Making Nothing Happen is a conversation between five poet-theologians who are broadly within the Christian tradition - Nicola Slee, Ruth Shelton, Mark Pryce, Eleanor Nesbitt and Gavin D'Costa. Together they form The Diviners - a group which has been meeting together for a number of years for poetry, and theological and literary reflection. Each poet offers an illuminating reflection on how they understand the relation between poetry and faith, rooting their reflections in their own writing, and illustrating discussion with a selection of their own poems. The poets open up issues for deeper exploration and reflection, including: the nature of creativity and the distinction between divine and human creation; the creative process as exploration, epiphany and revelation; the forging of identity through writing; ways in which the arts reflect, challenge and dialogue with faith, and faith can inform and challenge the arts; power and voice in poetry and faith; and ways in which race, gender and culture interact with and shape poetic and theological discourse. This book will be of interest to poets and theologians, to all who read poetry and are interested in the connections between literature and faith, to those seeking inspiration for preaching, liturgy and pastoral care, and to those committed to the practice and nurturing of a contemplative attitude to life in which profound attention and respect are offered to words and to the creative Word at work.
’All the authors in this collection agree that being committed to a religious form of words and practices is not simply the conscious occupation of the mind praying� (Eliot’s phrase) but a set of habits that allows, and eventually demands, space in us. The authors write, poetry and prose alike, to demonstrate that these habits bring something to life, make space for others. So this is a book about a coming to life and a coming to stillness, together and inseparable; a serious and joyful gift, for which this reader is deeply grateful.’ From the Foreword by Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge University, UK ’This thoughtful, generative interaction of poets is a welcome entry into the current struggle for and with faith among us. It is clear that the long-standing prose attempts of memo and proposition produce certitude and absolutism, but not much in the way of energy or courage or wisdom. These poets are knowing in thick ways, elusive enough to invite us to move with them, and critical in ways to hint at fresh connections. In all, a welcome resource.’ Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary, USA ’Is religious poetry a brand of minor poetry� as T.S. Eliot feared? Or can it, through forging new metaphors and enlivening old ones, provide a new music for this age of fragile faith and doubt? These are vital questions for Christianity, a faith founded on the poetry of the Bible, and this book by five leading poet-theologians is a timely and challenging contribution to the debate.’ Michael Symmons Roberts, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK ’Each chapter in this book tells the story of the poets’ creativity and their poetic journey, as well as their life’s journey. We discover not just each poet’s journey and story, but the wider picture of the creative process, of the relation between poetry and faith, of the connections between all kinds of literature as well as a deep exploration of the connections between faith a
Contents: Foreword, Rowan Williams; Introduction; (W)riting like a woman: in search of a feminist theological poetics, Nicola Slee; Steady until sundown: searching for the holy, Ruth Shelton; Taking form: on becoming a Christian poet, Mark Pryce; Where poems come from: spirituality, emotion and poiesis, Eleanor Nesbitt; The miracle of poetry: divine and human creativity, Gavin D’Costa; Index.