Category: Poetry

  • #7–Braided Creek–2021 Best Reads

    #7–Braided Creek–2021 Best Reads

    If you’ve followed this Best Reads exercise before you know that a 2021 Best Read doesn’t have to have been a book published in 2021, although more recent books do get more weight in the discernment process. So far we’ve had three great 2021 books, but this one from 2003 had to make the list. […]

  • #8–Saint Agnostica–2021 Best Reads

    #8–Saint Agnostica–2021 Best Reads

    “My poetry got a lot better,” Anya Krugovoy Silver told Macon Magazine in 2010. “Nothing focuses your mind and helps you see clearly what’s important quite like cancer. It made me want to explore, even more, the beauty and divinity of the ordinary world.” The breast cancer diagnosis came in 2004 when she was in […]

  • The Light Along Braided Creek

    The Light Along Braided Creek

    Short poems can seem light, slight…a thrown-off thought, a casual aside. But leave the world of nursery rhymes and limericks and there are wonders to behold in a few well-chosen lines. That was my experience reading the collection of poems in Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry. In the midst of a serious illness, U.S. […]

  • Touching Snakes in Stanley Kunitz’s Garden

    Touching Snakes in Stanley Kunitz’s Garden

    Stanley Kunitz was well into his nineties when Genine Lentine collaborated with him on a luminous book about poetry and gardening. The Wild Braid: A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden came out in 2005 and it includes interviews Lentine did with Kunitz, mostly about his long-tended garden in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It’s a […]

  • Joy Harjo Reclaims America

    Joy Harjo Reclaims America

    Joy Harjo wants to reclaim America. That’s what I imagine as I read through the wide variety of poems in her most recent book. An American Sunrise plays with form and time, pulling together strands to weave a picture of the land, particularly the land traced by the journey of Harjo’s ancestors, the Muscogee (Mvskoke), […]

  • Giving Hopkins a Chance to Name the World

    Giving Hopkins a Chance to Name the World

    When I read a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem to a group, I generally start by saying, “Don’t worry about getting it all on first hearing. Just let the words flow over you and see how you feel.” That’s how I started on him, though tremendously helped by a book in the Augsburg Fortress 40 Day […]

  • Returning to Dakota

    Returning to Dakota

    “As when I was a child, I want to remain in the open, becoming something other than human under the sky. (178)” –Kathleen Norris, Dakota Returning to Kathleen Norris’s Dakota: A Spiritual Geography almost three decades after it was written, I tried to decide what made it so powerful for me when I was a […]

  • Going West With Wiman

    Going West With Wiman

    A few more words for Christian Wiman. As if my words for Joy, (an edited collection of poems), and He Held Radical Light, (a memoir), and Survival is a Style, (a personal collection of poems), have not been enough to convince you that he’s a writer worth savoring. Seeking more I went back to his […]

  • Finding the Music of the World

    Finding the Music of the World

    “Take away the words to the song and hope will take up humming;” I’m not sure how the Rev. Paul Escamilla wrote those words on his manuscript before delivering them in a sermon some some weeks ago. There’s usually a little poetry in sermons, even if you’re not aiming for that old sermon structure of […]

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

    #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 […]