Poet Christian Wiman and theologian Miroslav Volf, both colleagues and friends, discuss poetry's ability to give voice to the mixed feelings of life today, talking about the mash-up of home and exile, joy and sorrow, saint and sinner; and Wiman reads some of his favorite poetry from his upcoming anthology, Home: 100 Poems.
Poet Christian Wiman is Professor of the Practice of Religion and Literature at Yale Divinity School. He’s the author of several books of poetry, including Every Riven Thing, Hammer is the Prayer, and his most recent, Survival Is a Style. His memoirs include the bracing and beautiful My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, and He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art. He edited an anthology of 100 poems on Joy a few years ago, and is currently putting finishing touches on another 100 poems on Home.
Our guest last week, the novelist Marilynne Robinson, says of Wiman, "His poetry and scholarship have a purifying urgency that is rare in this world. This puts him at the very source of theology, and enables him to say new things in timeless language, so that the reader’s surprise and assent are one and the same.”
- On being nowhere,absence, place, and home
- Simone Weil: “We must take the feeling of being at home into exile, we must be rooted in the absence of a place."
- Christian Wiman’s home
- The resonance of objects and persons
- Completing a poetry anthology about home during a pandemic
- The ubiquity of home in poetry
- "The Niagara River” by Kay Ryan
- Individual life joining with collective life, the circularity and rhythm of lyric poetry; searching for a remembrance of home
- William Wordsworth: “Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come”
- “Innocence” by Patrick Kavanagh
- "To be a poet is to be in exile." What is it to be a believer?
- "Poets are not poets most of the time, the rest of the time they’re poor slobs like everybody else."
- Living in and attending to our exile: Abraham “living in tents, awaiting the city, whose architect and builder is God”; Jesus sleeping in the boat in the storm.
- Gillian Rose, Love’s Work and Nietzsche’s "tragic joy”; writing when she was dying of cancer and viewing faith as unmaking oneself.
- "The Bennett Springs Road” by Julia Randall: “The bird that sang I am."
- What is the right relationship of security to precarity?
- “In a Time of Peace” by Ilya Kaminsky
- How do we live lives of joy while there’s suffering all around us?
- “Shema” by Primo Levi
- Alexander Schmemann’s “bright sorrow"
- Marilynne Robinson’s model of creating characters with credible lives of faith‚ credible for the very fact that they are attentive to the suffering around them.
- W.H. Auden: “A good poem is the clear expression of mixed feelings."
- "Taking life by the throat"
- Both/And Life
- “Filling Station” by Elizabeth Bishop—“Somebody loves us all."