In Ambition and Survival, Wiman, the editor of Poetry magazine, reflects on growing up in West Texas and becoming a poetic nomad. He also writes about particular poets and their poetic experiences. But the entire collection—written over a period of 11 years—is channeled through the experience of Wiman’s conversion to Christianity. After many years of wandering, the experiences of writer’s block, falling in love and being diagnosed with incurable cancer guided Wiman toward his conversion. Unlike the religion of his childhood, in which he was taught to renounce the world for God, Wiman now inhabits a God-infused landscape, where word, world and Word sometimes find a common resonance.


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