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Saint Augustine (Lives Biographies)
Feb 04, 08
This is research for a poem I am writing.
After all, what's a greater crowd-pleaser than a Saint Augustine poem?
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Dec 01, 2009 11:32am
Did you ever write the poem? I also read this book as poem research--I'm working on a series about Augustine's concubine and his mother. I'd love to see your take on him!
Dec 04, 2009 04:49pm
Roxanne wrote: "Did you ever write the poem? I also read this book as poem research--I'm working on a series about Augustine's concubine and his mother. I'd love to see your take on him!"
Alas, that poem never made it off the ground (though I haven't entirely given up on it). I haven't even gotten around to reading this book yet, though I am just about to begin reading a different book about Augustine.
As I recall, what I had in mind for the poem had something to do with the intense eroticism that seems to have motivated Augustine. Desire seems to be central to his theology in a way that it is not for many other theologians; he turned against sexual desire (eventually) not out of dourness or prudishness, but because it did not satisfy his soul. He wanted more. (Or so it seems to me based on my rather scant, preliminary knowledge of these things.) I am fascinated by mysticism that derives from an excess of passion.
Good luck with your series! It sounds very promising.
Dec 05, 2009 01:38pm
You might try "St. Augustine on Marriage and Sexuality" edited by Elizabeth Clark. It has excerpts from a wide variety of his writings focusing on these topics in particular. I like Augustine because his theories about sex actually make sense to me--unlike some of his contemporaries, who said that sexual passion was always sinful. Augustine thought it was better to be chaste but that within the bonds of marriage, sex wasn't sinful.
I also like Augustine because he's such a ordinary guy, you know? So many saints are just crazy, but Augustine lived a normal life and had a pushy mother and loved a woman and had a son, and it took him a while to figure out what his calling was. I like that in his story. But I've always wondered about his concubine's perspective on things--she must have been a pretty interesting woman--we know Augustine to be dynamic and brilliant, and he loved her for years, so she had to be something, you know? So that's what I'm trying to get at. My Monica poems have turned out better, though, her voice is a little easier.
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