The Shaman's Call

William Everson was the first American poet to explore the living link between shamanism and poetry, between the shaman’s call, and the vocational archetype in the dreams of contemporary students. Our book built upon Everson’s contributions to the field of American poetry, as an emergent field and augmented his research into dreams of destiny, when I was his teaching assistant in “Birth of a Poet.” In the book, I drew upon my own personal experiences as a Jungian writer and psychotherapist to question Everson about the central purpose in our life: our calling to charismatic vocation. The poems I selected for discussion were evocative and known to students of American literature generally, but not widely familiar to practitioners of analytical psychology, or our general readership. Prior to these last interviews with one of America’s greatest living religious poets, the shamanic themes in American poetry had never been deeply mined for their richness and depth of meaning. Our collaborative work was to illuminate the meaning of shamanic poetry by letting the images and rhythms of the poetry breathe in our text to reveal their own natural beauty, and hopefully, lead readers into states of mind and emotion that can transform consciousness. It is important to remember that Everson achieved national renown as Brother Antoninus.
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