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Voicing the Soul: Spiritual Poetry with Bonnie Lyons


  • University Presbyterian Church 300 Bushnell Avenue San Antonio, TX, 78212 United States (map)

Dates: Two Thursdays, Feb. 21 and 28

Time: 1-3 p.m.

Tuition: $25 before Feb. 14, $30 after

Enrollment: 12 min./35 max.

Whether to celebrate our joy or to find comfort in times of grief and hopelessness, we turn to spiritual poetry for the words to express our deepest feelings. The twenty-third psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd,” is certainly one of the best-known spiritual poems, but there are many others. Some of these great spiritual poems, such as Francis of Assisi’s “Canticle of the Sun,” are Christian, some like the biblical psalms are Jewish. Some are from other cultures, such as Rumi’s marvelous 13th century work, which, surprisingly, has become among the most popular poetry of the 21st century. Our two most famous early American poets, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, wrote spiritual poetry. The body of spiritual poetry is vast and comes from many cultures, places and time-periods. You may know the poems of Hildegard of Bingen, but what about Lao–tzu and Wu-men? And of course, spiritual poems, such as Marge Piercy’s “The Art of Blessing the Day,” are written today. In this class we’ll read and discuss a selection of spiritual poems both for their spiritual content and as works of art.

Bonnie Lyons retired in May 2014 with emeritus status from the University of Texas in San Antonio. She has taught and lectured in Greece, Italy, Spain, Israel, and England. During her long career she has published eight books: Call It Sleep, Passion and Craft, two full-length books of poetry: In Other Words (which contains 40 monologues spoken by women in the Hebrew scriptures) and Bedrock, plus three chapbooks: Hineni, Meanwhile, and So Far . Her most recent book, WOW: Wonderful Old Women, contains interviews with 13 amazing San Antonio women eighty years and older.

Register here.