Adult Formation Series: Poetry and the Spirit

Thursdays from 7 to 8 PM, October 28, November 4, 11, 18 on Zoom. Use this link to join:

Led by Stuart Hobbs.

There is a long tradition at St. Stephen’s of reading poetry during the Sunday liturgy. The present series offers an opportunity to delve further into poetry. Each week, we will look at selections from a different poet. I have selected four poets whose works, together, offer great insight into the human condition, the natural world, and the spiritual life, as well as presenting us with beautiful poetry. The four writers represent some of the finest English language poetry of the 20th and 21st centuries:  Jane Kenyon, Wilfred Own, Denise Levertov, and W. S. Merwin.

The format of these sessions will be much the same. I will introduce the poet of the day with some brief background. Then the group will take turns reading from a selection of poems I have curated. After each reading, we will have a brief discussion. Participants can share how the poem made them feel, a favorite line or striking image, thoughts the work inspired, even if you liked it or not.  A handout with texts of the selected pomes will be provided. As a special treat, during the session on Wilfred Own, we will hear some musical settings of his poetry by Benjamin Britten.

The four programs will be:

Oct. 28: Walking the Dog with Jane Kenyon: (Extra) Ordinary Insight in the Poetry of Jane Kenyon

Nov. 4: The Pity of War: The Poetry of Wilfred Owen and the Music of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem

Nov. 11: The Mountain, the Heron, and Julian: Panentheism in the Poetry of Denise Levertov

Nov. 18: The Buddhist in the Garden: Nature and Spirit in the Poetry of W. S. Merwin

Registration is not required, but if you think you might attend, please let Stuart know at and he can send you a packet of poetry for the week in advance.

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