It’s almost a job requirement for poets: accept the fact of being far removed from mainstream artistic culture. We poets are happy—ecstatic, really—to cultivate a few hundred thoughtful readers, and we have developed a thick skin toward the widely repeated remark that more people today write poetry than read it.
In a time when people are profoundly confused about fundamental identity issues and desperately trying to construct life as best they can, it is critical that pastors recover the poetic dimension of their ministries. What the congregation needs is not a strategist to help them form another plan for achieving a desired image of life, but a poet who looks beneath the desperation to recover the mystery of what it means to be made in God’s image.
I love living in a big city: the energy, the pace, the sirens. I love being able to walk or ride a bus to work, or catch a train to the airport. I love crowded sidewalks, tourists craning their necks to see skyscrapers, businesspeople with briefcases and iPods weaving their way through the maze of shoppers and lookers and dawdlers conferring over city maps.
This collection, winner of the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, opens with “Theories of Time and Space,” a poem that alerts the reader to the territory under artistic surveillance. It begins with the lines: “You can get there from here, though / there’s no going home.
When William Stafford died in 1993, he was not the most famous or most critically acclaimed poet around, but he was certainly among the most beloved. To the many who knew him personally or through his work, he was not only an innovative poet, but one who managed to bring his life and his writing together into a seamless, striking witness to nonviolence and poetic freedom.