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Lilburn, Tim (1950–)

One of Saskatchewan’s most honoured poets, Lilburn was born on June 27, 1950. He was raised in Regina, and educated at Campion College, University of Regina, where he received a BA in English in 1973. Influenced by Catholic spirituality, Lilburn joined the Jesuit order in 1978, and in 1986 he published a book of religious poetry called Names of God. Lilburn, however, left the order in 1987, eventually resettling as an English and Philosophy professor at St. Peter’s College, Muenster, Saskatchewan. Moosewood Sandhills (1994) and To the River (1999) turned Lilburn’s poetry towards nature, while Kill-site (2003) included more social conflicts and won the Governor-General’s Award for Poetry. Lilburn has also published essays on the relationship of poetry to philosophy, most notably Living In The World As If It Were Home (1999) and Thinking and Singing: Poetry and the Practice of Philosophy (2002). Although Lilburn’s literary journey has been shaped by Christian spirituality, he currently describes his own religious practice as “undetermined” and, as his philosophical essays make clear, he identifies most closely with the via negativa, the way to God that rejects clear theological images or doctrines in favour of dark, unspeakable intimations of divinity.

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