“Poetry and the Christian Imagination” Series

Theology on Tap Returns! Join us 7pm at the Rattlesnake Bar Tuesdays this April for another spectacular series: “The End of all Our Exploring: Poetry and the Christian Imagination”

This series will explore the intersection of Christian faith, poetic imagery, and the works of several august 20th century (and older) poets, and asks what these works say about language as an image for the work of God in the world. This will be a fascinating series and not to be missed!

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Distracted from Distraction by Distraction: Reflections on T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets”

April 10, 2012

Dr. Thomas Howard.

Tom will explore the grandeur and nuance of this great poem and poet. He writes, “In [his] own view, this sequence of four poems represents the pinnacle of Eliot’s whole work. Four Quartets stands as Eliot’s valedictory to the modern world. I would place it, along with Chartres Cathedral, the Divine Comedy, van Eyck’s” Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” and Mozart’s Requiem as a major edifice in the history of the Christian West.”

Dr. Thomas Howard is an old friend of the Advent and occasional TOT powerhouse.  Formerly a professor of Literature at Gordon College and currently, in retirement, a professor emeriti at St. John’s Seminary, he is the author of several books including, Dove Descending: A Journey Into T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets,” considered the first in-depth exposition of Eliot’s masterwork ever published, and Evangelical is not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament.

God and Poetry:  Notes Toward a Theological Aesthetics

April 17, 2012

Mr. Adam Rutledge

In this series, the other two speakers focus on the works of individual Christian poets and their contributions both to literature and the understanding of Christianity. As a complement to this approach, Adam’s presentation will focus on more theoretical questions, including:  What is the relationship between Aesthetics, or Beauty, and Theology?  Does poetry provide an effective medium for talking about God, and if so, why?  What is the role of poetry in the Christian scriptures and tradition?  And what are the risks, both aesthetic and theological, in writing religious verse?  The talk will draw on Anglican poets in particular for illustrations of some of its arguments, including George Herbert and John Donne.

Adam is a well-known parishioner of the Advent who serves on the vestry. He is finishing a Ph.D. on religious themes in literary modernism at Brandeis University, and he has a masters degree in Religion and Literature from Yale Divinity School.  His interests include Aesthetics, the relationship between Philosophy, Theology, and Literature, Medieval Latin Literature, and the History of the Book. He currently works in the investment group of a trust firm in Boston’s financial district.

Our Link Is Unbroken: The Living and the Dead in the Poetry of P. J. Kavanagh

April 24, 2012

Mr. Bill Coyle

In 1956 the aspiring British poet P. J. Kavanagh, married Sally Phillips, daughter of the novelist Rosamond Lehmann. Less than two years later, working in Indonesia, Sally contracted polio and died.  This tragedy had a profound effect on Kavanagh’s subsequent life and poetry. Rather than embittering the poet, however, or casting a shadow over the work that followed, Sally’s death led to a deepening of his Roman Catholic faith, and to an increasingly sacramental sense of the world.  Kavanagh’s poetry is characterized at every point by a sense of livings simultaneously in two worlds, and he attempts to do full justice to both, expressing thanks and praise for the continuing presence of the dead (and, even more unfashionably, of the angels), as well as for the beauties of the natural world.

Bill Coyle’s poems have appeared widely in magazines and anthologies, including the Hudson Review, The New Criterion, the New Republic, and Poetry. His collection of poems, The God of This World to His Prophet, won the New Criterion Poetry Prize and was published in 2006. He is also a translator from the Swedish, and his versions of the poet Håkan Sandell have appeared in PN Review and Poetry and in the anthologies The Other Side of Landscape and New European Poets. In 2010 he was awarded a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Mr. Coyle works in the Writing Center at Salem State University and resides in Somerville.

Drink good beer. Think deep thoughts. Meet great people

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