Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Boreham and the Art of Capturing Attention

In considering the relationship between poetry and religion, contemporary Australian poet Les Murray stated:

“Nothing’s said till it’s dreamed out in words
and nothing’s true that figures in words only.”[1]

F W Boreham’s editorials offer a fertile soil for poets, preachers and writers who seek to dream out theology in words in such a way that the truth will figure in the imaginations and lives of those who hear and read.

While grabbing and maintaining attention is an art for every communicator, presenting theology to the uninitiated, especially to Australian audiences that have been characterized by their reticence, embarrassment and skepticism towards religion, increases the challenge.[2]

In his editorials, Boreham exhibited a strong consciousness of his readers. Frequently, he revealed the condition of being ‘spellbound’ by an author and he tried to reproduce this magic in his own writings.[3] He possessed not only an itch to write but also a yearning that his words be read and experienced.

Geoff Pound

Image: Boreham “revealed the condition of being ‘spellbound’ by an author and he tried to reproduce this magic in his own writings.”

[1] Les Murray, ‘Poetry and religion’, New selected poems (Sydney: Duffy and Snellgrove, 1999), 95.
[2] Descriptions of Australian attitudes towards religion are to be found in Russel Ward, The Australian legend (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958), 16-17. Veronica Brady, A crucible of prophets: Australians and the question of God (Sydney: Theological Explorations, 1981), 1; David Tacey, Re-enchantment: The new Australian spirituality (Sydney: HarperCollins, 2000), 5, 22.
[3] For example, F W Boreham, My pilgrimage (London: The Epworth Press, 1940), 7, 25; Mercury, 19 July, 1924.