Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry

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9780195104004: Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry
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Most readers of contemporary poetry would agree with literary critic Helen Vendler that "there is no significant poet whose work does not mirror, both formally and in its preoccupations, the absence of the transcendent"--that no major modern poet writes religious poetry. Indeed, the very idea that a vital Christian poetry might arise within our thoroughly secular culture seems almost inconceivable. Is it possible that a body of Christian poetry is now being produced whose literary merit is equal to its religious conviction? David Impastato's splendid anthology, Upholding Mystery, answers that question with a resounding and surprising "yes."
From Andrew Hudgins' often humorous narratives to Geoffery Hill's darkly impassioned lyrics, from Denise Levertov's incisive personal and political insights to Wendell Berry's lovely evocations of the divine presence in nature, Upholding Mystery offers readers a wide range of both poetic and spiritual satisfactions. Featuring only poets who are currently writing--including such well-known poets as Richard Wilbur, Annie Dillard, Daniel Berrigan, Les Murray, and Louise Erdrich, along with the impressive though less-known voices of David Craig, Scott Cairns, and David Brendan Hopes--this superb anthology provides generous selections of work that is admirable equally for the stature of its verse and for its illumination of the Christian ethos. By limiting the number of poets included, this collection allows readers to gain a thorough familiarity with each poet's work and to see how each struggles with, celebrates, and embodies a vision of the sacred throughout a personal body of verse. In addition, editor David Impastato provides brief, accessible, extremely helpful introductions that highlight the specifically Christian concerns of the poems, and he organizes the book into sections dealing with such topics as The Cross, Transformation, Injustice, Presence, Praise, The Mystical Body, and so on, thereby giving the reader a coherent theological journey as well as the pleasurable experience of the individual poems.
Here, then, is a contemporary encounter with Christian mystery, in poetry that is as vibrant, as compelling, and as meaningful as any being written today. David Impastato has done an invaluable service in showing that the transcendent is indeed alive and well in the hands of contemporary poets, despite reports to the contrary, and in gathering a dazzling array of poems that will appeal in equal measure to religious and literary readers alike.

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About the Author:


David Impastato has published on the subject of contemporary poetry, and his own poetry is soon to appear in The Sewanee Review. He worked for many years as a film director in Los Angeles, and is currently affiliated with the talking books program at the Library of Congress. He lives with his wife Nancy in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two sons and two grandchildren.

Review:

"At last Christianity finds its real voice. A wonderful choir!"--Rabbi Jacob Newsner, University of South Florida, Bard College

"These poems challenge the might of hopelessness that engulfs us on every side. A powerful and insightful collection!"--Reverend William R. Barr, Lexington Theological Seminary

"Most anthologies function as aesthetic manifestos. Each manifesto comes with assumptions about the nature of poetic experience and its uses. The anthology, Upholding Mystery, edited by David Impastato, is as revolutionary a document as Pound's Des Imagistes. The quality of the poems in
Upholding Mystery is much higher than in any of the modernist manifestos, however, and its uses are clearer: not only to delight but to instruct."--Jonathan Holden, author of The Fate of American Poetry

"Upholding Mystery is an astonishing book, which anyone with an interest in the relationship between poetry and the Christian faith will find indispensable."--Theology Today

"Like all the best anthologists, from Yvor Winters to Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes, Impastato has assembled a collection with a delightfully unpredictable personal flavor."--Christianity Today

"A wonderful anthology of Christian poetry, which is, moreover, unafraid to put its Christianity up front, making it the thread tying together the book as a whole."--Crisis

"Upholding Mystery...proves there are excellent writers who are working within a Christian context."--Christianity and the Arts

"This is a wonderful book. Give copies of it for Christmas, and get one for yourself. If you are a teacher, order it for a class, and tell your colleagues about it. Spread the word."--John Wilson, Books and Culture: A Christian Review

"Impastato is an insightful reader and a considerate guide....In the accomplished hands of these poets the sounds and textures of the world frequently form poetic doorways to Christ. Upholding Mystery is well worth owning and cherishing. Read and ponder its lines slowly, savoring their
music."--Luis R. Gamez,New Oxford Review

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1997. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. From Andrew Hudgins's often humorous narratives to Geoffery Hill's darkly impassioned lyrics, from Denise Levertov's incisive personal and political insights to Wendell Berry's lovely evocations of the divine presence in nature, Upholding Mystery offers readers a wide range of both poetic and spiritual satisfactions. Featuring only poets who are currently writing - including such well-known poets as Richard Wilbur, Annie Dillard, Daniel Berrigan, Les Murray, and Louise Erdrich, along with the impressive though less-known voices of David Craig, Scott Cairns, and David Brendan Hopes - this superb anthology provides generous selections of work that is admirable equally for the stature of its verse and for its illumination of the Christian ethos. In addition, editor David Impastato provides brief, accessible introductions that highlight the specifically Christian concerns of the poems, and he organizes the book into sections dealing with such topics as The Cross, Transformation, Injustice, Presence, Praise, The Mystical Body, and so on, thereby giving the reader a coherent theological journey as well as the pleasurable experience of the individual poems.Here, then, is a contemporary encounter with Christian mystery, in poetry that is as vibrant, as compelling, and as meaningful as any being written today. David Impastato has done an invaluable service in showing that the transcendent is indeed alive and well in the hands of contemporary poets, despite reports to the contrary, and in gathering a dazzling array of poems that will appeal in equal measure to religious and literary readers alike. Seller Inventory # APC9780195104004

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Book Description Oxford University Press, United Kingdom, 1997. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. From Andrew Hudgins's often humorous narratives to Geoffery Hill's darkly impassioned lyrics, from Denise Levertov's incisive personal and political insights to Wendell Berry's lovely evocations of the divine presence in nature, Upholding Mystery offers readers a wide range of both poetic and spiritual satisfactions. Featuring only poets who are currently writing - including such well-known poets as Richard Wilbur, Annie Dillard, Daniel Berrigan, Les Murray, and Louise Erdrich, along with the impressive though less-known voices of David Craig, Scott Cairns, and David Brendan Hopes - this superb anthology provides generous selections of work that is admirable equally for the stature of its verse and for its illumination of the Christian ethos. In addition, editor David Impastato provides brief, accessible introductions that highlight the specifically Christian concerns of the poems, and he organizes the book into sections dealing with such topics as The Cross, Transformation, Injustice, Presence, Praise, The Mystical Body, and so on, thereby giving the reader a coherent theological journey as well as the pleasurable experience of the individual poems.Here, then, is a contemporary encounter with Christian mystery, in poetry that is as vibrant, as compelling, and as meaningful as any being written today. David Impastato has done an invaluable service in showing that the transcendent is indeed alive and well in the hands of contemporary poets, despite reports to the contrary, and in gathering a dazzling array of poems that will appeal in equal measure to religious and literary readers alike. Seller Inventory # APC9780195104004

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