HDS 3722

Poetry and Religion

Michael D. Jackson


This course explores human experience at the limits of logos ('reason,' 'word,' or 'rational principle'), when normal habits of thought and rules of social location are lost or disrupted, when we confront sides of ourselves that ordinarily do not see the light of day, yet from which new modes of consciousness and expression may emerge - a penumbral zone that Wallace Stevens alluded to in his image of 'the palm at the end of the mind,' standing 'beyond thought', on 'the edge of space,' while a gold-feathered bird sings in the palm 'without human meaning, without human feeling, a foreign song.' Several (mainly modernist) poets and poems will be scheduled for discussion (including Wallace Stevens, Gerard Manley Hopkins, T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, Elizabeth Bishop, Anna Akhmatova, Philip Larkin, Carol Ann Duffy, Sylvia Plath), but students are invited to work with poets of their own choice in exploring Les Murray's view that 'Religions are poems ...I t is the same mirror, mobile, glancing, we call it poetry, fixed centrally, we call it a religion ...'

Enrollment Limited: Limited to 15 students. Instructor's permission required.
Open to BTI Students: Yes
Jointly offered as Religion 1013

Course website


0.50 credits
Spring 2015
Wed 2pm-4pm
Divinity Hall Room 211

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Religion, Ethics, and Politics
  • Religion, Literature, and Culture
MDiv Distribution Category/ies None
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry
  • Pastoral Care and Counseling
  • Preaching and Worship
  • Religious Education and Spiritual Development
Language Course Designation(s) None