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University of Creation Spirituality
Doctor of Ministry Degree/Certificate Program

June 2004 Intensive CA
June 14-18 2004

Seminar: Mystical Poets © † - # 60023

Instructor: Anita Barrows, Ph.D.

Faculty Bio:  Anita Barrows is an award-winning poet and translator. With Joanna Macy, she translated Rilke's Book of Hours. Three volumes of her own poetry have been published, two of which have been awarded national prizes. Anita holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, and is associate professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley. She maintains a private practice where she specializes in working with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. A pioneer in the field of ecopsychology, she has published articles, given lectures and workshops, and taught it at UCS.

Course Description:   Students will establish a working definition of mystical poetry. We will focus on earth-centered traditions as well as God-centered traditions, covering a range of poets from pre-Christian times to the present, from many different cultures. We will read and discuss poetry together, speak about the role of poetry in religious experience and the role of mystical writing in social transformation. Students will also have a chance to do some of their own writing.

Required Reading:


1.                   Barrows & Macy, translators. Rilke's Book of Hours, Riverhead, 1996.

2.                   Barks, Coleman. The Essential Rumi, Harper Collins, 1995.

3.                   Levertov, Denise. Life in the Forest, New Dimensions, 1978.

4.                   Whitman, Walt. Leaves of Grass, any available edition

(a reader to be purchased, see separate sheet for details ) 

Suggested Readings:

1.                   Dante. The Divine Comedy, any available edition.

2.                   Rothenberg, ed. Technicians of the Sacred, revised edition, UC Press, 1996.

3.                   Snyder, Gary. Mountains and Rivers without End. Counterpoint, 1996.

4.                   The Song of Solomon, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, any edition.


Pre-Class Writing Assignment:  The following is a poem by the Italian poet Guiseppe Ungaretti:


                                                D' immenso

                        (alternate trs: I am illuminated with immensity.)

Translation: I illuminate myself with immensity. Meditate on this poem, say it to yourself in Italian--even if you don't know the language. Then write: what do these lines evoke in you? How do they make you feel? Let yourself range far and wide--meditate on the sound, on the way the lines look on the page. What are you reminded of when you read/speak them? For the second part of the assignment, meditate on an object in the natural world and enter it, let it move you. Then write a prose description of your experience, and a brief (no more than 30 lines) poem, evoking that experience.

Post-Class Writing Assignment: Choose one of the following:

            1.Write a meditation on your own name or

            2. Write a meditation on one of the poems in the reader and address the question, what is mystical in this poem? 

© †  Fulfills for Mystic requirement.

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