Encountering Silence
Paul Quenon, OCSO: Silence, Poetry and Monastic Wisdom (Part One)
September 9, 2020
Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO, Trappist monk, poet, and photographerm, returns to share his humble, joyful wisdom.
Brother Paul Quenon, OCSO, Trappist monk, poet, and photographer, is the author of books like In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk's Memoir and Unquiet Vigil: New and Selected Poems. He returned to Encountering Silence for a conversation recorded last April (to hear his previous conversations on this podcast, click here and here). This time, he offers a fascinating conversation drawing lines of connection between the monk's experience of cloistered solitude and the challenges that the public at large has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think there's something within everybody that really wants to have quiet time... There's something about the heart that thirsts for that kind of quiet and silence. — Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO Brother Paul entered monastic life in 1958, when he was only 17 years old — back before the reforms of the Second Vatical Council, when the life of a Trappist was even more austere than it is today. His novice master turned out to be Thomas Merton, who eventually became an inspiration to Brother Paul not only as a monk, but as a writer. Here's a video of Brother Paul reading one of his poems, from our conversation this year: https://vimeo.com/413749815 A habit can be a very supportive thing, a routine can be a deadening thing a ritual should always be a vital thing and should always be done mindfully. — Brother Paul Quenon, OCSO Some of the resources and authors mentioned in this episode: Paul Quenon, In Praise of the Useless Life: A Monk's Memoir Paul Quenon, Unquiet Vigil: New and Selected Poems Paul Quenon, Bells of the Hours Paul Quenon, Afternoons with Emily Paul Quenon, Monkswear Paul Quenon, Laughter: My Purgatory Paul Quenon, Terrors of Paradise Paul Quenon with Judith Valente and Michael Bever, The Art of Pausing Thomas Merton, Essential Writings Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude Greg Hillis, Bodhisattva Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems, edited by Thomas H. Johnson Marty Gervais, Nine Lives: A Reunion in Paris Wallace Stevens, The Collected Poems T.S. Eliot, The Complete Poems and Plays Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings In a monastery you're living in a poetic environment, and the countryside that we live in, I think it exposes the mind to open up to poetry. — Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO Episode 110: Silence, Poetry, and Monastic Wisdom: A Conversation with Brother Paul Quenon, OCSO (Part One) Hosted by: Cassidy Hall With: Carl McColman and Kevin Johnson Guest: Br. Paul Quenon, OCSO Date Recorded: April 30, 2020