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Lecture on Poetry and Mysticism

About Reflections on Literature, Life and the Imagination

Previous Entry Lecture on Poetry and Mysticism Jun. 1st, 2005 @ 10:33 pm Next Entry
Today I gave a talk/ lecture on poetry and mysticism to the Theosophical Society (Kent Street, Sydney). I was as nervous as hell because I didn't really know in advance exactly what I was going to say. Of course I had a heap of ideas but I never like giving lectures from a bunch of prewritten notes... I feel much better if I can wing it... keeping eye contact with the audience... speaking from the heart.... so I just plunged in and spoke about my early experiences of poetry and how I tried to give my own kids a taste of the magic of poetry... but most important for me was trying to put into words what exactly it is about certain lines of poetry that stick in my mind that really takes me somewhere deep inside myself and helps to open to me to the mystery of things (inside and outside)...
Lines like:
Gay Golden Volleys of Banter
Bombard the Clockwork Grief
A Frisson of Gold at the Centre of Prayer
Bright Core of Life...

This comes from a poem about Bells Bells ringing in an ancient old stone belfry... a church I actually visisted in England some years ago.. the poet... Francis Webb.
Then there is

Deep and dissolving verticals of light,
ferry the falls of moonshine down...

How the movement of these lines and the imagery helps to take me deep down inside myself to a place of quiet, stilllness and reflection.... (These are from Kenneth Slessor's "Five Bells"

But I started my talk with two lines... those from T.S. Eliot's "Four Quartets": Words reach into the silence.... which expresses the way the language of poetry does reach up into areas of the universe... higher levels of thinking and being that are beyond our rational thought.... but they also bring down from that silence a resonance, a luminosity, into the Words themselves.... so it is a two way street... if that makes any sense...
Then of course I used the line from that ancient amazing long poem, The Gospel According to John: " In the Beginning was the Word".... so what is that saying about the power of the word, of language... of the creative energy locked into the words of a poem.... Poetry and Mysticism... it was a huge topic and I had to speak for around an hour... and then I got the group to create their own poem and to reflect on the place of poetry in their own lives...
Overall the audience seemed very satisfied...
So now I can get back to marking discussions... live journals... exams.... and essays..... YaY!!!!!!!!!!
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
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Date:June 2nd, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)
Poor Michael! All that marking! And here I am complaining all the time about what I have to do!
I would love to have been at the lecture! Just to hear someone else try to put into words what poetry means to them. I don't think I could do that. I know what you mean though. Sometimes when you read a poem you just get this feeling... like something clicking inside of you... the light bulb, etc...That feeling that somewhere sometime someone was having the same feelings that you've had once, and they've expressed it in a way that just makes sense to you. Interesting...
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Date:June 2nd, 2005 06:50 am (UTC)


Thanks Dinali-- I am not really THAT poor... I actually enjoy what I do immensly and find the opportunity to connect with Shakespeare etc a real priviledge... but next semester I will cut back the amount of marking.. .I have learnt something this semester... and thanks for your dramatic skills.... they were a hoot!
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Date:June 3rd, 2005 03:58 am (UTC)
Its good to know that you still get that nervous, I was starting to think I needed some kind of psychological help, I get so nervous at times I feel that my feet are not even hitting the ground. Let alone the words I want to say coming out right.
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