December 8, 2013

A tribute to poet and scholar Kathleen Raine 2003 (Video)

An excerpt from her obituary by Janet Watts, published in The Guardian on July 8, 2003:
Kathleen Raine, who has died aged 95, was a poet who believed in the sacred nature of all life, all true art and wisdom, and her own calling. She knew as a small child that poetry was her vocation.

William Blake was her master, and she shared his belief that "one power alone makes a poet - imagination, the divine vision". As WB Yeats, her other great exemplar, put it, "poetry and religion are the same thing". To this vision she committed not only her poetry and erudition, but her whole life. She stood as a witness to spiritual values in a society that rejected them.
In 1980, her life took a new turning. With a group of like-minded artists and writers, she launched Temenos - "a review devoted to the arts of the imagination" - with its first issue offering contributions from fellow poets David Gascoyne, Peter Redgrove and Vernon Watkins, and the visionary artist Cecil Collins, as well as herself. The editors of Temenos (the word means the sacred area around a temple) declared that "the intimate link between the arts and the sacred" had fired imaginative creation in almost all human societies, except our own. Temenos aimed to challenge this "deviation" in the arts of its time.

It did so at an unpropitious moment, the start of the 1980s, a decade that epitomised all that Temenos opposed - secularism, materialism, a popularised culture and press, and Margaret Thatcher's denial of the very existence of "society". Yet in the 1990s a tide turned. At the Temenos Academy, Kathleen presided over discussions and lectures by scientists, ecologists and economists, as well as scholars, writers and artists from both east and west.

When asked how she wished people to remember her, Kathleen Raine said she would rather they didn't. Or that Blake's words be said of her: "That in time of trouble, I kept the divine vision". Better to be a sprat in that "true ocean", she believed, than a big fish in a literary rock pool.
Video Title: A tribute to poet and scholar Kathleen Raine 2003. Source: Clear Vision. Date Published: July 15, 2010. Description:
News of Kathleen Raine's death who once enjoyed a public conversation with Bhante Sangharakshita in Croydon. Part of Newsreel 25, released Autumn 2003.