Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

EditorDavid Impastato

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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 ideathat 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 andspiritual 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--thissuperb 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 howeach 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 intosections 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 contemporarypoets, 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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From Our Editors

From Andrew Hudgins' often humorous narratives to Geoffrey Hill's darkly impassioned lyrics to Wendell Berry's lovely evocations of the divine presence in nature, this splendid anthology presents a generous selection of poetry that is admirable equally for the stature of its verse and for its illumination of the Christian ethos

From the Publisher

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 ideathat a vital Christian poetry might arise w...

From the Jacket

Most readers of contemporary verse 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 w...

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 h...

other books by David Impastato

Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 8.5 × 5.75 × 1.3 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195104005

ISBN - 13:9780195104004

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From Our Editors

From Andrew Hudgins' often humorous narratives to Geoffrey Hill's darkly impassioned lyrics to Wendell Berry's lovely evocations of the divine presence in nature, this splendid anthology presents a generous selection of poetry that is admirable equally for the stature of its verse and for its illumination of the Christian ethos

Editorial Reviews

"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 theirmusic."--Luis R. Gamez,New Oxford Review