Magnificat: Poems

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9780807119228: Magnificat: Poems

Book by Waniek, Marilyn Nelson, Nelson, Marilyn

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From Publishers Weekly:

The subject of Waniek's (The Homeplace) fourth collection-discovering faith in God-may not be a fashionable theme. But her passion, sincerity and self-deprecating humor will engage even the most skeptical reader in the joys and frustrations of her quest for spiritual awakening. For instance, in the book's opening poems Waniek describes a 20-year longing for a friend who has become a Benedictine monk. As she contemplates his religious vocation, her feelings gradually evolve from profane love to religious devotion. In "Plain Songs," the thirst for a holy knowledge competes with the tug of worldly wants and weaknesses until the poet realizes that blessedness is found in ordinary things. The book's high point is a witty series of poems featuring an imaginary desert father called Abba Jacob, a holy "fool" whose pithy utterances have an engaging, hard-headed wisdom ("Big deal,/ said Abba Jacob./ Miracles happen all the time./ We're here,/ aren't we?"). Like him, Waniek's accounts of her struggles with her faith are disarmingly direct and unpretentious. She has succeeded in the tricky task of describing this intensely personal (and vulnerable) experience with intelligence, spirit and humility.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

The author of the memorable Homeplace (1991) again uses a narrative framework to contextualize individual poems. Here the narrative is girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds God. An old flame, discovered to have become a monk, relights passion in the poet, who then struggles profoundly with the tension between wishing to join with the man bodily and wishing to join with him in religious questing. Many of the poems are religious in form, written in quasiliturgical vocabulary, employing the rhythms of psalms and litanies, and phrased as prayers and confessions. All are religious in impulse and content, struggling with questions of desire, immanence, and embodiment. This is unsettling work, for the narrative never makes truly clear whether the embrace of God is only a substitute for that of man. But the struggle is compelling, the individual poems deeply satisfying. Pat Monaghan

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Marilyn Nelson Waniek, Marilyn Nelson
Published by Louisiana State University Press (1994)
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