Book details

Publication date: November 2017
Features: Glossary, bibliography, index
Keywords: Environmental Philosophy / Poetic Theory
Subject(s): PHILOSOPHY / Epistemology, Philosophy, Environment, Environmental Philosophy / Poetic Theory, Philosophy, Conservation of the environment, Environmental Philosophy / Poetic Theory, Humanities
Publisher(s): The University of Alberta Press

Tim Lilburn. With The Larger Conversation, Tim Lilburn completes a manifesto on poetics, eros, philosophy, and enviro-politics that began with the classic Living in the World As If It Were Home (Cormorant Books). A Governor General’s Award winner and the first Canadian to win the European Medal of Poetry and Art, he lives and teaches in Victoria, British Columbia.

"It takes a poet to see the extraordinary in the mundane.... This is reading for the joy of it." [Full review at]

Holly Doan, Blacklock's Reporter

"In a series of essays, lectures, confessions, and interviews, all based on years of reading and research, Lilburn shares not new but old, reclaimed ways of thinking—long-ignored riches from the Christian, Judaic and Islamic contemplative wisdom traditions.... In order to undo the Western extractive, colonial approach to land—one that uses, warehouses, and dominates—we have to return to our former strengths, what Lilburn calls 'cognitive rebar.' What justice asks of us is that we do the work to prepare for conversation." [Full article at]

Amy Reiswig, Focus Magazine

"This book is exactly what I think is required in the emerging scholarly and literary work on decolonization in Canada. This isn't a dry and heavy academic text marking up conceptual territory: territorializing knowledge with confusing title and jargon... This book is much more in the traditions of mystical contemplative philosophy."

Cary Campbell, SubTerrain

"This collection of essays is the third in a series of books in which Lilburn reflects on his own sense of rootlessness, often as a cultural phenomenon. The current book's emphasis on the colonial condition is new...[The] construal at the heart of the book is individual and specific: North Americans of European descent suffer from a colonial malaise consisting significantly of a malformed relation to place."

Carolyn Richardson, The Fiddlehead

"[Lilburn] feels that beneath 'the smoothness, the relative fine running of late capitalism,' there’s a disturbing hunger... And why? Because, argues Lilburn, through chapters on philosophical inquiry, spiritual struggle, deep ecological concern, and unsparing self-confession, we have not truly learned how to live on this land so relatively new to us, a land acquired in many ways through violence and dishonesty... What Lilburn attempts in this larger conversation is to find a way back, through earnest inquiry with philosophers, mystics, poets, and saints stretching back thousands of years, to the 'essence of nature'..." [Full review at]

Bill Robertson, Saskatoon StarPhoenix

"In 1999, writer and poet Tim Lilburn published the non-fiction work Living in the World as if It Were Home, a meditation on humanity's relationship with the natural environment that has become a classic and was the first book in a loose trilogy examining the connections between politics, environmentalism, philosophy, and modernity. Eighteen years later, the final part of the trilogy, a volume of contemplative essays, is available from UAP."

Quill & Quire

"The Larger Conversation is a beautiful, patient, and persistent philosophical work.... Lilburn suggests that in entering a relationship with place, with any specific place that we care about, we can be seen by place and thus be given our identity—indeed our Being—through a kind of grace. I love this argument and line of thought for its beauty and practicality. It offers a true way to move forward from the colonial past by first making changes to how we perceive reality—a reality that we constantly misunderstand—about how and why and who we are in place." [Full review at]

Susie DeCoste, Canadian Literature 236

Cover Design | Alberta Book Awards, Book Publishers Association of Alberta, Canada

1 The Ethical Significance of the Human Relationship to Place
2 The Start of Real Thinking
3 On Scholem, Ruusbroec and Exegesis
4 Imagination, Psychagogy and Ontology
5 Mostly on Prayer
6 Seeing into Things: Suhrawardi and Mandelstam

7 A Mandelstamian Generation in China
8 Poetry as Pneumatic Force
9 Fresh Coherence
10 Turning the Soul Around: The Ascetical Practice of Philosophy in the Republic
11 Negative Theological Meditations: Apophasis and Its Politics
12 Thinking the Rule of Benedict within Modernity
13 Thomas Merton’s Novitiate Talks on Cistercian Usages and Richard Kearney’s Theandrism

14 A Poetics of Decolonization
15 Contemplative Experience; Autochthonous Practice
16 Faith and Land
17 Nothingness

Epilogue: At the Foot of WMIEŦEN

Dramatis Personae
ISBNs: 9781772122992 978-1-77212-299-2 Title: the larger conversation