Conversing with Paradise

Brian Keeble

Hillsdale, NY: Sophia Perennis, 2005.
192 pages
ISBN: 1-59731-006-9
Price: $19.95 US
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ISBN: 1-59731-050-6
Price: $34.95 US
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At a time when poetry has little regard for anything beyond the commonplace realities of everyday perception and sentiment, these studies propose a restoration of balance as between outer and inner worlds. For too long, in the wake of our attempt at a rational, scientific civilization, it has been readily assumed that the center of gravity of reality and truth falls within the realm of the physical world. But for the poets discussed in these pages the opposite is the case. For them the center of gravity of the Real and the True decidedly falls within the spiritual world, the ‘other’, ‘hidden’ domain which has immemorially been the source of enduring values and meanings. So, in the nature of things, it must remain. It is not a question of making a case for these poets as being inspired mystics or visionaries (though they are hardly without inspiration and vision). It is more a question of discerning to what extent they participate imaginatively in the realities of Spirit made comprehensible by the revealed traditions. We do not turn to poets for the formulation of doctrine and principle, but we might yet find in their work resonances of the True in the beauties of measured speech and how we are even now among intimations of the abiding good in the human condition. What these poets have in common is that they invoke an image of man as being only fully human insofar as he can attach himself to realities which transcend the human state as such. It is part of the contention of these pages that, if the imaginative vision of these poets belongs to an outmoded cultural phrase, if they are perceived to be trafficking in a knowledge that has been superseded, then it follows that most of the culture of the past must now the jettisoned as one would any obsolete junk. Spiritually, the reckoning is that decisive. Now that the ruins of a failed, secular culture are everywhere evident, the imaginative vision of these poets can renew and refresh our perception of the human vocation.

Table of Contents



A Time of Darkness—Tradition and the Individual—Minding True Things


Hamlet and Traditional Wisdom


Myself Must I Remake—Yourself, the Finder Found—Time's Glass Breaks—Epiphanies of Light—Eden's Native Ground

About the Author

Brian Keeble has long been devoted to the promulgation of the traditional arts. He is the founder of Golgonooza Press and co-founder of Temenos Academy. The Temenos Academy, sponsored by the Foundation of HRH The Prince of Wales, is a teaching organization dedicated to the same central idea that had inspired the earlier Temenos Review (a journal devoted to the arts of the Imagination). He is the author of Art: For Whom and For What?Conversing with Paradise, (with Kathleen Raine) The Inner Journey of the Poet and Other Papers, as well as several slender volumes of his own poetry. He is closely associated with the works of Eric Gill, Sir John Tavener, Keith Critchlow, Philip Sherrard, Wendell Berry, Cecil Collins, and Kathleen Raine, and has contributed to several journals, including Sophia.