Slattery, Dennis Patrick 1944-
SLATTERY, Dennis Patrick 1944-
PERSONAL: Born 1944. Education: Attended Cuyahoga Community College, 1963-65, and Cleveland State University, 1965-67; Kent State University, B.A., 1968, M.A. (comparative literature), 1972; University of Dallas, M.A. (literature and phenomenology), M.A., 1976, Ph.D.
ADDRESSES: Home—7849 Langlo Ranch Rd., Goleta, CA 93117. Offıce—Pacifica Graduate Institute, 249 Lambert Rd., Carpinteria, CA 93013. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Palmyra Elementary School, Ravenna, OH, instructor in special education, 1968-70; Lorain Catholic High School, Lorain, OH, instructor in English and psychology, 1970-72; Mountain View College, Dallas, TX, instructor of English and composition, 1976-80; University of Dallas, Irving, TX, assistant professor of English, 1978-79; Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, instructor of freshman composition, 1980-81; Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, instructor of rhetoric, 1981-87; Incarnate Word College, director of summer study abroad program in Italy, 1989-95, chairman of department of English and chairman of curriculum committee, 1989-91; Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA, mythological studies and depth psychology program, visiting lecturer, 1993-95, member of core faculty, 1995—, interdisciplinary coordinator, master's in counseling psychology program, 1995-98. Instructor of English, University of Dallas in Rome, 1976-78; faculty member, Summer Institute in Literature, Dallas, 1984-86; graduate faculty member, Fairhope Institute of Humanities and Culture, Fairhope, AL, 1992, 1993; graduate faculty member, University of Mobile, 1995; visiting lecturer and seminar leader, Dallas Institute Summer Classics Programs for Teachers, 1999—. Initiator, Dennis P. and Sandra L. Slattery Writing Achievement Award, Villa Angela/St. Joseph High School, Cleveland, OH. Member of advisory board, Salt Journal, 1999—, and Spring: A Journal of Archetype and Culture, 2000—.
MEMBER: International Dostoevsky Society, International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations, North American Dostoevsky Society, Association of Russian-American Scholars in the U.S.A., National Council of Teachers of English, American Literature Association, Conference of College Teachers of English, Association of Cultural Mythologists, Academy of American Poets, South Central Modern Language Association.
AWARDS, HONORS: National Education grant to Kent State University, 1966-68; Andrew Mellon grant, 1982; National Endowment for the Humanities summer grant to Harvard University, 1991; Homer Institute summer grant program, University of Arizona, 1994.
The Idiot: Dostoevsky's Fantastic Prince, a Phenomenonological Approach, Peter Lang (New York, NY), 1984.
The Wounded Body: Remembering the Markings of Flesh, State University of New York Press (Albany, NY), 2000.
(Co-editor with Lionel Corbett) Depth Psychology: Meditations in the Field, Daimon-Verlag (Einsiedeln, Switzerland), 2001.
Casting the Shadows: Selected Poetry, Winchester Canyon Press, 2002.
Psychology at the Threshold, Pacifica Graduate Institute Press (Carpinteria, CA), 2002.
Grace in the Desert: Awakening to the Gifts of Monastic Life, Jossey-Bass (San Francisco, CA), 2004.
Just below the Water Line: Selected Poems, Winchester Canyon Press (Goleta, CA), 2004.
Contributor of numerous articles to professional journals, including Renascence, South Central Bulletin, Missouri Philological Journal, International Dostoevsky Society Bulletin, South Central Review, Dostoevsky Studies, Legal Studies Forum, New Orleans Review, Flannery O'Connor Bulletin, and Palo Alto Review. Also contributor to newspapers and magazines, including Zion's Herald, Newsweek, Dallas Morning News, San Antonio Express News, Santa Barbara News Press, Santa Barbara Independent, and Los Angeles Times.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Simon's Crossing, a novel co-written with Charles Asher.
