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St. Columba's Inverness


The Wild Prayer of Longing

“What is this wild prayer of longing that issues from the heart?”

Nathan Scott Jr.

An Online Workshop 


Jeanne Foster & Alan Williamson

Saturday, June 17

11AM – 3PM PT

$50 per person


In a secular age, modern and contemporary poetry has often been concerned with where the sense of the sacred and the numinous can be found outside the parameters of traditional religious doctrine. One might look at the moments when we can suddenly “rejoice with things”; we might consider religious hope and despair as permanent conditions in the depths of the mind.

Jeanne Foster and Alan Williamson poets from the San Francisco Bay Area will engage in a dialogue about poetry and the sacred, read from their own work and the work of some modern and contemporary poets including Wallace Stevens, James Wright and Anne Sexton. They will discuss Swedish poet Tomas Transtromer, Nobel Prize winner, whose considerable influence on American poetry was due to his interest in the border between our inner worlds, the terrain of introspection and surrealism, and the world we share with others as fellow citizens.

They will read a famous poem by contemporary poet Danusha Lameris, former poet laureate of Santa Cruz CA, and author of The Moons of August and Bonfire Operas.


Jeanne Foster, Professor Emerita, Saint Mary's College, and ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, addresses in an early book, A Music of Grace, what continues to be a compelling concern: poetry and the sacred. Her other books include A Blessing of Safe Travel; Goodbye, Silver Sister; Appetite; and her latest poetry collection, Your Form Became My Own.

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Alan Williamson recently retired from the University of California, Davis, and teaches in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers. His books of poems include The Pattern More Complicated and Franciscan Notes. His sixth book of criticism, Dante and the Night Journey, is forthcoming. He and Jeanne Foster co-translated The Living Theatre: Selected Poems of Bianca Tarozzi, which won the Bay Area Book Reviews Award for Poetry and Translation.

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