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Like a Prayer

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When Wallace Stevens said that ‘the poet is the priest of the invisible’, perhaps he meant that the poet’s job is to tend to the unknown, the intangible and even transcendental elements of human existence. Poetry, like prayer, acknowledges mystery. Both can contain expressions of reverence, gratitude, possibility and doubt.

So, in an increasingly secular world, can poetry do the work of prayer?


David Tacey, Kevin Brophy and Cate Kennedy believe it’s an idea worth exploring. All three contributed to Prayers for a Secular World: Australian poems for our time, an anthology that acknowledges the human impulse to pray despite a recession of religion. These are poems that aim to offer comfort and salvation in trying times – and perhaps inspire hope, wonder and epiphany at others.

What power does poetry have to nourish, inspire and soothe us in the 21st century … and what does ‘prayer’ mean exactly, anyway? Join us for a discussion of the spiritual potential of verse. Hosted by Leah Kaminsky.


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