READING TO TED HESBURGH: LYRIC ENACTMENTS
In 2008, Desmond spent Christmas evening reading to a blind man. That blind man was Theodore M. Hesburgh, perhaps America’s most famous Catholic priest, described by Joe Biden as “the most powerful unelected official this nation has ever seen”. Hesburgh has received 150 honorary degrees — the most ever awarded to a single individual — and been bestowed with both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian awards in the US.
Inspired by this brief encounter, what Desmond recounts as his “most meaningful Christmas”, this thread of poetic ruminations contemplates three classic stories about blindness: Helen Keller’s “Three Days To See”, C. S. Lewis’ “The Man Born Blind”, and Raymond Carver’s “Cathedral”. Also weaved into the suite of poems is the classic tale of The Blind Men and The Elephant that appears in distinct variations across Buddhist, Hindu, Jain and Sufi traditions, the parable introduced to the West by John Godfrey Saxe’s famous poem written in the 19th century. Scaffolding this collection of poems are ideas by the German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. This book is a commemorative tome, published to mark Hesburgh’s birth centennial in 2017. It was featured at the Catholic200SG Festival Luminary Art Exhibition.
Of this collection, Kwok Pui Lan has this to say: “A book for both poets and philosophers. Attractively designed, it captures Desmond Kon’s meditative conversation with philosophers, writers, and painters. Hegel will be smiling in heaven as he has found new dialogical partners in this book.”
Jointly Published by Glass Lyre Press and Squircle Line Press
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