Philip C. Kolin is one of the growing tribe of very fine Christian poets whose work has often been sequestered in the limited venues of independent publishers. His newest collection is a beautifully printed, small hardcover volume that fits comfortably in the palm of the hand. But these are not small or comfortable poems.
The Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Poets and Poetry (5 volumes)
Jeffrey Gray, James McCorkle and Mary McAleer Balkun, eds.
This encyclopedia provides a surprisingly complete collection of entries on American poetry and poets from the early colonial to the contemporary era. Included are both major and lesser-known poets and several writers whose work has appeared in the Christian Century.
Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury since 2002, is the first Welshman in 1,000 years to hold the office. A theologian of some renown, he has stirred up controversy with his outspoken position in support of the ordination of gay clergy and various other liberal causes.
This book defies any effort to categorize it according to genre. To begin with, it is a series of meditations on one of the greatest pieces of Western music, J. S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion. To that end, John Reeves, a composer and radio producer, helpfully includes the English libretto prepared by Edward Elgar and Ivor Atkins.
Edwin Mims published The Christ of the Poets, an examination of images of Christ in English and American poetry, more than 50 years ago. The subject has not been touched by critics since that time, so Peggy Rosenthal's book, which attempts to fill in the gaps of a half century and also to reflect current multicultural interests, deserves special commendation.
The uneasy genre of biblical fiction often includes what Flannery O’Connor called the “shoddy religious novel,” filled with shallow characters and plot structures as clichéd and melodramatic as 1950s biblical films.
Several years have passed since I last encountered a book by Annie Dillard, but her images remain as strong in the memory as Proust's madeleine. Her gaze concentrates on the ordinary until it is transformed into the transcendent: a tree so intensely colored that it gives off light; a sky's invisible clouds revealed only in reflected images on the surface of a glassy lake; a bowl of pond water where one-celled creatures are visible to the naked eye.
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