluidity, enhancement, enchantment, renewal, completion, expression, to see itself in the world manifest, to be who it is, to not hide, to be more than 1/10 of who I am, to partake of my creativity, to connect with the All, to be fully whole and present in me, to infuse the physical world —

“Air Washed by Water,” Max Ernst, 1969


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What My Soul Wants —

Meditations on the Holy Cross published in book form and Ebook

Meditations on the Holy Cross
Meditations on...
By John Warren Oakes...

Photo book
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meditations on the Holy Cross published in book form and Ebook


heartWe want to hoard love, for we feel we never had enough or could ever have enough, but the more we give away, the more the gateway of the heart opens to receive. (Image from unknown source; passage from my work in progress, Writings from the Spiritual Imagination)

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on HeartLove

Many times failure is just a different kind of success than we had in mind —

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

“The Next Big Thing”

9781936138524_Leave_COVER copy(1)I was tagged by Donna Hilbert for the blog-o-sphere interview, “The Next Big Thing,” and I’m sharing my responses below –

What is the title or working title of your book?
Leave Here Knowing, published by Wind in February 2013.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
From wherever poems come from. It is my belief that if there is not at least one line in a poem that just comes into one’s mind, then the poem will not be any good.

What genre does your book fall under?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
LHK is a book of poems, but there are some characters in the poems. Kali could be played by Salma Hayek or Kim Kardashian (just kidding here), Lilith by Tilda Swindon, Sappho by Angelina Jolie.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
It is the record of the spiritual journey of who I am as an individual in this incarnation through time and space. (I know!)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
It is published by Wind Publications, editor Charlie Hughes.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Some poems are as recent as a year ago; some are from twenty years ago – most are within the last ten years.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I hope all the poets I’ve loved, whose names are legion, show up here in some way.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
There are poems about mothers, poems written from the point of view of past lives, poems attempting to allegorize Bardo, and poems about being both a material and spiritual being and living at the intersection of these two worlds.

Donna’s most recent book of poems is The Congress of Luminous Bodies, and her blog is at http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3748273-the-next-big-thing



Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on “The Next Big Thing”


One Thing/One Way/One Wish/One Dream
One thing to let go of – society’s idea of status and what is important
One thing to remember – that I came here with a mission
One thing to cherish – love given and received
One way to grow – by opening
One way to learn – with a zen mind of experience, good or bad, being the important thing
One thing to tell – something from my own true voice
One way to help open the world – to know that I don’t have to have experienced something or seen it for it to be true or to have happened
One way to love the world – to know it for its gifts and then to give them back
One thing to remember – love is the energy of the universe. Everything wants to live to experience it
One way to be transparent – to be unafraid of the dark places
One thing not necessary – regrets
One thing necessary – to look at the world with no pre-judging
One way to live forever – to live now
One way to live now – to forget about forever
One way to see the world as it is – unlearn everything
One way to heal the world – to remember that everything in it – animate or inanimate – is me. There are no boundaries
One wish – to know for sure what is
One dream – to be and not to be at the same time

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on OneThing/OneWay/OneWish/OneDream

Cryptic Universe

The ego is not meant to be our GPS system.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Comments Off on Cryptic Universe

How The Angels Work

How the angels work: silently, endlessly, lovingly, sublimely, willingly, mysteriously, surprisingly, communally, secretly, individually, truly, diligently, unquestionably, unfathomably, unerringly, carefully, unselfishly, powerfully, profoundly, intensely, faithfully, gracefully, beautifully, purely, miraculously, creatively, secretly, quietly, voluntarily, anonymously, unexpectedly, gladly, . . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Comments Off on How The Angels Work

Guest Words

“Walking in the shoes of another is an impossible task. Walking in the shoes that fit your feet is an accomplishment!” Rev. Jackie Bumm

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Guest Words