Conscious party: getting Zen with Poetry and Pie

PEACE OF PIE: An upcoming Poetry and Pie fundraiser for Great Tree Zen Temple — an organization committed to nurturing feminine spirituality and personal growth for community members — will help the nonprofit continue its self-reflective programs, including an annual writing workshop, pictured. Photo courtesy of Great Tree

Recessed in the wooded comforts of Alexander — about 20 minutes north of downtown Asheville — sits Great Tree Zen Temple, a community space where subscribers to the Soto Zen tradition strive to deepen their peace and harmony with all beings. Much like the center’s meditative, creative and otherwise introspective programming, an upcoming fundraiser by Great Tree calls upon two of life’s simple pleasures: poetry and pie.

“Write your own pie poem and drop it in our Pie-Ku Tin,” reads a release for the downtown event. “If we read your poem during the show, you win a prize.”

Attendees shouldn’t worry about writer’s block, though, as spoken word and musical performers for the event include Randal Pride, Meredith McIntosh, Priscilla Yokote, Athena Hind, Drew Harnett-Hargrove, Art Mandler and Laura Hope-Gill, who is also hosting a writing retreat at the Zen center on Saturday, Oct. 24.

“There will be both single-serving and whole pies and cakes — with some gluten-free options — to choose from,” says Chimyo Atkinson, head of practice at Great Tree, and “Renee Ethridge, a longtime community member, will be baking the cake for our raffle.”

Sweets are paid individually, and tickets to enter the cake raffle are an additional $10. Proceeds from the event will enable the nonprofit, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, to continue supporting spiritual journeys. Although the retreat space reserves short- and long-term residencies for women, all other sessions (dharma teaching, zazen instruction, family meditation, youth programs and other personal growth events) are open to all.

Poetry and Pie is at Urban Dharma, 29 Page Ave., on Sunday, Sept. 27, from 6-7:30 p.m. A suggested donation of $20 at the door will go directly to the Great Tree Zen Temple.

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About Kat McReynolds
Kat studied entrepreneurship and music business at the University of Miami and earned her MBA at Appalachian State University. Follow me @katmAVL

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