Alright friends. Here’s what’s up:
First, my family took a road trip to Arizona. It was our first such outing of—if the sitcoms are to be believed—what will be many. We were nervous and cautious because of the everything, but thought in the end it would be better to carry our germs in our own vehicle, breathing them only on our own families than to strew them about the neighborhood (we live in a pretty tightly packed and close knit section of Seattle) as we had been doing. I took some pictures, and since we’re all friends here, you can view them at this link, imagining that we’re swilling martinis together while I fiddle with the focus on the slide projector.
“Reading the ten elegies or sections of The Elegy Beta is an almost overwhelming experience. They are indeed “after Rilke” in the subject matter — engaging with faith, beauty, and suffering.”
and to call it “a serious reflection on life and its meaning.” I like that especially because I have always found them overwhelming in some sense too, but I can never pin that sense down, quite. I mean, they’re difficult for me to read in public (and for that reason I rarely do) because of this overwhelmingness, but again, of what is this poetic pressure comprised? What is this reviewer saying and I feeling?
The second is in a print magazine called Rain Taxi that just came out, but since many of you may not be subscribers, and because, as I mentioned before, we’re all friends here, I made a copy that I’ll append right here.
I like this one because the author has clearly read the first book, and because he seems to understand the project of the second, even if he has questions about my theological commitments that make me blush. Oh, and the review is written by Lee Rossi, whose own poetry is worldly and wise and worth seeking out.
Word on the street is that a third review will appear soon. 😬
Then, I’m teaching a new class at SPU on “Literature and Faith” that I’m super excited about. We’re reading CS Lewis and Simone Weil, James KA Smith and Augustine, hymns, and so many great poems. If you know any who will be SPU students this fall, tell them to join us.
For my friends at TGC, I wrote 6 Black Protest Poets Worth Reading. My favorite poet on the list has to be Phyllis Wheatley whose book of poems is thought to be the first publication by a person from Africa. Like, ever. Think of the wonder of it! The first publication outing from an entire continent, and it’s a book of poetry of all things! And such a good one!
That’s not a lot, I realize, but remember, I’ve been quarantined, and then on vacation, and in between, working on my Festus manuscript, which is due next month. Oh, I also served as a paid reviewer for an academic manuscript that some place was thinking of publishing. I told them it was rubbish, so I like to think I’ve just saved libraries some 💵 and readers some 🕰 . You’re welcome.
“The Lost Demos” by Tobymac
My kids love this record, a development with which I can’t say I’m displeased.
Okay my dear ones, that’s it for now.