Turning to Face the Ultimate: Poetry & the Sacred

Turning to Face the Ultimate: Poetry & the Sacred

Join us, poet-pilgrims, as we journey through poetry’s gateway into the Sacred.

* This course will take place on video-conferencing platform ZOOM * 

On this course, we will contemplate composing and reading poetry as a practice for deepening our relationship with the Sacred; as an act of communion and surrender to something greater than ourselves, yet simultaneously familiar and intimate. A poem can be a powerful invitation into the total mystery of existence, pointing us to the wonder and spaciousness of the universe. 

Together, we’ll engage in a deep exploration of our theme, becoming poet-pilgrims on a journey about the halls of writers who have turned to face the Ultimate; from the Zen simplicity of T’ang Dynasty poet Han Shan, to the rich, reverential vocabulary of Jesuit priest Gerard Manly-Hopkins; from Sufi mystics Hafiz and Rumi, to Modernist masters, H.D and T.S Eliot. Along the way, we’ll learn about the poetry of devotion in the writing of Denise Levertov and, from the much-misunderstood Austrian poet, George Trakl, we’ll discover shimmering beauty amid the mechanised violence of the 20th century. 

This is an immersive Zoom-based course, suitable for those who wish to develop a personal writing practice that is steeped in spirituality and supported by rigorous, yet uncomplicated, poetic study. All abilities are welcome; the only requirement being an interest in our theme. 

So, come with us and learn to build a temple (or hermitage!) out of words. Our sessions will go beyond intellectual study, inviting us to delve – through breath, silence, conversation, and contemplation – into the heart of the works we explore in our poems. 

5 fortnightly sessions on Thursdays, 7–9pm (BST/GMT), starts 13 October 2022. 

To apply for a concession rate, please send relevant documentation showing your eligibility for one of our concessions to [email protected] Conditions of eligibility are detailed here. More information about how our Video Courses work can be found on the Video Courses page. If you have any questions or wish to be added to the waiting list of a sold-out course, please email [email protected]. 

Image credit: Tobias Federle

About Matti Spence View Profile

Matti Spence is a poet and counsellor living in Totnes. He is a St Ethelburga’s Spiritual Ecology Fellow, has an MA in Creative Writing from UEA and facilitates the Totnes Poetry Circle. In both his writing and his counselling work, Matti aims to cultivate an approach that is reverent and deeply spiritual, whilst also maintaining the simple, straightforward approach that his Zen/Quaker roots have taught him. His 2018 collection, When it comes to letting go of the image, is available through Hesterglock press. 

'Poetry School has given me the opportunities to make poetry my home. Being parent of a disabled child, I have big challenges, the poetry became a vehicle to express myself. I am so grateful to the Poetry School providing this platform.'

- Autumn 2021 survey response

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