SIDELIGHTS: Poet, psychologist, and critic Dennis Patrick Slattery has written on subjects ranging from classic nineteenth-century Russian literature to cultural events from a poetic and mythic perspective. In his position at Pacifica Graduate Institute, Slattery teaches courses not only in mythological studies, but also in depth psychology and clinical psychology, as well as courses in the master's-in-counseling program.
In The Wounded Body: Remembering the Markings of Flesh Slattery investigates the ways in which literary figures ranging from Captain Ahab in Moby Dick to Odysseus in the Odyssey experience psychological injury as bodily injury, or wounds. By doing so, the characters communicate their internal problems through concrete external symbols. "Typically," declared Armando R. Favazza in the American Journal of Psychiatry, "we believe that the mind-brain gives meaning to the body, but the relationship is reciprocal.
In fact, the body must endure the insults of twisted thoughts, chaotic emotions, and demonic spirituality when the mind-brain sputters and goes awry." In the process, said Favazza, "the body may invoke an entire cosmology; it is cosmic in its symbolic nature." Even the great Romantic thinker Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Favazza stated, expressed his mental illness using the language and imagery of wounds.
That form of analysis—mixing literary criticism, religious symbolism, and an understanding of the relationship between mind and body—typifies Slattery's approach to criticism. The themes recur in his Grace in the Desert: Awakening to the Gifts of Monastic Life. On one level, Grace in the Desert is an account of the author's personal spiritual journey through a dozen different religious institutions (most of them Catholic) over the course of three months. Slattery made the journey in order to come to terms with the recent death of his alcoholic father and his own troubled relations with his wife and children. The book also tells how the author confronts questions about his own identity, his role as a teacher, and his understanding of his faith. "Slattery describes the flavor of each retreat center," explained a Publishers Weekly reviewer, "but spends the bulk of each chapter recounting the spiritual musings prompted by each place he visited." In the process, according to Booklist contributor June Sawyers, he transformed a personal, spiritual journey into an understanding of how different spiritual traditions affect the growth of the mind. "Each was different," Sawyers said, "and each bestowed its own individual lessons and rewards." "And through the wounds of Christ," she concluded, "he found . . . a new way of seeing and understanding the suffering of others." "Many will be moved," declared Graham Christian in his review of the book for Library Journal, by Slattery's story of his own journey and the effects it had on his life.
Slattery told CA: "Years ago as an undergraduate I was very shy about speaking up in class. I was one of those students content to let the more extroverted folks carry the discussion. So when I wrote papers, I would pour out all the ideas I did not have the courage to address orally. Writing was my most conspicuous and rewarding form of communicating ideas.
"The most surprising thing I have learned about writing is that it is a form of meditation, of contemplation. When I do not know something, I begin to write about it; then mind, body, heart, soul connect in the physical act of writing. When I read books, I write out my notes and ideas long hand, then later transcribe to print via the computer. But handwriting slows all the processes down and let things steep like a good stew or soup; the aromas are marvelous.
"In terms of which book of mine is my favorite, you might as well ask a parent which is his favorite child. Each book I have written bubbled up at a particular time in my own development, so the book I just finished is always my favorite—until the next one comes along, seeking birth.
"I hope that what I write makes the readers aware that they are individual and unique, paradoxically, to the extent that they see their own sufferings, wounds, joys and satisfactions are indeed shared by all others. If what I write makes that tension felt, then the effort was worth the doing."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Journal of Psychiatry, September, 2000, Armando R. Favazza, review of The Wounded Body: Remembering the Markings of Flesh, p. 1536.
Booklist, April 15, 2004, June Sawyers, review of Grace in the Desert: Awakening to the Gifts of Monastic Life, p. 1407.
Library Journal, May 1, 2004, Graham Christian, review of Grace in the Desert, p. 118.
Publishers Weekly, March 8, 2004, review of Grace in the Desert, p. 71.
Dennis Patrick Slattery's Author Page,http://www.mythicartist.org/artists/profiles/dennisslattery.html (November 19, 2004).