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Faith Poetry as Songtravel: An Appreciation

Judy Little


This essay examines an emerging movement in faith poetry, a movement that is offering us poetry of high energy and expansive metaphoric capacity. Each of the five poets considered here gives us, within the poem itself, a faith narrative that engages in dialogue one or several of the narratives (grand narratives or small) that have dominated intellectual life since the Enlightenment: evolution, modern physics, social, and ecological concerns. Instead of focusing on the doctrine of a specific affiliation, these poems show us faith as a lively process, faith in vital conversation with modern culture. In effect, such poems are songs that are travelling, as they move into new linguistic (and ideological) territory. They are multifaceted, even multi-voiced, and their prosodic maneuvers include synaesthesia in rapid montage, a dialectic with contending concepts along with “dialogic” language (as Bakhtin describes it) which—in a poem—becomes a sort of collision of tongues. These are faith-full, complex poems that reward and invite rereading.

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