Faith And Land Closes Spring Literary Festival
Participate In Second Annual School Of Writing
WINNIPEG, Man. — As Canada becomes
increasingly urbanized, people are losing touch
with the land—something that is to be regretted,
according to poet Tim Lilburn.
Lilburn speaks at School of Writing
“There is a form of belonging to the land
that is deeper than having a local address,”
said Lilburn during a May 23 address on the
topic of Place And Faith at the School of
Writing at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU).
“It’s an earth-longing, a feeling or sense
that you flow from the ground on which you
stand,” he said.
Since so few people depend on the land for
their livelihoods today, “we do not need to know
it any longer,” added Lilburn, who teaches
writing at the University of Victoria and is
author of the essay collections Living in the
World as If It Were Home and Going Home. He is
also the author of the Governor-General’s
award-winning poetry collection, Kill-Site.
People who want to experience this “earth
belonging” need to recover a sense of “terrain
literacy,” he stated, noting that doing so
requires a form of contemplative prayer that
involves the “optic power of the heart.”
Seeing the land in this way is an “interior
practice, a certain kind of looking . . .
drinking in day-by-day the lay of the land,” he
said, adding that it can lead to a
“resuscitation of the spirit in a Christianity
that is preoccupied with doctrinal
Lilburn’s presentation was part of the CMU
Spring Literary Festival, held in conjunction
with the second annual School of Writing. The
School, which was held May 19–23, saw forty-four
students taking courses in fiction, taught by
authors Rudy Wiebe and David Elias; poetry,
taught by poet Sarah Klassen; and life writing,
taught by Joanne Klassen and Eleanor Chornoboy.
In addition to Lilburn, other authors who
spoke and read at the Festival were Sandra
Birdsell, Victor Enns, John Weier, David Bergen,
Mary-Ann Kirkby and Margaret Sweatman.
The readings are made possible with the
support of the Manitoba Writers Guild and the
Canada Council of the Arts through The Writers’
Union of Canada.
Posted May 29, 2008
For more information contact CMU Communications Director, 500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, Manitoba R3P 2N2, telephone: 204-487-3300 ext. 630, fax: 204-889-1694, (www.cmu.ca)