Keynote Speaker Robert Cording
Poet Robert K. Cording holds the Barrett Chair in Creative Writing at the College of the Holy Cross. The recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants in poetry, he has published five poetry collections: Life-list (1987), which won the Ohio State University Press/Journal award; What Binds Us to the World (1991); Heavy Grace (1996); Against Consolation (2002); and Common Life (2006). His latest collection, Walking with Ruskin, is due out in October 2010.
A beloved teacher, Cording writes that he “teaches students to live life’s questions.” Cording’s poems show him living completely in the world, seeing the intricacies of a hummingbird hovering, feeling a couple’s loss at their infant child’s death. In poems about Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s deep gratitude for all his blessings, even while in prison, about Martin Luther and the Devil, about Simone Weil arguing against consolation, Cording plumbs the depths of our spiritual leaps, doubts, and longings. Sometimes he is reflective, other times wry, as in these concluding lines from “Luther and the Devil” (Common Life):
And so perhaps we can come to understand again
Why, when Luther turns back to the Psalms
And his writing, he looks hard for the Devil
Harbored in his words, having learned too often
How that old Adversary shows up each time
The soul comes close to letting itself be found,
His soft mouth whispering one more illusory solace.
Read more of Robert's poems here.