"Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)

The Sacred in the Life and Work of Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)

Dr Michael Griffith

MichaelGriffith

A series of four seminars exploring the poet's life and work. The Austrian- Bohemian poet R.M. Rilke is an extraordinary twentieth century poet whose life and work attracts people from all faith traditions in search of understanding the nature of sacred experience and the place of creative language in that search. In his first "Duino Elegy" Rilke observed that humans are by nature "not really at home in our interpreted world", lacking the creative vision to make the connections that could restore our humanity. Rilke's poetry challenges his readers to make that connection. Rilke's work has certain key moments relevant to this exploration. These will form the focus of this seminar series.

This series of four seminars will look at key episodes in The Letters to Young Poets and then look at selections from The Book of Monastic Life, The New Poems, The Sonnets to Orpheus and The Duino Elegies. The presenter, A/Professor Michael Griffith from ACU is a native Austrian speaker and will be able to assist in comparing the strength of various translations of Rilke's poetry into English. Michael has had a long standing interest in the relationship between poetry, art and the Sacred. Where possible seminars will also provide an opportunity for participants to share their own writing inspired by their reading of Rilke.

 1. Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet (Briefe an einen jungen Dichter (1902-1908). These letters written to a young 19 year old outline Rilke's sense of what is needed to create a deeper contact with the inner life and how poetry can facilitate this process.

2. Rilke's early Book of Hours (Das Stunden Buch) inspired by Russian orthodox spirituality and by St Francis of Assisi show his quest for a spirituality based on classic Christian traditions.

3. Rilke's Book of Images (Das Buch Der Bilder) shows his turning to a more direct apprehension of an underlying truth through a sharp imagistic focus. In line with Hopkins' notion of inscape, Rilke's aim was to disclose the inner being of objects- including animals- in the physical world.

4. His final grand works, The Sonnets to Orpheus and The Duino Elegies (1912- 1922) are the work of a creative master who, allowing his unconscious to find his deepest voice, expresses his haunting sense of the power of creative art (in word and image) to deepen our experience. They have been described as "a grand poetic statement on consciousness itself, about the way we transform and internalize perception into being, into who we are." (Daniel Mendelsohn).

This series of four seminars will look at key episodes in The Letters to Young Poets and then look at selections from The Book of Monastic Life, The New Poems, The Sonnets to Orpheus and The Duino Elegies.

The presenter, A/Professor Michael Griffith from ACU is a native Austrian speaker and will be able to assist in comparing the strength of various translations of Rilke's poetry into English. Michael has had a long standing interest in the relationship between poetry, art and the Sacred.

Where possible seminars will also provide an opportunity for participants to share their own writing inspired by their reading of Rilke.

WHEN FILLING OUT THE BOOKING FORM BELOW, IGNORE "CHOOSE AN OPTION". DO PUT IN THE NAME OF THE COURSE

4 Wednesday mornings, July 2 - July 23, 2014

10am - 12noon

Level 5, 141 Harrington Street, The Rocks

Cost: $114/person (Including notes)

 

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