#2-Survival is a Style-Heartlands 2020 Best Reads

Like Jesmyn Ward at #3, Christian Wiman is a three-time visitor to the annual Best Reads list, having been here in 2018 for his exquisite memoir, He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, The Faith of Art, and in 2019 as editor of the collection, Joy: 100 Poems. In 2020 Wiman published a solo collection of poems titled Survival is a Style. It contains all the things I’ve come to love about his poetry–an ear for the music of words, an awareness of the holy suffusing unlikely places, and a weaving in of autobiography.

For a taste of the poetry you can read my full review here, but an excerpt is below:

Wiman has nothing to prove and mostly he only intimates at what he’s after. Yet you can’t help feel that he has performed some miraculous feat of revelation. You know, at the end and throughout, as he says in “God Lord the Light,”

There is an under, always, 

through which things still move, breathe,

and have their being, 

quick coals and crimsons 

no one need see 

to see.

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