Poet Malcolm Guite to arrive for residency at Baylor

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

Malcolm Guite — a poet, priest and scholar in theology and the arts from North Walsham, England — will arrive at Baylor on Feb. 25 for a weeklong residency, where he will present the endowed Charles G. Smith lecture.

Guite has written a multitude of books revolving around themes of theology and the arts, spanning from poetry to research. Guite is also in a Cambridge rock band called Mystery Train and regularly teaches at universities in England and North America.

Guite said during his time at Baylor, he will teach about the importance of poetry and its connection to theology.

“I’m going to show how poetry can sort of transfer your vision, make you see what seems to be a very unpromising situation in a new light, how it allows a kind of glimmering of something eternal to come into the temporal and rekindle hope,” Guite said.

On Feb. 26, Guite will give a formation lecture entitled “An Unexpected Music: The Poetry of Hope and Renewal” exclusively for the Honors College. On Feb. 27, Guite will preach a sermon open to the public at Truett Chapel, entitled “Jesus in the Wilderness.” On Feb. 28, Guite will give the annual Charles G. Smith lecture to the English department, which will involve a close reading of George Herbert’s sonnet prayer.

“In all the things I talk about and say, I’m going to be making the case that we have more than one capacity for finding out what’s true,” Guite said. “The one that’s privileged at the moment in our Western culture and in the scientific mode is the faculty of reason, the ability to do deductive reasoning and to do analytic and mathematical thinking of the kind that we do in the sciences.”

Matthew Aughtry, assistant director for Chapel and ministry in the arts, had been a longtime follower of Guite’s work when he pitched the idea to bring him for a weeklong residency.

“Malcolm is unparalleled at the moment in terms of helping us think through these questions around theology in the arts, particularly as someone who’s approachable,” Aughtry said. “He’s a scholar, an academic, but he’s not so deep into the theoretical that people struggle with what he’s saying.”

Aughtry said by bringing Guite to Baylor, he hopes it will help continue the convergence between theology and the arts at the university.

“My hope is that Baylor will continue to be a place that already is this place, but conversations around theology and art, Christianity in the arts, what I might call ministry in the arts would continue to grow and flourish,” Aughtry said. “I think bringing Malcolm here is a way to sort of name that and a way to learn from him in the way he does all of those things.”

Dr. Richard Rankin Russell, graduate program director in the English department, said Guite not only is an excellent example of making art for the glory of God but will also present an excellent opportunity for students at Baylor to learn.

“He’s a gifted literary critic, a major poet, a major theologian,” Russell said. “He’s also a musician, a real Renaissance man, a true polymath, and it’s a great opportunity for us.”

For any questions on Guite or to learn how to attend his events at Baylor, email Matthew_Aughtry@baylor.edu.