The Kosmic Vitality of Poetry and Music

Brooke McNamaraAesthetic, Art & Creativity, Creative, Musical, The Creative Furnace, Video Leave a Comment

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Brooke McNamara is a poet, professional dancer and ordained Zen monk (a student of Diane Musho Hamilton, Roshi). She offers online courses in poetry, meditation, and creative practice. Brooke has published two extraordinary volumes of poems: Bury the Seed and Feed Your Vow.

Steve starts by reading from Stuart Davis’s forward to Feed Your Vow – wonderful poetry in itself! – a prelude to a 20 minute ‘performance’ combining Brooke’s poetry with excerpts from Steve’s Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio (don’t miss the world premiere on 14th May in London and streamed live and on demand for 7 days,

The performance is in three sections – spirituality and shadow; spirituality and sexuality; beyond words, beyond music – reflecting the theme that Steve and Brooke then go on to discuss: Integral art as an expression of Integral spirituality, with its Integral embrace of every dimension of our humanity. Along the way they touch on:

  • the “Kosmic vitality” which, as Ken Wilber says about Brooke’s work “is what poetry at its best is meant to evoke, all the way up, all the way down”;
  • re-visioning our cultural attitudes to sexuality;
  • how seeing everything as sacred can ‘bless’ our wounds and the work of healing them;
  • and how the Integral artist, coming from an understanding and lived sense of wholeness – embracing shadow, sexuality and the messiness of daily life – offers up that possibility of wholeness to the person experiencing their art, and the encouragement to engage fully with life, wherever you are. As Zen master Dōgen said, “It’s too late to be ready.”

We hope you enjoy the conversation! Let us know what you think in the comments below.

Be sure to check out Stephen’s world premiere of Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio by Stephen Banks!

The world premiere of Steve’s profound, inspirational new choral work, ‘Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio’ will be at 7:30pm (BST) on May 14th, performed by the London Mozart Players and Excelsis & Vox Farnham Chamber Choirs conducted by Rob Lewis, at St Giles’ Cripplegate, London, and streamed live and on demand.

More information and tickets available at

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Brooke McNamara

About Brooke McNamara

Brooke McNamara is the author of “Feed Your Vow, Poems for Falling into Fullness.” She is also a performing artist, Zen monk and mama to two small boys. She lives in Boulder, Colorado with her husband, Rob.

Stephen Banks

About Stephen Banks

Steve is deeply immersed in Ken Wilber’s ‘Integral’ theory and has presented at the Integral European Conference. In 2013 Steve set out to compose a large-scale choral work giving expression to the Integral view of humanity and our place in the Kosmos. The result is ‘Blue Pearl: A One World Oratorio’, a ground-breaking, inspirational work which will have its world premiere on 14.5.22 in London and streamed online live and on demand. Ken Wilber has described the oratorio as a ‘A superb, exhilarating, magical piece of music.’ You can listen to a demo recording of Blue Pearl, and read more about it, at Steve’s website, As a violinist, drummer and singer, Steve has performed classical, folk, and world music with ensembles as diverse as the London Symphony Orchestra and the Carnival Band. He has been writing and arranging songs for 30 years. Alongside music, the other main stream of Steve’s life has been a rich and varied journey of psycho-spiritual healing and exploration. This included training as a Psychosynthesis counsellor, which he went on to apply in leadership development. He has been practicing meditation in the Buddhist tradition for many years.