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Poet of Incarnation

May 27, 2011

In Imagination in Place, Wendell Berry reflects on the poetry of Kathleen Raine in a chapter titled “Against the Nihil of the Age.” I am reflecting on the following excerpt, especially as it relates to education.

with what infinite gentleness being flows / Into the forms of nature, and unfolds / Into the slowly ascending tree of life / That opens, bud by bud, into the sky.

She is working here as a poet of incarnation at the most physical level. But this knowledge makes available to her a set of analogues that she never ceases to explore: The way being flows into its creaturely forms is analogous to the way the cultural and historical birthright enters into human minds and is passed on, and to the way souls enter the world, and to the way the Holy Spirit, Milton’s “Heav’nly Muse,” Blake’s “Imagination,” or what Kathleen Raine eventually will call “the Presence,” passes by inspiration into human acts and works.

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From → Literature

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