Spiritual Voice in Rosemary Dobson's Poetry


  • Rosmane Lawson


'I looked for ways by which to understand My origins; for ground whereon to stand With poetry for a divining branch.' from 'A Letter to Lydia' 213 'Spiritual Voice in Rosemary Dobson's Poetry' is so complex and farreachinga theme that here I can only invite you to some bare bones, a glass of cold water;2 and show a few slides from my recent excursions into those 'other countries' of her Collected Poems, 1991.3 The bones are important ones in tracing the development of a spiritual ethos which informs the poetry. It is an issue so far not explored in critical commentary, although some of its essential elements are observed in the 1974 essays of A.D. Hope,4 and James McAuley,5 and in Sr. Veronica Brady's 1989 essay, 'Over the Frontier', in Poetry and Gender. This paper's interpretation of a spiritual ethos underlying the poetry seems in some ways radical, while yet imaginatively logical, so that it is offered tentatively and with some temerity.