Saturday, January 28, 2012
I managed to get an abstract in on time for the Poetry and Prayer conference at the University of London (June 29-30 2012). Here it is:
Paper Title: ‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?’ Poetry, Prayer and Performance in the Absence of God
Soren Kierkegaard, Either/Or
What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart, but whose lips are so formed that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music…
Peter Rollins, Insurrection
[T]he church should be like the singer-songwriter we might listen to when we are working through a difficult situation…
This paper reflects on the function of prayer and liturgy, poetry and performance art, in the thought of Peter Rollins and the practice of emerging Christianity.
For Rollins, the community of faith should create spaces that invite full participation in the material and existential realities of life. Rather then offering ways of escaping the human condition through the security of absolute presence, liturgy should enable those gathered to ritualistically confront the absence of God. After the death of God, prayer and poetry become vehicles to work through grief about the loss of surety and certainty, and to edge towards alternative understandings and performances of religious subjectivity. The notion of ‘transformance art’ captures this intersection of performance art and subjective transformation, in which collectives create fusions and juxtapositions of prose, poetry, songs, soundscapes, liturgy, ritual, prayer, meditation, art installations and theatre to explore horizons of performance against which transformation may occur.
I present a conceptual framework for thinking about poetry, prayer and performance, in relation to the work of John D. Caputo and Slavoj Zizek on the death of God, the community of believers, and transformed subjectivity.