Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, and “The Negative Way” to God April 26, 9-Noon

“Poems are verbal icons into the eternal,” says the Reverend Dick Bamforth of Maine. And Brother Mark Brown of the Society of Saint John the Evangelist adds that in the original Greek, the Nicene Creed describes God as “the Poet of heaven and earth.”
In a workshop to be held on Saturday, April 26, from 9:00 to noon, Rick Wile will help us look at a few poems by Emily Dickinson and T. S. Eliot as guideposts for us in our own journeys toward the Eternal. Two very different poets (Rick never thought of pairing them until preparing for the workshop), each struggled to establish a relationship with God. Each chose what’s called “The Negative Way”: describing what God is not, rather than trying to fathom who or what God is. This Via Negativa is an ancient path that goes back to the Old Testament and the “ineffable name of God,” through the Middle Ages and The Cloud of Unknowing, through some of the writings of C. S. Lewis to the present day work of Cynthia Bourgeault and other contemplatives. For Dickinson and Eliot, this Negative Way took them to different places, which in and of itself might be helpful to us.

We will have time for reading, reflection, discussion, and even some writing on our own. Please join Rick and others for what promises to be a fascinating program.