Merton in Alaska
With Kathleen Witkowski
Saturday, April 27, 2019
“We Are All Poets Here” speaks to the spiritual confusion of our times about Thomas Merton’s 1968 Journey to Alaska and a shared story about spiritual seeking presented by writer and professor, Kathleen Witkowski Tarr. Ms. Tarr will describe in intimate details what Merton might have seen, felt, and experienced about wilderness Alaska and the people and dramatic landscapes he encountered a few short months before his tragic death.
Kathleen Witkowska Tarr is the author of We Are All Poets Here, a blend of memoir and biography involving the famous spiritual writer and thinker, the Trappist monk Thomas Merton.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, she has lived in Alaska since 1978—first in the rural Tlingit Indian community of Yakutat on the isolated North Pacific Coast; in Sitka, the former capital of Russian-America; in Soldotna on the Kenai Peninsula; and in Anchorage where she currently lives and writes. She is the mother of two grown sons, both born and reared in Alaska.
Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications—literary journals, magazines, newspapers, blogs and anthologies. In her writing Kathleen has explored Alaska life, European and Russian history, arts & culture, the natural world, food, travel, politics, and spirituality.
Kathleen is a contributor to the anthology, We Are Already One, 1915-2015, Thomas Merton’s Message of Hope (Fons Vitae Press, Louisville, 2015) in honor of Merton’s centenary. And her work will soon appear in the forthcoming Merton & The World’s Indigenous Wisdom.
In 2016, she was named a William Shannon Fellow of the International Thomas Merton Society. Kathleen was a Mullin Scholar at USC’s Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies from 2013-2015. She is also a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Kathleen has taught creative writing at the University of Alaska Anchorage and currently teaches community creative writing seminars for 49 Writers.
From 2007-2011, she served as the founding Program Coordinator of UAA’s Low-Residency Program in Creative Writing.
She earned an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at the University of Pittsburgh in 2005 where she was also awarded a full, three-year teaching fellowship.
In March 2017, Kathleen was appointed by Governor Bill Walker to a two-year public seat on the board of directors of the Alaska Humanities Forum.
Off the page, Kathleen takes to the outdoors as much as possible through hiking, birding and gardening. Her interests include photography, cinematic arts, all genres of music, and traveling off-the-beaten path. Since 1990, she has made over ten trips to Russia. She has traveled down the Volga River from St. Petersburg to Moscow. Besides time spent in Moscow, she has visited and/or worked in Chuvashia, Siberia and the Russian Far East cities of Vladivostok, Yuhzno-Sakhalinsk, Khabarovsk, and Magadan. In 2014, she lived in Krakow, Poland.
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. — Reception to follow
Location: Corpus Christi Church, 529 West 121st Street just off Broadway, NYC (directions)
Cost: Free for Members & Students; $20 for Non-Members
Note: Members will need to renew their annual membership for the new 2018/19 season before registering for this event. To do so, please visit our membership page and register to renew your desired membership level. Then return here to register for this event.
Members & Students:
Interested in becoming a member? Thomas Merton NYC members are able to attend events as part of their membership. Learn more about membership.