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Resident Artist Emily Ruth Hazel’s new poem in response to the theme of “Lies” and Genesis 2:21-25, 3:1–13; John 3:8; 18:37–38; Ephesians 5:25-33 and Revelation 22:17 as she builds a poetry collection responding to every theme from the year as a 2013 Spark+Echo Artist in Residence.

Genesis 2:21-25

Genesis 3:1–5

Genesis 3:7–13

John 3:8

John 18:37–38

Ephesians 5:26–33

Revelation 22:17



Emily Ruth Hazel


Curated by: 

Spark+Echo Arts, 2013 Artist in Residence


Poetry/Spoken Word

Image by Giorgio Trovato

Primary Scripture

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As with the first three themes of the year, which I found myself defining by contrast—Light and Darkness were intertwined, the theme of Fools led me to write about wisdom, and Dancing was set in relief against grief—the theme of Lies inspired me to explore the alternatives, honesty and truth. Under the many layers we wear, there is an opportunity for daring vulnerability and naked authenticity. The truth of who we are, and of who God is, is not as simple or as flat as it is often presented or misunderstood to be; deeper truths are always multifaceted.

In “Runaway,” I wanted to take a closer look not only at our human tendency to run away—from truth, among other things—but also at how God has different qualities of a runaway, being hard to tie down and moving unexpectedly. This got me thinking about our human strategies for trying to make sense of our world and of the spiritual realm, and how religion can come close to articulating these things but sometimes misses the point entirely. Since subtle masks and readily accepted myths can be just as dangerous and destructive as overt lies, if not more so, I wanted to offer a poem that could acknowledge a few misconceptions about Christianity and some of the contradictions within the global and historical Church, which are troubling to me.

When I began delving into the chain reaction of deception and hiding just a few pages into Genesis, I was surprised to discover a direct connection between that text and the New Testament passage I had already had in mind to respond to (Ephesians 5:25–33), which quotes a line from Genesis about the mystery of marriage. I’m intrigued that the Apostle Paul chooses the metaphor of marriage—perhaps the most complex and intimate of human relationships—to depict the relationship between God and the Church. It was this image that became my starting point for taking off some of the layers.

Spark Notes

The Artist's Reflection

Emily Ruth Hazel is a poet, writer, and cross-pollinator who is passionate about diversifying the audience for poetry and giving voice to people who have been marginalized. Selected as the Honorary Poet for the 25th Annual Langston Hughes Community Poetry Reading in Providence, Rhode Island, she presented a commissioned tribute to the Poet Laureate of Harlem in February of 2020. She is a two-time recipient of national Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prizes and was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for a residency at The Hambidge Center in 2014. Her chapbook, Body & Soul (Finishing Line Press, 2005), was a New Women’s Voices finalist. Emily’s work has appeared in numerous anthologies, magazines, literary journals, and digital projects, including Kinfolks: A Journal of Black Expression and Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature. Her poetry has also been featured on music albums, in a hair salon art installation, and in a science museum exhibition.

Emily has written more than twenty commissioned works for organizations, arts productions, social justice projects, and private clients. Currently, she is developing several poetry book manuscripts and writing lyrics for an original musical inspired by the life of the extraordinary singer and Civil Rights icon Marian Anderson. A graduate of Oberlin College’s Creative Writing Program and a former New Yorker, she is now based in the Los Angeles area.

Instagram: @EmilyRuthHazel

Emily Ruth Hazel

About the Artist

Artist in Residence 2013, Emily Ruth Hazel

Word of Mouth

In the Wake of the Storm

Circling the Waist of Wisdom

Give Me a Name


Give Us This Day

Undressing Prayer

Emily Ruth Hazel

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