Check out a new inspirational post and Kathleen Raine appreciation post
May your walking be easy, on dry land or snow.
May the good Lord walk with you, wherever you go.
May your troubles brush off, like a sprinkling of dust,
And may you stand strong, for what is good, what is just.
May your soul be always grateful, may joy fill your heart.
May you reach out to others, with love, from the start.
May friendships bring blessing, for you, every day.
And may you be a blessing to those on your way.
—Retired Episcopal Priest Rev. Jane R. Dunning, Diocese of Western Massachusetts; Chaplain, Shelburne Falls Fire Departments
Kathleen Raine chose the path of the visionary poet in the tradition of William Blake. Her aim was “to see a World in a Grain of Sand…. Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,” in Blake’s words. She was deeply committed to this life choice and devoted enormous energy to her poetry and her essays in support of her sacred craft. She has garnered a place for herself in the pantheon of scholars of mystical poetry, with fourteen volumes of her criticism published, along with four volumes on William Blake alone and a definitive analysis of Golden Dawn idealist poet William Butler Yeats.
Born in London in 1908 and schooled at Girton College, Cambridge, Kathleen Raine undertook her master’s studies in the field of natural science, using the wild landscape of her youth to inform her poetry, and received a degree in 1929. She was the youngest and only woman among the Cambridge Poets of the 1930s and began to include women’s writing as one of her interests when she read Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own.
Like some of her Romantic predecessors, she had numerous loves and married several times. Unlike others, however, her brilliance was recognized in her lifetime; Raine received many awards for her poetry, her translations—the most memorable of Honoré de Balzac—and her critical work. Her verse was greatly admired by her peers; esteemed poet-critic G.S. Fraser described it as “the poems of a sibyl, perhaps of a rapt visionary, but not of a saint.”
Awards notwithstanding, she was given to the occasional extreme. At one
time, she refused to include any poems containing “mere human emotion.” She explained this shocking and extremely limiting measure for her Collected Poems as a commitment to “the symbolic language of…poets of the ‘Romantic’ tradition.” Her editor and publisher convinced her not to exclude some of her finest works from the ultimate volume of her verse, but her attempt to do so certainly illustrates her radical pledge to uphold her alliance to her mystical roots: “I began as a poet of spontaneous inspirations, drawing greatly on nature and fortified by my more precise biological studies…. I have much sympathy for the young generation now reacting against material culture….. I am too firmly rooted in the civilization of the past to speak their language.”
This too is an experience of the soul. The dismembered world that once was the whole god whose broken fragments now lie dead. This passing of reality itself is real.
Kathleen Raine, from Isis Wanderer
Medieval Mystics, Pioneering Poets, Fierce Feminists and First Ladies of Literature (Feminist Book, Gift for Women, Gift for Writers)
This one-of-a-kind tome takes a tour with Sylvia Beach and other booksellers as well as librarians, editors, writers, bibliophiles, and celebrated book clubs. Join women’s studies scholar Anders as she takes you on a ribald ride through the pages of history. Chapter titles include “Prolific Pens” (including Joyce Carol Oates, author of over 100 books), “Mystics, Memoirists and Madwomen”, “Salons and Neosalons”, “Ink in Their Veins” (literary dynasties), and the titillating “Banned, Blacklisted, and Arrested.”