Catholic Culture Overview
Catholic Culture Overview

166—Poetry of St. John of the Cross w/ Carla Galdo

By Catholic Culture Podcast ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 05, 2023 | In The Catholic Culture Podcast

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St. John of the Cross is not only one of the Church’s greatest mystics, but also one of the most important figures in the Spanish poetic tradition. A new book of translations of St. John’s poems, brought into English by contemporary bilingual poet Rhina Espaillat, gives us a chance to discover or rediscover this singular spiritual and artistic master.

Carla Galdo joins the podcast to discuss Espaillat’s translations of St. John of the Cross. Comparing them with earlier translations by Roy Campbell (a friend of Tolkien and Lewis) provides opportunity to highlight various approaches and problems in translating poetry. Carla and Thomas also discuss common misconceptions about the dark night of the soul, and John’s use of the classic mystical symbolism of bride and bridegroom representing the relationship between the soul and God.


The Spring that Feeds the Torrent: Poems by St. John of the Cross, Translated by Rhina P. Espaillat

St. John of the Cross: Poems, trans. Roy Campbell

Musical setting of “El pastorcico”

Well-Read Mom

Theme music: “Franciscan Eyes”, written and performed by Thomas Mirus. Download the Catholic Culture Podcast soundtrack.

Thomas V. Mirus is Director of Podcasts for, hosts The Catholic Culture Podcast, and co-hosts Criteria: The Catholic Film Podcast. See full bio.

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