Showing posts from June, 2019

Lighting a candle, dispersing darkness.

Surprisingly it has taken me a while to read this memorial volume for Kathleen Raine with particular regard to Temenos both as the journal and the Academy she was instrumental in founding It leaped into my hand, nudged by the bookshelf angel, one morning having woken, bathed in gratitude, from a dream where I had been taking tea with the four most influential women in my life: one of whom was Kathleen.

Both book and dream brought back those memories that ripple through you capturing precisely how you felt at the time and challenging you to recapture their implicit challenge now that they carried then - to live towards your best self, the self that dwells in but is greater than the productions of time. carrying the face you had 'before' you were born.

As a teenager, I found myself reading William Blake. I read unknowingly in T.S. Eliot's manner for sense before meaning! The meaning was continually elusive, baffling. I needed help so I went t…

The Brooklyn Crucifixion

Chaim Potok wanted to become a painter but life intervened and it was a road not traveled. Instead, he became a writer primarily of well-received novels. He was unusual, as a major Jewish writer in North America at the time, as he was fully immersed in his tradition as a believing, practicing Jew, rather alienated from or even antagonistic to his tradition.

He wrote from within yet not unaware of or ungenerous towards the secular, the intrusion of modernity. It is, in many of his novels, a creative tension between the enclosed but unfolding and sustaining world of Hasidic or Conservative Judaism and the American world beyond that gives his novels their life. It comes alive in the struggles of his characters to make their way - faithful to both tradition and the new.

This is wonderfully depicted in Potok's 'My Name is Asher Lev'. Asher introduces himself at the novel's opening as the crea…