Poetry of the Season with Prof. Doug Thorpe

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SUNDAY, DECEMBER 17, 10:10 A.M., Bloedel Hall

Winter solstice brings the first day of winter and a return of more sunlight. Drawing from a selection of poems connected to light, parishioner and English professor Doug Thorpe will guide us in a time of reading and reflection to discover creation themes. A slideshow of light-inspired photos from Saint Mark's parishioners will also be shared.

Notes from the Forum

Presenters: Prof. Doug Thorpe, Sarah Reeves, (resident Lopez Island), returning member Dr. Kate Thorpe

Themes emerged from key quotations in At Home on an Unruly Planet by Madeline Ostrander:

  • …Solastalgia, the aching for solace, consolation—the loss of comfort, the loneliness of being estranged from home. linked with impact of loss of home through climate change.
  • …David Wallace Wells – our society’s “incredible failure of imagination.”
  • …for humans, “home is far more than just engineering; it is also a combination of meaning, symbolism, and social function.”
  • …what does it mean to be human? ‘we delay our eating of food and bring it to some other place, often with an expectation of sharing it with others, and the places where we eat together take on significance as part of home.
  • …Our ancestors had landed on some other elements that were perhaps more central to human lives, well-being, and survival: the sharing of food, cooperation, and the act of place making –altering a space to keep yourself and the people you care about safe and more comfortable. Homemaking can be a simple and imaginative act.
  • …We had used these smarts and imagination to build deep relationships with the places where we started to learn how to survive and adapt. And this was probably the true root of the human home.
  • …in the last several years, human societies have engaged in a project of unimagination, of ignoring or denying the signs of climate catastrophe, of distancing ourselves from the way the landscape is changing... And I think that we many not make it through this crisis if we forget that home isn't just a thing we build, but an awareness of and care for our surroundings and the capacity to imagine new ways of living in them... we will need a new set of stories about what it looks like to live on the earth in a manner that doesn’t destroy our future.

Other readings include:

Robert Hayden, Those Winter Sundays [available in a number of anthologies or online]

Martin Espada, That We Will Sing, in his book Floaters, National Book Award Winner

Naomi Shihab Nye, Shoulders, which is in the anthology Before There Is Nowhere To Stand, a collection of poets from Israel and Palestine.

Joy Harjo, Perhaps the World Ends Here (at the kitchen table...) in The Woman Who Fell From The Sun. See also selected or collected volume of her work.

Harjo, Catching the Light (pp 62–63* birth, 115 light, 119–122* light)

Wendell Berry, “Manifesto: the Mad Farmer Liberation Front.” In his Collected Poems.


One Response

  1. Marjorie Ringness
    | Reply

    Looking forward to Doug sharing

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