Summary:

Today, I want to share the work of two authors and poets who I interviewed earlier this year (before the looming deadline of my master’s thesis). Hearing them talk about their work only makes me want to do more work of my own. Just a few short months ago, I had the privilege of speaking with the most delightful guides into the life of Thomas Merton, who not only introduced me to his work but did a remarkable job of illustrating his relevance. Poets and authors Susan McCaslin and J. S. Porter have collaborated on a book of creative non-fiction titled Susan McCaslin: Thomas Merton’s Dance with the Feminine.

It’s imaginative, reflective, instructive, and encouraging. It’s a book about Thomas Merton, about the influence of women, about Merton the man himself – written in new poetry and writings of poetry-like layers containing the most interesting biographical artifacts. Perhaps you know him, this Thomas Merton, or perhaps you don’t. But within just a few short paragraphs you want to – because he sounds all too familiar. Like you, maybe me. And maybe that’s the point of a good book.

But before we get started… I share a little something from Donovan Woods – we’ve had him as a guest on this show before – and if you like what you hear, you can hear more on Episode no. 44,


About Today’s Guests:

Susan McCaslin, Author and Poet
Susan McCaslin, Author, and Poet

Susan McCaslin is a Canadian poet who lives in Fort Langley, British Columbia and is the author of fifteen volumes of poetry and nine books. She has a Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia and has taught English and Creative Writing at Douglas College in B.C.

J.S. Porter, Author, and Poet

J.S. Porter, who I know as John, writes for me on the Nancy Duffy Show, under the blog titled Culture Critic – and he also wrote for my publication when it was in print, InRetro Magazine. John was born in Belfast in the north of Ireland and went to school at McMaster University earning a Master’s in English literature. John worked as a teacher of literature for 30 years at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, and has been a long-time contributor to the Hamilton Spectator and Hamilton Arts and Letters. He has written book reviews for The Globe and Mail, and The Literary Review of Canada and was a columnist for Dialogue Magazine.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Trappist monk, political commentator, writer, and poet.

So what about Thomas Merton? for those of you, who were perhaps like me, and not familiar with his work, Merton was a writer and Trappist monk who authored more than seventy books of poetry, personal journals, collections of letters, and writings on peace, social criticism, and justice. He was born in 1915 and died in 1968… His most renowned works include The Seven Storey Mountain and New Seeds of Contemplation.

So to talk about Merton’s life and works through their book, both Susan and John joined me earlier this year from their homes, in Fort Langley, British Columbia, and Hamilton, Ontario. Tune in to the show (link at the top of this page) to hear our conversation.