Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Tuesday Review: The Poetry of Piety

I recently picked up The Poetry of Piety: An Annotated Anthology of Christian Poetry at our church library. I wish I had know of it earlier. Back when I was teaching literature in Trinity University's REACH program, I would always have students who were exposed to poetry in a meaningful way for the first time. They would then ask, "What do I read now?"

A compilation of 28 poets ranging from John Donne, TS Eliot, and CS Lewis to Langston Hughes and John Updike, The Poetry of Piety contains a well-written analysis covering a brief biography of the poet, a poem, a section called "The Poetry" on the poetic devices and techniques for each poem, then a section called "The Piety" on the Christian themes of the poem, and then finally ends with "Questions for Reflection."

As an example, I enjoyed the chapter on Christina Rossetti. They write in analysis of her poem Easter Monday, "God's yes to life is louder than death's no, and we will one day 'wake without a sigh.' Yet, these things will not be made plain until the resurrection." Then, in the "Questions for Reflection" they ask you, among other things, to "Reflect on God's promises of resurrection (e.g., I Thess. 4:13-17) and ask God to make these the primary images of death/life for you" (p. 98-99).

For those who would like to read more poetry with Christian themes and would like a little help in understanding the poetry's techniques and themes, this is a great place to start.

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