Reading Poetry
…for Spiritual Growth

NEW!! Online poetry retreat
at http://imagejournal.org/page/resources/the-glen-online/special-topics
Start whenever you want; go at your own pace. A personalized poetry-retreat experience.
"Poetry as a Spiritual Practice "

In this retreat/course we’ll explore why and how great poetry can be a special entry to the spiritual core of our lives. Adapting the age-old practice of “lectio divina” (sacred reading), we will meditate on assigned contemporary poems, experiencing how they can engage, delight, and challenge our souls. Poets we’ll draw on include Denise Levertov, Richard Wilbur, Kathleen Norris, Edward Hirsch, Lucille Clifton, Scott Cairns, Jorie Graham, and Yehuda Amichai. Whatever your level of familiarity or comfort with poetry, and whatever your level of experience with writing, you can discover poetry’s gifts for spiritual opening and companionship. Your writing assignments, which will be reflections on a choice of assigned poems, can be in prose or poetry or any format that you are moved to create.

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Sampling of Past Programs

 

Meditating with Poetry (Retreats International Summer Institute)

Whether poetry is a longtime friend or brand new to you, or even a bit of a struggle, discover

how great poems can deepen and illuminate our spiritual journeys. Through both guided and

private experiences of holy reading ("lectio divina"), we meditate on major contemporary

poetry from around the world, the work of pilgrims like ourselves whose cares, hopes, humor,

and wisdom reveal poetry's eye-opening, heart-opening power.

 


 Faith, Creativity & Justice  (Andover-Newton Seminary, Newton MA)

Meditating with major poetry as a text can be an act of creativity that opens us to God’s own
creativity in our lives. We will practice methods for engaging poetry’s capacity to stretch

language toward the transcendent and to beckon the reader in the same movement of spirit.

The poems we draw on for meditation are selected from important, mainly contemporary

poets and will touch on themes of personal and social transformation; faith and justice; and

the natural affinities of poetry and religion, of word and Word. Finally, we consider how

any creative act such as meditation on poetry deepens our vision, and enriches the bonds

of self, God, and other, reminding us how beauty ultimately exists in the service of justice.

 

 

Poetry and Spirituality  (The Glen Workshop, Santa Fe NM)

In this seminar, we explore why and how poetry can be a special pathway to the spiritual core

of our lives. We also practice together a classic method of meditating with great poems, to

experience how they can engage, delight, and challenge our souls on our journey of faith. This

seminar is not just for writers of poetry; it's open to all.

 

 

Poetry for Healing and Hope  (Spring Hill College Summer Institute, Mobile, AL)

The focus here is on major contemporary poems which enact Christian transformative

hope. We meditate on poetry that guides the reader through darkness to light, brokenness

to healing, violence to reconciliation –– whether in our personal relations, our world, or our

inner selves.

 

 

Poetry to Refresh Us for the Long Haul  (Kirkridge Retreat Center, Bangor PA)

Giving of ourselves in work for a better world can be draining, whether it's as teachers,

social workers, health care givers, ministers, political activists. Great poetry's art

of re-imagining the world can be a balm for burn-out. To revive our drooping spirits,

we practice guided and individual meditations on poems by major contemporary writers

which move through engagement with society's pain to visions of healing and renewal.

No experience reading poetry is required, only an openness to be drawn into the art's

refreshment.

 

 

The Spirituality of Relationship - Literary Meditations  (Center for Ministry, Saginaw MI)

We meditate with short literary works on the subject of relationship – our bonds with

family, friends, spouses. We accompany major spiritual writers of poetry and fiction as

they explore the mysteries of our experience with "the other" in delight, wonder, perplexity,

awe, concern and, on occasion, simply in "dispatches from the front." Our approach

allows literature’s gifts of language, imagination, and insight to illuminate our coming into

oneness with each other and the world, lifting us through meditation to a greater sense of this

sacred dimension of our spirituality, our shared reflection of God’s image as relational beings.

 

 

 

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