This book explores the much debated relation of language and bodily experience (i.e. the 'flesh'), considering in particular how poetry functions as revelatory discourse and thus relates to the formal horizon of theological inquiry. The central thematic focus is around a 'phenomenology of the flesh' as that which connects us with the world, being the site of perception and feeling, joy and suffering, and of life itself in all its vulnerability. The voices represented in this collection reflect interdisciplinary methods of interpretation and broadly ecumenical sensibilities, focusing attention on such matters as the revelatory nature of language in general and poetic language in particular, the function of poetry in society, the question of Incarnation and its relation to language and the poetic arts, the kenosis of the Word, and human embodiment in relation to the word 'enfleshed' in poetry.
'This is one of those rare collections that becomes a true symposium, a dialectic, with voices rooted in thought, scholarship, and the imagination employed at a high level. The intersection of flesh and word has long been at the core of theological and poetic discourse. But here — in fifteen deeply considered essays by some of our best critics and religious thinkers — we get a profoundly nuanced, inspiring sequence of interlocking pieces. Taken as a whole, Poetic Revelations delivers what it promises, taking us into what T.S. Eliot once called ‘the heart of light’. That light burns here, and readers will delight in the illuminations.' – Jay Parini, author of Why Poetry Matters as well as six collections of poetry, including most recently New and Collected Poems, 1975-2015.
‘Many poets and religious persons have held that there is another world that can be glimpsed by paying close attention to this one, and this belief is vividly explored by the contributors to this exciting volume. Here we hear of words "ripening in the silence," and see major philosophers such as Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Marion led into conversation about sacred poetry. George Herbert, R. M. Rilke, T. S. Eliot, David Jones, R. S. Thomas. . . all are illuminated by readers who take time to listen well to their words.’ – Kevin Hart, Professor of Christian Studies at the University of Virginia and author, most recently, of Clandestine Encounters: Philosophy in the Narratives of Maurice Blanchot and Counter-Experiences: Reading Jean-Luc Marion.
'… I know of no other book that combines a sensitive balance between theology, poetry, and literature with such consistently creative and critical writing as Poetic Revelations … This is an outstanding book and we can only look forward to more volumes from the Power of the Word conferences.' – David Jasper in Christianity & Literature
Introduction Part I: Word Made Word: Poetry and the Re-Making of the World 1. Poetry Human and Divine Michael Edwards 2. ‘The Word spoke in our words that we might speak in his’: Augustine, the Psalms, and the Poetry of the Incarnate Word Kevin Grove, CSC 3. The Word of God Woven into the Poetic Word: The Idea of Logos in the Poetry of George Herbert and Stanisław Herakliusz Lubomirski Krystyna Wierzbicka-Trwoga 4 ‘Eternity Shut in a Span’: The Word Being Born and Giving Birth in the Poetry of Richard Crashaw Sonia Jaworska 5. Elizabeth Jennings and the Mysticism of Words Anna Walczuk Part II: Flesh Made Word: Poetry as the Saying of the Self 6. Revelation and Inspiration among Theologians and Poets Richard Viladesau 7. Word Made Flesh Made Word. On the Poetic Force of Macbeth Marta Gibińska 8. ‘Like a Word Still Ripening in the Silences’: Rainer Maria Rilke and the Transformations of Poetry Mark S. Burrows 9. The Logos of the Guess Bradford Manderfield 10. Still-Born Words and Still Life Worlds in the Poetry of T.S. Eliot Małgorzata Grzegorzewska Part III: Word Made Flesh: The Poem as Body Enclosed in Language 11. Incarnations in the Ear: Poetry and Presence Angela Leighton 12. T. S. Eliot on Metaphysical Poetry and the Case of Prufrock Francesca Bugliani-Knox 13. ‘The poem’s muscle, blood and lymph’: David Constantine’s Poetic Bodies Monika Szuba 14. Divine Eloquence. R. S. Thomas and the Matter of Logos Joanna Soćko 15. Incarnation and the Feminine in David Jones’s In Parenthesis Jean Ward Epilogue: Poetry as Vehicle of Divine Presence David Brown