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Writing the Spiritual Life

Presentation with SUSAN McCASLIN
Wednesday, March 25, 2015
6:30pm to 8:00pm

Banyen Books & Sound
3608 West 4th Ave.

Join Susan McCaslin, award-winning Canadian poet for a talk, reading, and mini-writing workshop based on her new spiritual autobiography.

Susan McCaslin’s Into the Mystic: My Years with Olga (Inanna Publications, 2014) tells the story of the poet’s apprenticeship with her lineage teacher, Olga Park, who lived in Port Moody, British Columbia. Susan studied with Olga from 1969 to the time of Olga’s death in 1985. Olga, who immigrated to Vancouver from Yorkshire, England in 1910, shared with Susan her lifetime of profound interior experiences as well as her contemplative practices. 

As a part of this talk and discussion, participants will be invited to do a writing exercise based on a single remembered experience of what has been called “unitive awareness, “peak experience,” deep, archetypal dreaming, an epiphany in nature, a moment of transcendence, or sense of unity or interconnectedness. The ways of talking about such timeless intersections are diverse. What are the limits of language? Can it hint at or point to the ineffable? How can such an experience awaken one’s creativity? When is it appropriate and not to share such experiences with others? The workshop will address some of these questions. Those who wish brief feedback from the group may share what they have written, but this is not required.

Susan McCaslin is the author of thirteen volumes of poetry, including The Disarmed Heart (The St. Thomas Poetry Series, Toronto, 2014), and Demeter Goes Skydiving (University of Alberta Press, 2012), which was short-listed for the BC Book Prize (Dorothy Livesay Award) and the first-place winner of the Alberta Book Publishing Award (Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award). Susan lives in Fort Langley, British Columbia where she initiated the Han Shan Poetry Project as part of a successful campaign to protect an endangered rainforest along the Fraser River.