GERARD MANLEY HOPKINS
Conversations on Spirituality & Poetry with Two Poets
The world is charged with the grandeur of God,
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men now not reck his rod?
An Online Workshop on Gerard Manley Hopkins
Bob Hass, Professor Emeritus at U. C. Berkeley, Poet Laureate of the United States 1995-1997
Brenda Hillman, Poet, Activist, Professor Emerita at Saint Mary’s College of California MFA program
Originally aired on March 16, 2023
Gerard Manley Hopkins was a Jesuit priest and poet of the Victorian era. His poetry is considered radical for its unusual syntax and meter as well as for its psychological depth and forceful imagery. Hopkins celebrated the natural world but also wrestled with matters of traditional Christian belief and guilt, in poetic language that seems at times tortured and at times ecstatic. Poets Bob Hass and Brenda Hillman will lead a 4 hour workshop/conversation on Hopkins’ poetry, choosing a few early and later poems to focus on. The format on Zoom will be casual and conversational, but attention will be paid to some close readings.
Bob Hass grew up in Marin County, attended St. Mary's College and Stanford University. He taught American poetry, environmental writing, and creative writing in the English department at the University of California at Berkeley for thirty years during which he had plenty of occasion to think about poets such as Gerard Manley Hopkins. He retired from Cal with the title of Distinguished Chair Emeritus in Poetry and Poetics. A much honored poet, he served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 1995 to1997 and has been awarded both the National Book Award in poetry and the Pultizer prize. His latest book of poems Summer Snow was published in 2020. 2022 was a year of focus on T.S .Eliot for Bob and Brenda, beginning with a deep dive study of “ The Four Quartets” and culminating with a course on "The Wasteland “ to celebrate its 100th anniversary.
Brenda Hillman has published collections of poetry with Wesleyan University Press, most recently Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire (2013), which received the Griffin International Prize for Poetry, and Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days (2018). Named by Poets and Writers as one of fifty inspiring writers in the world, Hillman has also worked as an activist for social and environmental justice. Her work has received Fellowships from the Academy of American Poets and the Guggenheim Foundation. With her mother, Helen Hillman, she has co-translated Brazilian poet Ana Cristina Cesar’s At Your Feet. From 2016-2021 Hillman served Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets. She lives with her husband Robert Hass, directs the Poetry Week at the Community of Writers, and teaches in the M.F.A. Writing Program at Saint Mary’s College of California. Brenda Hillman recently published her new collection of poetry, some poems written during the Pandemic: In a Few Minutes Before Later, Wesleyan University Press 2022.