From Category: Poetry of Religion
Intense, sometimes cryptic verse explores the title's dual meanings of a witness statement and the removal of Christ from the cross. Ford's poetry occupies the territory between crucifixion and resurrection, a "dark night of the soul" that ruthlessly clears the ground for faith without making any cheery promises. Another must-read for poets working on spiritual themes.
By Pádraig Ó Tuama. Rage, survival, and the tentative beginning of self-love infuse this poetry chapbook about theological and sexual abuse in the Irish Catholic Church. The author was forced into "conversion therapy" for his homosexuality by a priest who molested him. Broken Sleep Books, the publisher of this collection, is a Welsh literary press with an interest in social justice and working-class themes.
Sensual, joyous and profound poems make Christian ideas and images fresh again. Required reading for all poets seeking a modern idiom for the language of faith.
By Charlie Bondhus. Finding one's identity is just the beginning of the struggle, in this updated and expanded version of an award-winning gay poet's debut collection. With lyricism and an empathetic imagination, Bondhus claims a place for himself within multiple traditions, daring to juxtapose a comic tryst with a resurrected Walt Whitman, a disciple's erotic memories of Jesus, and the lament of a post-Edenic Adam. New work in this edition includes the poem suite "Diane Rehm Hosts Jesus Christ on NPR", narrated by a very human messiah who "would speak about what God shares with humanity...I mean loneliness".
By Lisa Dordal. A Christian girl wondering where her emerging lesbian-feminist consciousness fits into her faith. A woman grappling with the legacy of her alcoholic, possibly closeted mother. In her debut collection from Black Lawrence Press, Dordal makes these "confessional" themes fresh and strange again by centering her poems on a tangential detail which, after careful rereading, telescopes out into a larger narrative. The technique is reminiscent of those close-up photo puzzles in science magazines, where you must guess the whole animal from an abstract shimmer of scales or feathers.
Orison Books publishes spiritually-engaged poetry, fiction, and nonfiction of exceptional literary merit. Editors say, "In our view, spiritual writing has little to do with subject matter. Rather, the kind of work we seek to publish has a transcendent aesthetic effect on the reader, and reading it can itself be a spiritual experience. We seek to be broad, inclusive, and open to perspectives spanning the spectrums of spiritual and religious thought, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation." Anthology proposals and fiction and nonfiction manuscripts are accepted year-round. There is an open reading period for poetry manuscripts in the spring and a contest in the winter with a large cash prize and prestigious judges. See website for online submission guidelines.
By Norbert Hirschhorn. These wise, good-humored poems explore Jewish legends and mysticism, the blessings and pains of approaching one's ninth decade, and the author's experiences as both physician and patient.
The spirit of St. Francis of Assisi presides over these plain-spoken poems, written from the perspective of a mental hospital orderly. Blair's kind and understated voice is a refreshing contrast to the melodramatic tone of much poetry about mental illness.
The profane becomes sacred under this poet's unflinching attention, in earthy poems about illness, sex, and prayer (and sometimes all three tangled up in bed together). The heart of this chapbook is a series of unforgettable narratives about homeless and mentally disabled clients of The Dining Room, a soup kitchen in Oregon where the author volunteered. This book was selected by Terry Wolverton for the Main Street Rag Author's Choice Chapbook Series.