"If I cannot listen to the subtle manifestation of rich reality in my environment, I will necessarily try to impose my wilful codes on others. If I am not open to reality and do not obey the voice of reality, a terrible distortion takes place. Sooner or later I will turn the whole relationship around: Instead of listening to reality in people and events, I become convinced that reality in people and events should listen to me."

[Adrian van Kaam, The Art of Existential Counseling, Dimension Books, 1966, 80.]

Course: The Poetry of Grace VI

Contemplative Poetic Traditions Inspired by Wales
    Course Cancelled

Michael Griffith was due to lead a pilgrimage to the UK in mid 2020 entitled 1000 Years of Poetry and the Contemplative Tradition in England. Due to Covid 19 this pilgrimage was cancelled indefinitely. One component of this pilgrimage was exploring the contemplative poetry associated with Wales. This included William Wordsworth, in particular his poem inspired by Tintern Abbey located in Monmouthshire, Wales on the banks of the River Wye.

The heart of this poem is Wordsworth’s vivid description of the contemplative state inspired by his location which he visited in 1798:

                                            … I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man…

We will go on a digital pilgrimage to Tintern Abbey exploring the depths of Wordsworth’s insights.

We will then travel to North Wales to listen to the contemplative impact made by the Welsh landscape and history on the Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins who studied theology at  Saint Beuno’s College in Denbighshire during the 1870s. Hopkins fell in love with the landscape and history of Wales and wrote much of his most significant contemplative poetry at this time.

We will go on a digital pilgrimage of some of the places that inspired Hopkins and engage with some of his greatest poems. Finally we will explore and compare with Wordsworth and Hopkins, the dramatically different poetry of the Welsh poet and Anglican priest R.S. Thomas (1913-2000) who lived and worked in North Wales in a landscape that Hopkins would have known and loved. R.S. Thomas was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1996 and received the Lannan literary award in the same year: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lannan_Literary_Awards

Michael is Associate Professor of Literature at the Australian Catholic University in Sydney. He has taught many courses at Aquinas. His specialization is Australian poetry, in particular the poetry of Catholic 20th Century poet, Francis Webb. His study of the life and work of Francis Webb is available as an ebook at: http://www.amazon.com.au/Gods-Fool-Life-Poetry-Francis-ebook/dp/B0091SJ26K Michael has also been co-ordinator of many conferences at ACU on the nexus between literature and the sacred: https://www.acu.edu.au/about-acu/events/2019/october/sacred-silence-in-literature-and-the-arts-2019-conference

Presenter: Associate Professor Michael Griffith PhD
Where: Aquinas Academy, Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, The Rocks, Sydney
When: Four Wednesday mornings, 10am - 12noon, November 4, 11, 18, 25, 2020
Cost: $150/person (including notes)

Nobody will be turned away simply because they cannot afford to pay. Offer a donation if you cannot pay the full registration fee.

For further information please telephone 02 9247 4651 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please register before the course starts so that notes will be available.

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