Meditatio Centre - 3 talks on Meister Eckhart (2018)

“These wise and tender poems practice what Mark S. Burrows calls ‘long listening,’ a focused attentiveness to the particulars of skies, clouds, trees, geese and songbirds; to city streets and the homeless; to his wife, children and cats. Call these meditative poems Burrows’ yes to the given world, his ongoing record of those instances of connectedness when we are at home in what Pessoa called ‘the astonishing reality of things,’ a reality which is, as Burrows so touchingly knows, ‘nothing less than/the ordinary miracle of everything.’”

 —Robert Cording, poet and author of Walking with Ruskin and Only So Far  


“I read The Chance of Home with a growing sense of pleasure and recognition. Here is a poet with a profound awareness of nature and its spiritual resonances, its correspondences. Burrows wears his learning lightly as he meditates, in lovely and accessible language, on the penetration of spirit into matter. This is a poetry of incarnation, summoned in memorable words that echo and ring with a music of their own.”

 —Jay Parini, poet, biographer, novelist, and author of New and Selected Poems, 1975 – 2015 and Empire of Self: A Life of Gore Vidal


“Mark S. Burrows’ poems offer the reader both invitation and gift—when you say yes, the treasures lay themselves out like a banquet for the heart. I love the sense of both longing and fullness held in tension through image and rhythm, a quiet knowing and wise unknowing revealed in the spaces between the words, and the grace of stillness beckoning from each poem.”

  —Christine Valters Paintner, poet, retreat leader, and author of The Wisdom of the Body and Illuminating the Way: Embracing the Wisdom of Monks and Mystics 


“To read Mark S. Burrows’ poems in The Chance of Home is to take a walk with the saints, both the churched and the literary, and to see the sun-struck wonder of the world ‘here below’ through their and his eyes. Burrows is the gracious poet-guide on our journey, teaching the wisdom of Rilke, Augustine, Simone Weil, Heraclitus, Emily Dickinson, and Jesus, singing the song of ‘the lure of distances,’ feeding us with ‘crumbs . . . enough to make a feast,’ and revealing to us at every turn the ‘glimpse of home in the ordinary of it all.’ For home is both where we are and where we are heading in these poems as they paint the world we are lucky enough to inhabit, luminous and lit from within, a universe of mute beautiful things that somehow sing through the poet’s loving and attentive acts of translation and celebration. Burrows’ poems are delicate tunes, brief epiphanies, faithful assurances against the uncertainties of eternity. It is a joy to march in step with his song, to stand surrounded by that cloud of witnesses, to be in that number.”

  —Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, poet, professor of English, Creative Writing and American Catholic Studies at Fordham University, and author of Still Pilgrim: Poems and Lover’s Almanac


“It gives me great joy to read The Chance of Home: its gentle confidence fills me with hope. Often these poems put me into that serene Wordsworthian mood when I find I am ‘become a living soul.’ But they also confront silence, darkness and homelessness: in their evoking of song, they gather into themselves ‘the most ancient of things,’ understanding with Wallace Stevens that ‘poetry is a part of the structure reality.’ Mark S. Burrows’ work beautifully manifests this truth as it provides a ‘chance,’ or song-filled sense, of home for the wandering soul on earth.”

 —Edward Clarke, professor  of English and creative writing at Oxford University, and author of The Vagabond Spirit of Poetry and The Later Affluence of W.B. Yeats and Wallace Stevens


“Into this remarkable, grace-filled book of poems Mark S. Burrows has poured out his soul about the wisdom of place and the risks we must take to find and define it in the flow of life. For Burrows ‘the chance of home’ depends not simply on location but extends ‘beyond maps’ into the ‘vast geography of grace.’ The central question these powerful poems address is this: How do we belong? The Chance for Home thus reflects Burrows’ journey as the survivor of the ‘grit of loss [and] the grind of grief’ as well as his witness to the epiphanies experienced along the way. So many of these are beautifully expressed, almost Wordsworthian, in his poems about nature—crocuses ‘spear[ing] their greening blades/ up beyond the hold of winter’s grip,’ the wisdom of trees with their ‘seasoned play,’ the ‘gift of cloud and wind and dreaming mind,’ and a swaying line of geese that ‘carves a wedge through the empty acres of the sky.’ The Chance for Home offers the courage we need to accept a wisdom that ‘lures us by what we long for, and [finds] us within the reach of what we seek.’ With his beautiful book Burrows has established himself as a major poet of fortitude and faith.”

  —Philip C. Kolin, editor of The Southern Quarterly, and author of Benedict’s Daughter and Emmet Till in Different States


 “This collection gathers us again to wonder at what has been given to us every day, anywhere. Mark Burrows’ poems invite us to see more than we see, beckoning us to wonder and to marvel. Rilke is listening here, and Wallace Stevens, too, but the distinctive voice is Burrows’ own music, at once sensuous and full of Augustinian, even apophatic, longing.”

 —Don Saliers, theologian, Emory University, coauthor of A Song to Singa Life to Live, and author of Music and Theology


“In these elegant poems of stately simplicity and lyrical rhythms, Mark S. Burrows crafts a poetry that is resonant with what is reverential, as in ‘the poplar that girds the road’s far bend.’ This is a poetry that exhibits the conjuring of sacred image, ‘like a word that breathes unheard in/ what we know but can never fully say.’ These poems often give expression to a stony Thomas Merton-like inner well of solitude. They reflect, as in the poem ‘Cloudwatch,’ a ‘dreaming mind’ through which we experience ‘glimpses of enduring things that gather/ us in the radiance of this passing world.’ This is a book of essences, whose author is drawn by the seasonal migrations of geese. Like those flocks, these poems consistently point to the true north on life’s metaphysical compass; they offer the reader ‘what we/ need to brave the stinging cold.’ Ultimately, however, this is a poetry of praise, which opens from within its own center, as does the lily.”

  —Wally Swist, poet and translator, including (with David Breeden and Steven Schroeder) Daodejing, and Huang Po and the Dimensions of Love


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