I am part of a great session in Eastern Europe on imagination and the Inklings later today (7pm East Europe time; 12noon Eastern EST) with poet-theologian Malcolm Guite and George MacDonald scholar and life-rich resonator, Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson. You can find the free link and more details here, and I hope you can join us in a bit to hear Malcolm’s elfin wisdom, Kirstin’s patient insistence on something deeper, and my own bumbling curiosities.
In preparing for this C.S. Lewis and Kindred Spirits Society conversation, I was invited to listen to Malcolm Guite’s recent appearance on CBC’s Tapestry, a delightful and sometimes disturbing hour-long weekly show that talks about faith and spirituality, resisting newsish hurry for deep thoughts and careful questions. Malcolm has appeared on CBC before, in a 2013 documentary on C.S. Lewis’ life (which I talk about here). Recently, though, Tapestry host Mary Hynes stumbled upon Malcolm’s poem, “Every Idle Word” in a Tweet:
‘Every Idle Word’: What if we had to own up to what we say? https://t.co/q5llU01dBI
— Malcolm Guite (@malcolmguite) September 26, 2019
You can hear Malcolm reading this startling poem here:
What if every murmuration,
Every otiose oration
Every oath and imprecation,
Every blogger’s aberration,
Every facebook fabrication
Every twittered titivation,
Every facile explanation,
Drags us to the ground?
Quite a word to a word-enthralled and world-full chap like me.
Mary Hynes then took the time to speak with Malcolm about this poem, relating it to the way that words work in our world today. The show is called, “What if you were held accountable for every word you ever said?,” which you can listen in full and read transcript portions of here.
I might as well use this post as a chance to make some other links with Malcolm.
In 2018, Sørina Higgins hosted a Signum Symposium panel on The Inklings & King Arthur in the wake of her Mythopoeic award-winning collection (see here–and I’m pleased to have a chapter in it!). The panel included the Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen, as well as Malcolm Guite. Sørina noted it as a beardworthy event.
One of my favourite links is between Malcolm as a poet and musician and Canadian indie musician Steve Bell. They have been collaborating for about a decade, and here is a great collaboration of image and space at A Rocha Canada in British Columbia:
I have had the chance to hear Steve Bell live, including in a tiny setting where I would watch his brilliant work on the fretboard. But I haven’t yet seen Steve and Malcolm live together. One of my favourite things that Steve and Malcolm did together is this moment in a concert, “The Singing Bowl & Birth of a Song.”
That entire “Live at the Westend” (Winnipeg) concert is absolutely brilliant and available at Steve Bell’s site in a Pay What You Can stream (go here). Here you can listen to Malcolm tease out what for him are the deepest links of life and artistry in this little recording on art, imagination and Steve Bell:
Finally, here is one of a number of Malcolm’s poems that Steve has turned into song, “Because We Hunkered Down”–a great song for the spring season, I hope: