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A Surprise Communion across Continents, Classes, Centuries, and Cultures

. . .In dejection from all the awful and discouraging news about reactionary political victories, rampant viral sub-variants, catastrophic droughts, and increasing violence (as well as, for me, unhappy views about my own self), I found myself doing something that I’ve done on occasion over the years, especially under stress:  I was hand-writing, long past midnight, a list of my favorite artists and mystical writers.  That exercise can calm and comfort me. not just as an obsessive-compulsive ritual, but as a reminder of real treasures that I’ve been given, for inspiration and illumination.

Art as Our Priceless Exchange of Gifts

The poet, essayist, translator, and magazine publisher and editor, Robert Bly, died toward the end of last year.  I think it’s unfortunate that he became best-known as a father of the “men’s movement,” because in the public’s mind that overshadows his tremendous contributions to American literature.  His literary work in all the capacities that I just listed had a tremendous and priceless effect on me and others, opening up the cloistered world of an American poetry controlled excessively by stiff-minded academics to the timeless and global world of a poetry of imagination and spirituality, of what Bly called “news of the universe.”