Dr Frank England, Honorary Research Associate, Department of Religious Studies, University of Cape Town

Each lecture will be preceded by a reading of the relevant poem or poems by the stage and screen actor, André Roothman.

In a modern era of divine displacement and sacred absence, this series of lectures seeks to discover intimations of the numinous on a journey with five twentieth-century poets. From the search for a peace that passes all understanding in a post-war ‘waste land’, through the rigours of purgatorial pilgrimage to the modern cityscapes of squandered desires, loneliness, and spiritual failure, graced lives appear as rather distant afterthoughts and fractured memories. But if faint echoes of the transcendent may still be heard, then the question is posed as to where sacred presence could be found or reimagined in the unhallowed void and transience of secular human existence.


Lecture titles

1.  The search for God: The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot

2.  The pathway to God: ‘Station Island’ by Seamus Heaney

3.  The presence of God: New Year Letter by W.H. Auden

4.  The failure of God: In This City by Stephen Watson

5.  The rumour of God: The Echoes Return Slow by R.S. Thomas


Recommended reading

The poems or volumes of poems as listed above.





DATE: Monday 10–Friday 14 January
TIME: 5.00 pm–6.00 pm (poetry reading); 6.15 pm–7.15 pm (lecture)
COURSE FEES: R375 (online)/R550 (in person)