Footfalls: Poems of the Camino
by Suzanne Doerge
This remarkable collection of poetry follows the seven-hundred-kilometer path in northwest Spain, part of the Camino de Santiago (also known as the Way of St. James), that the author walked with her life companion in 2016. Each poem is a footfall of experience or insight lived on the Camino, from her start in the region of Navarre until her arrival at the end of her journey in Santiago de Compostela. Themes ride the waves of physical challenges, fears, doubts, inspirations, and laughter of the month-long journey. While Christianity infuses this ancient pilgrimage, the spiritual dimensions of the sacred feminine and Mother Earth are reflected here too. The variety of contemplative, humorous, political, and narrative poetry mirrors the shifts between wonder, delight, and effort lived on the Camino.
POETRY / Subjects & Themes / Places
ISBN: 978-1-956056-39-6 (print; softcover; perfect bound)
Copyright 2022; released August 2022
114 pages; 22 black-and-white illustrations
Suzanne Doerge is an adult educator who has worked with organizations at the local, national, and international level to support the voices of marginalized communities. Originally from southern Illinois, she lived in Nicaragua during the 1980s where she met her compañero, Joe Gunn. They live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on the unceded land of the Algonquin people, where they raised their twins, Benjamin and Daniela. As a facilitator in the AWA (Amherst Writers and Artists) method, she guides creative writing workshops. Her poems have been published in several journals and anthologies, in print and online. This is her first poetry collection.
“Suzanne Doerge’s Footfalls: Poems of the Camino is a veritable journey of the heart—through history and humanity—along daily rhythms and rituals, leaving indelible impressions. Solo and communal mundane tasks, like hanging socks or breaking bread, shine in light of sacred traditions like placing a stone on a mound or blessing another’s snores. These poems are as varied as the sojourners—some dense as days in rain, some spare as a walking stick; some are packing instructions, some are lists of what’s let go. They witness and don’t flinch at historical sin, but strive to stand in solidarity with ‘those who walk the Camino every day.’ Each footfall sparkles with humility, humanity, insight, and compassion. [A perfect virtual journey in a time of restricted travel.]”
“Suzanne Doerge has written a wonderfully fresh and honest reflection of life on the Camino. As in Chaucer's time, we travel in the company of many, sharing our daily highs and lows, figuratively and factually. The book ends with the haunting warning: ‘It’s not easy, this return to the busy highways we left behind.’ Therein lies the rub. Can we integrate back into our lives with the lessons learned along the Way. Bringing the Camino home is, perhaps, the essential task of the journey.”
“There are many travels we undertake in life, both inner and outer journeys. Suzanne Doerge offers her profound, lyrical, elegant, and insightful poetry of the Camino journey. Through wonder, delight, and effort, we walk the Way with Suzanne—footfalls that resonate with our own lives, pathways, challenges, and insights. Footfalls: Poems of the Camino is a beautiful, deep, and wise gift, where we are invited to journey with awareness, kindness, grit, and gratitude, as we continue on the path.”
“Doerge’s poetry enables us to sense the mystique of this ancient pilgrimage. Her colorful, creative images blend the Camino’s history and present setting with social and ecological awareness and so give witness to how ‘the Camino will be a condensed experience of your entire life,’ and how it stirs ‘a commitment to walk back into life, emboldened to live it with authenticity.’ In these poems we can walk with her, then and still.”
Charles Moody, Book Review, Pilgrim Footprints Newsletter, September 2022
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