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Poems in Interreligious Dialogue: Searching for God in the Poetry of Ku Sang and Thomas Merton

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posted on 2021-12-08, 23:41 authored by Scaccia, Michael

Twentieth-century poets Ku Sang and Thomas Merton, two Catholic poets from Korea and America, respectively, were both aware of a space between themselves and God. Their poetry reveals attempts to go and find him. Because their searches for God entailed an interreligious nexus, insofar as their poetry blended Buddhist and Christian religious imagery, I utilise a comparative method, drawn from the field of Comparative Theology, which juxtaposes religious texts from differing faith traditions; I place Zen Buddhist kōans side-by-side with the Christian poems, each poem understood as representing a way to seek God. Moreover, I provide close readings of each poem and kōan, with critical commentary on the poems and interpretation of any new meaning revealed by the juxtaposition of texts. As a result of my examination, I propose that exploration of how these poets expressed their own understanding of God’s whereabouts, achieved by contact with poetic experience at the naked level of the poem, yields insight both into the two men’s unique contributions to broader knowledge of poets searching for God and how they were transformed for the sake of searching at all.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

English Literature

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies


Whiteford, Peter