meet mark burrows
. . .poet & writer,
scholar & teacher. . .
When you read anything worth remembering, you liberate a human voice; you release into the world again a companion spirit." Louise Glueck
I currently am a faculty member at the University of Applied Sciences, Bochum (Germany), having moved to Germany after a career of almost a quarter of a century teaching at several graduate theological schools in the US and in Germany. My work spans a range of interests, particular focusing on the abiding "voice" of medieval mysticism. As an historian of medieval Christianity, my research and writing have focused on those creative minds--mystics, visionaries, poets--who often found themselves forced to the margins of Christianity. Theirs was an adventurous and daring exploration of the Spirit, a journey both inward and outward that offers radical insights into the nature of love, the quest for the divine, the possibilities of human experience, and alternate voicings of ancient traditions.
Alongside this work, I frequently lecture and offer workshops and retreats--across the US and in Europe, Australia, and Asia. My long-standing interest in the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke has given birth to a new translation of his early work entitled Prayers of a Young Poet (Paraclete Press; 2013). This is the first time these poems appear in their original form (and in their entirety) in English.
Another volume of my translations, a collection of poems entitled 99 Psalms by the well-known Iranian-German poet SAID, appeared in September, 2013. A selection of these translations was published together with my "translator's note" in Poetry magazine (March, 2012), as well as in Seminary Ridge Review and the online journal, Almost Island.
During the summer of 2013, I was the recipient of a fellowship from the Witter Bynner Poetry Foundation, which sponsored my residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute. During that residency, I completed work on a forthcoming volume, in translation, of the poems of the German Jewish poet Hilde Domin (1909-2006). Selected poems from this collection will be published in Metamorphoses, Reunion, and other journals.
My teaching and writing interests focus on the intersection of literature, and above all poetry, and the spiritual quest. In particular, I am drawn to the way mystics' writings engage modern readers with enduring questions related to human "being." Poetry is a steady part of my own imaginative and creative life, and writing poems remains a vital dimension of my life and work. This practice nourishes my capacities to be present to the wildness and beauty of the world, its unpredictability, its capacity to startle us. Writing keeps me open to the flow of life all around me. In recent years I have also served as poetry editor for the journal Spiritus: A Journal for Christian Spirituality (Johns Hopkins University Press).
Poetry is central to my writing and my work as a speaker and retreat leader; I find it a medium of vital engagement of heart and mind, since the texture and energy of poems carry us into the deep and revelatory places we come to know as human creatures. Several years ago I published together with co-editor Elizabeth Dreyer, Minding the Spirit. The Study of Christian Spirituality (Johns Hopkins University Press), a ground-breaking volume of essays by key voices shaping this emerging field of study. I am a regular writer for Weavings, a quarterly publication of spiritual writing (see my article, "Love Is a Direction," a piece I co-authored with John Ohlson, that appears in a recent issue of this journal [Fall, 2012]).