Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry

So…I normally do not indulge in shameless self-promotion on Vox Nova, but I am going to take the liberty of doing so this time. However, my hope is that this announcement will be of general interest to our readership. I am delighted to report that I have a poem published in the inaugural issue of [Read More…]

Madeleine L’Engle and Robert Southwell: Two Poems for Christmas

The Risk of Birth This is no time for a child to be born, With the earth betrayed by war and hate And a comet slashing the sky to warn That time runs out and the sun burns late. That was no time for a child to be born, In a land in the crushing [Read More…]


Passing by St Patrick’s An old church downtown By glass and steel surrounded I reached out my hand and touched the stone and brick My companion from Italy Said “it is a beautiful church” And I said, “Yes, it is.” We agreed, not on the building But the Body. [Read more…]

Culture Break: “Old Ideas”

Poet, songwriter, Jewish prophet, Buddhist monk, and master of Christian literary imagery Leonard Cohen, 77,  is about to release a new album on January 31. I just gave the album, titled Old Ideas, a “first listen” at National Public Radio. It strikes me as another masterpiece, on par with Songs of Leonard Cohen (1967), Various Positions (1984), I’m [Read More…]

The Armaments Factory Worker – A Poem by Karol Wojtyla

I cannot influence the fate of the globe. Do I start wars?  How can I know whether I’m for or against? No, I don’t sin. I only turn screws, weld together parts of destruction, never grasping the whole, or the human lot.   I could do otherwise (would parts be left out?) contributing then to [Read More…]

For Hope, Saint of the Forgotten

Sitting with you in that room Among the haunted and wounded Tissue balled in your tender hand As you try to make sense of the senseless The murder of two grandchildren – Your only two – A year apart On the streets of the Forgotten And the grief – The crushing grief The skin of [Read More…]

A Thrush on a Branch

I love poetry the way some people love wine, and I’ve been reading or writing it continually since I was about 15. Some of my favorite poets include Eliot, Auden, Yeats, Galway Kinnell,  Langston Hughes, Denise Levertov, Jimmy Santiago Baca, and Anthony Hecht. But over the past few years I have developed a deep affection for the [Read More…]

Staining the Silence

For my second “guest post” here at Vox Nova, I had originally intended to write on one of several subjects that have claimed my interest lately, such as the application of Catholic Social Teaching to the rebuilding of local economies. I also considered offering a reflection on one of my favorite devotional books. I thought [Read More…]

Memories of Montana

Bourbon twilit skies and grass and range and elk Dust and cold and dewless hard frigid morning Long endless drive and thinking Woody Guthrie and The warm kind eyes of a stranger at the end of it. [Read more…]

Michael Symmons Roberts: Annunciation at the Hookses

With or without wings he is coming at incredible speed from everywhere to this baking terrace – to here – as she pours herself an ice-cold drink outside a house that rocks on cliffs. She wears shades, flakes in a deckchair. A red crescent dries above her lip. O Gabriel make her waking as gentle [Read More…]