About Kathleen Raine
Kathleen Raine (1908-2003) was the author of twelve books of poetry, four of autobiography, and much scholarly work, particularly on Blake and Yeats, which prove her transcendent understanding of the art of poetry, and the art of living. The latter led to her becoming one of the founders of the Temenos Review, of which she later became sole editor, and the Temenos Academy, both committed to what Raine referred to as "Learning of the Imagination". She was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1992 and, in 2000, was made both a CBE and a Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.
Her poetry is infused with the urge to approach the sacred through art, insisting - in 'Who are We?' - that we are "Presences of that omnipresence without end or beginning". The sacred is understood in a wide and inclusive sense, one in which there is room for Plato, Jesus, Buddha and Shiva, all alongside a visionary understanding of smaller things, such as the ephemeral 'Daisies of Florence' that open into an image of "her who walks through spring after spring in primavera robed". Yet these are woven into a human world that includes painter-friends, children and Raine's own mother, and natural details, such as 'The Leaf' that takes awareness away from aging human frailty for a moment through the speaker's rapt attention as it "turned and twirled / on invisible wind upheld".
Her technical skills incline toward echoes, assonance, and the cadence of her phrases - approaching a haiku-like purity in the fragments of 'Ah, many, many are the dead...' - yet there are also incantatory moments in this recording, such as in 'Into What Pattern...'. Her delivery has an oracular edge to it, giving a sense of the sublime that informs it, which is entirely apposite to a poetry, committed as it is to the transcendental outlook, that re-opens its readers, its listeners, to a sense of that sublime.
Her recording was made on 3 August 2000 at the poet's home in London and was produced by Richard Carrington.
Kathleen Raine's Favourite Poetry Sayings:
"One Power alone makes a Poet: Imagination, the Divine Vision." - William Blake
"I know now that revelation is from the self, but from that age-long memoried self, that shapes the elaborate shell of the mollusc and the child in the womb, that teaches the birds to make their nest; and that genius is a crisis that joins that buried self for certain moments to our trivial daily mind. " - W B Yeats from Autobiographies
Blake and Antiquity, Taylor & Francis 2002Buy
The Collected Poems of Kathleen Raine (ed. Brian Keeble...Buy
Living with mystery: poems 1987-91, Golgonooza Press...Buy
Selected poems, Golgonooza Press 1988
The presence: poems, 1984-87, Golgonooza Press 1987Buy
Collected poems, 1935-1980, Allen & Unwin 1981Buy
The oracle in the heart, and other poems, 1975-1978,...
The inner journey of the poet (prose), Golgonooza Press...
The Land Unknown, Hamilton / G. Braziller, 1975 - out of...
Kathleen Raine Reading from her Poems
4Amo Ergo Sum
5Who stands at my door...
8Your gift to me was a gray stone...
11The Island Cross
14Old Paintings on Italian Walls
16Daisies of Florence
17The Eternal Child
19A Painting by Winifred Nicholson
20By The River Eden
21The Poet Answers the Accuser
22Afternoon sunlight plays...
24Into what pattern...
25Behind the Lids of Sleep
26Returning from Church
27Ah, many, many are the dead...
28A small matter...
29World's Music Changes
31Who Are We?
32Memory of Sarnath
33Head of Parvati
35Your Gift Of Life was Idleness
38Long ago I thought you young...
40Millennial Hymn to Lord Shiva
The writer and broadcaster Clive James introduces a few of his favourite poems in the Poetry Archive.