The Transformative Power Of Art with Terry Tempest Williams

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The first time Terry Tempest Williams looked upon Hieronymus Bosch's painting The Garden of Earthly Delights it captivated her spirit and didn't let her go until she had walked a seven year pilgrimage through the multiple dimensions of the painting that remains as mysterious and provocative as it was five hundred years ago. The masterpiece spoke to Williams and she returns the favor eloquently by weaving together the spiritual, psychological, religious, ecological, and emotional intensity of a work of art that transformed her life. "Bosch's genius was saying there is a real world, a beautiful world, an ambiguous world, a world of discovery and curiosity that is the center panel, the middle path." Explore the myriad of meanings inside Bosch's masterwork where, "that incredible sense of wonder, born out of longing, creates its own alchemy of the imagination as well as the intellect." (hosted by Michael Toms)


Terry Tempest Williams is a naturalist, environmentalist, and award-winning author. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and her work is widely taught and anthologized around the world. In 2014, on the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, Ms. Williams received the Sierra Club’s John Muir Award honoring a distinguished record of leadership in American conservation. She currently is the writer in residence at Harvard Divinity School and divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Castle Valley, Utah.

Terry Tempest Williams is the author of many books including:

    To learn more about the work of Terry Tempest Williams go to

    Topics Explored in This Dialogue

    • The personal rewards of listening with wonder
    • The genius behind Hieronymus Bosch's "The Garden of Earthly Delights"
    • The only way to move out of the darkness into the light
    • How to find hope in the midst of despair
    • Parallels between the fifteenth century and the twenty-first century
    • Why Bosch's work was so futuristic
    • Can a painting be a prayer?
    • A surprising (and safe) act of civil disobedience
    • The essence of the Mormon religion and its challenges today
    • Tender and moving passages from Williams' poetry

    Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 6/29/2000      Program Number: 2821

    Music Included

    From Album: 8-String Religion
    Artist: David Darling
    1993 Hearts of Space #HS11037-2

    From Album: Unfinished CD for future release
    Artist: Catherine Vibert For information, email:
    Tracks: Memorial Day, Circus Gothic