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Why THOMAS MERTON Matters Now with Susan McCaslin

Thursday, March 14, 2019
6:30pm to 8:00pm

Banyen Books & Sound
3608 West 4th Ave.

In this Banyen event, Susan McCaslin will present from her and J.S. Porter's new book Superabundantly Alive: Thomas Merton’s Dance with the Feminine, and engage with attendees on how Thomas Merton’s writings and life are especially pertinent at this time. She will explore Merton’s engagement with both the archetypal feminine (Sophia, divine Wisdom) and the human feminine (Merton’s relationships with real women in his life).

Superabundantly Alive is a unique, unified, multi-genre work that includes dialogue, imaginary letters, poems, and reflective essays by two established Canadian poets, Susan McCaslin and J.S. Porter. Taking cues from Merton himself, Susan and John establish a playful, jazzy, tone — superabundantly alive. This book invites participation for those who already know Merton’s work and for those who are meeting this whole and broken, prophetic, whimsical, paradoxical prophet and visionary for the first time. Robert Lax once described Merton’s poetry and the man himself as “superabundantly alive.” McCaslin and Porter prove the truth of this description in their enchanting account of the writer-mystic who now comes into his second century of stature and significance, in the words of Boris Pasternak, “(a)live and burning to the end."

Susan McCaslin, PhD, is a Thomas Merton scholar and the author of several books of poetry, non-fiction, and essays. Some of her prominent works include Into the Open: Poems New and Selected, Into the Mystic, and Superabundantly Alive: Thomas Merton’s Dance with the Feminine. Susan did her Ph.D. in English Literature at UBC and is a retired Faculty Emerita of Douglas College where she taught English and Creative Writing for 23 years. She currently resides outside 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.

“As this book bears witness, each person who reads Merton attentively finds a magic mirror in which he or she sees both a familiar and a transfigured face – a face of surprise, a face unmasked, a face freed from fear.”

~ Jim Forest, author of Living with Wisdom: a biography of Thomas Merton