Hervormde Teologiese Studies
Print version ISSN 0259-9422
SPIES, Lina. Spirituality and poetry: to meet and to seek. Herv. teol. stud. [online]. 2012, vol.68, n.1, pp. 20-27. ISSN 0259-9422.
This article represents a commemoration lecture in honour of Professor Andries van Aarde. In the article, Lina Spies, emerita professor in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the University of Stellenbosch, an eminent Afrikaans poet, recounts her spiritual journey as seeker. Spies views her emerging religiosity as the result of her encounters in real life and in poetry. The poem as encounter serves as a dynamic occurrence in which one both searches and finds. The poetry of secular poets like Pablo Neruda receives a religious dimension when they give expression to the 'vastness of the universe' as Neruda does in his poem La poesíe (translated as Poetry). For the literary-theoretical foundation of her argument, Spies employs the insights of Camille Paglia, professor of Humanities and Media Studies at The University of Arts in Philadelphia, as especially found in the introduction to her book, Break, blow, burn. Spies' article focuses on the author's spirituality as witnessed in her poems and in her translation of the diary of the Holocaust victim, Anne Frank. This spirituality is eschewed from Christian orthodoxy, on the one hand, and simultaneously influenced by the novels of the American-Jewish writer Chaim Potok, which evoked her interest in the American Jewish society and also made her conscious of the Jewishness of Jesus. The author's spiritual journey of meeting and seeking reaches a peak in her poem Ontdaan (translated as Unsettled), on her reading of Andries van Aarde's book Fatherless in Galilee: Jesus as child of God.