Wiman and Words

At “Good Letters,” words are what we work with.

Of course, this is true of all blogs, all writing. Yet consciousness of the craft of writing is key to our posts. No matter what our declared subject, our undeclared subject—our subtext—is always what are my words doing here? What can words do—anywhere?

Words Made Flesh: it’s on our “Good Letters” logo.

That short phrase reverberates with many meanings. The Christian connotation, yes: the Incarnation. But that’s a singular Word. Singular, unique. Whereas we spin out many words. To make them flesh, we try to immerse them in our personal experience. Or we immerse ourselves in our experience and seek for words there. [Read more...]

Varieties of Quiet: Christian Wiman’s Pensées

So profound are Christian Wiman’s pensées in the current issue of Image  that I feel impertinent even engaging them. But they are so deeply engaging that I can’t refrain.

Pensées is my term to describe these reflections, not Wiman’s. He calls the essay “Varieties of Quiet.” When I first read the title, I thought it would be about meditation.

But no, it’s about what language can’t say, especially the language of faith—and even the language of poetry. I say “even” because Wiman is a poet, and editor of Poetry magazine.

Wiman comes down hard on the language of Christianity—because it doesn’t speak to his soul’s experience. He writes that church, with its language of communal worship, “is the last place in the world where [people] are going to find God.” [Read more...]