What if you were held accountable for every word you ever said?” Malcolm Guite on CBC’s Tapestry with Mary Hynes (Feature Friday)

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:


You can hear Malcolm reading this startling poem here:


What if every murmuration,
Every otiose oration
Every oath and imprecation,
Insidious insinuation,
Every blogger’s aberration,
Every facebook fabrication
Every twittered titivation,
Unexamined asservation
Idiotic iteration,
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:

About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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6 Responses to What if you were held accountable for every word you ever said?” Malcolm Guite on CBC’s Tapestry with Mary Hynes (Feature Friday)

  1. Firstly, I love your blog posts. Thank you for your frequent contributions to the enjoyment of readers like me. I had never heard of Malcolm Guite before and am so pleased to be introduced to his work. I don’t have a “lastly” addition, I just really enjoy your writing and your voice when discussing the magical realms of my favorite authors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. L.A. Smith says:

    Oh, fantastic! I love Malcolm Guite. I will definitely have a listen to these, thanks for pointing them out. I really enjoyed doing his “Word in the Wilderness” as a book discussion through Lent this year via the Rabbit Room. He’s helped me deepen my understanding of and appreciation for poetry.


  3. Pingback: Inklings of Imagination: My Conversation in Romania with Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson and Malcolm Guite at the C.S. Lewis and Kindred Spirits Society | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  4. Pingback: “Imaginative Hospitality” A C.S. Lewis & Kindred Spirits Society “Connected” Event Hosted by Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson with Diana Glyer, Michael Ward, and Fr. Andrew Cuneo (Mon, Nov 1st, 12noon EST on Zoom) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  5. Pingback: “Imaginative Hospitality” A C.S. Lewis & Kindred Spirits Society “Connected” Event Hosted by Kirstin Jeffrey Johnson with Diana Glyer, Michael Ward, and Fr. Andrew Cuneo (Full Video) | A Pilgrim in Narnia

  6. Pingback: “Can C.S. Lewis and L.M. Montgomery be Kindred Spirits?” My Talk for the 2021 C.S. Lewis & Kindred Spirits Society Conference (Nov 18-20) and How You Can Go to Romania With Me | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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