I am continually inspired by people who live lives of prayer, who practice
relentlessly for the sake of others. Saints, hermits, and poets animate my
hands to carve thousands of prayers into blocks of cherry over
and over again.
"I am neither a reader of poetry nor a sayer of prayers. And yet, I would
readily hang Derrick Meads’s 'During #47' by my bedside, in place of
both. For the past four or five years, Meads has been crafting small
blocks of rich, glossy cherry wood, coating their top surface with a matte
white finish, then carving the text of tiny blessings into their every square
inch. The words are dense, terse, and unexpected, secular and ripe with
organic metaphors. The incisions are angular, taut, and compact, half
written, half inscribed. The effect is intense and profound, as if the lines of
William Wordsworth and Emily Dickinson had been reduced to their
essence, rewritten into mantras, and tattooed across the body of a person
or the trunk of a tree. Poems and prayers both involve introspection and
practice, and the most generous of them eschew judgment in favor of
benevolence. Meads combines all that here, and lends it to the reader
I received a BFA from Grand Valley State University in 1997,
and an MFA from Cornell University in 2002.
I currently live in Lexington, KY with my wife and two boys.