He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art

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A moving meditation on memory, oblivion, and eternity by one of our most celebrated poets

What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? And how do we make that hunger productive and vital rather than corrosive and destructive? These are the questions that animate Christian Wiman as he explores the relationships between art and faith, death and fame, heaven and oblivion. Above all, He Held Radical Light is a love letter to poetry, filled with moving, surprising, and sometimes funny encounters with the poets Wiman has known. Seamus Heaney opens a suddenly intimate conversation about faith; Mary Oliver puts half of a dead pigeon in her pocket; A. R. Ammons stands up in front of an audience and refuses to read. He Held Radical Light is as urgent and intense as it is lively and entertaining―a sharp sequel to Wiman’s earlier memoir, My Bright Abyss.

3 comments on “He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art”

  1. A Precise, Meandering, and Beautiful Book Christian Wiman is one of my favorite writers. His prose––and poetry, albeit to a different degree––is both dense and smooth. He writes sentences that start, stop, redirect themselves for words, lines, or even pages at a time, and then somehow end up back where they started, but bring with them a newfound understanding that changes the way Wiman, and his reader, interprets his original thought.For a book that's barely over a 100 pages, "He Held Radical Light" is a slow and careful...

  2. Amazing Jewel of a Book Poets reach a certain, reflective age and can pull together anecdotes from their lives, often regarding the company of other poets. Wiman: author of several poetry collections, past editor of Poetry the journal, from W. Texas, Christian fundamentalist background, cancer survivor, finder of new faith, Yale Div prof. So he has stories, starting with A. R. Ammons. Would it be an insult to a poet to suggest that this book of prose, some poems from self and others, is his masterwork (at least to...

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