Kathleen Raine was one of the greatest British poets of the last century. Raised in a deeply literary and spiritual household, she went on to study at Cambridge where she met Jacob Bronowski, William Empson, and Malcolm Lowry. A dedicated Neoplatonist, she studied and presented the works of Thomas Taylor, and wrote seminal books on William Blake, including the monumental Blake and Tradition, and several highly praised books about W. B. Yeats. She was a co-founder of The Temenos Academy of Integral Studies, and its journal, Temenos, dedicated to “the sacred springs of life, which are the imagination and the heart.”
For our new selection, That Wondrous Pattern: Essays on Poetry and Poets, Raine’s colleague and friend Brian Keeble offers sixteen pieces that range from “The Inner Journey of the Poet” and “What Is Man?” to essays on Blake, Wordsworth, Hopkins, Yeats, Eliot, and several others. The centerpiece, “What Is the Use of Poetry?,” is a rigorous defense of the great art. Keeble himself contributes a fascinating introduction to Raine’s work, and Wendell Berry, himself a colleague and friend of Kathleen Raine, offers a preface.
All who spend time in the presence of this wonderful writer will leave newly entranced with the art and use of the beautiful, and convinced that “it is only in moments when we transcend ourselves that we can know anything of value.”