Course: The Bahá’í Faith and the Arts (2017)
Faculty: Anne Perry, Peggy Caton
Although this course was a few years ago, it helped inspire the content of a book that I just had published called “Illuminations: 19 Poems and 1 Story.” This book features a collection of poems around themes of Bahá’í history, but also creativity, spirituality, and the muse as well.
The Wilmette Institute course helped me to establish a daily reading, writing, and reflecting process for my poetry composition. It also gave me the confidence to consult and work with other Bahá’í’s and friends who like to express themselves creatively.
During the course itself, we had many interesting supplementary readings, compilations on the arts, and journaling practices. Each person enrolled developed projects to practically apply what we were learning and thinking about. I remember someone even set one of my poems to music! I greatly enjoyed discussing creative projects with peers from around the world – including people from other religions and cultures – as well as reading stimulating articles and compilations on the Bahá’í Faith and the arts and the general role of the arts in society and history. I completed a small video project during the course, and later developed my notebook of fledgling poems into the now-published book.
I valued my collaborations with other creative Bahá’í’s and gained the confidence to develop an initiative with them. As my book project developed, I decided that I wanted it to not solely concentrate on Bahá’í history, but rather focus on the act of creativity itself, and how it can empower us to shake off the dust of everyday life and soar into the realm of the spirit.
Recently, I was invited to perform for the Queensland Poetry Festival online, for Panacea Poets, and to have one of the poems in the collection included in the “In Your Hands” anthology.