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His Bright Abyss (with added link to compensate for weakness of blogpost)

May 14, 2013 by Reader's Connection

My Bright Abyss : Meditation of a Modern BelieverNote: This review was perhaps the least adequate of any I’ve written, so a link to the book’s first chapter has been added below.

I just finished reading Christian Wiman’s new book My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, and I’d like to share a quote, but I’m not sure which to pick. You’re likely to read whatever I print and think, “Ah, that’s the kind of book it is,” and you’d be wrong, at least in part. Wiman looks hard at religion, at faith, at poetry, at death, and his “meditation” pulls in different directions. Taking into account that the book is only 182 pages long, I can say that I was moved an unusual number of times.

For seven years, Wiman has been suffering from a rare form of cancer, though as he tells us at the end of his book, “there is every reason to think that I am at the beginning of a long remission.” In June, he will step down from his position as editor of the periodical Poetry, and in July he’ll begin to serve as a lecturer at Yale Divinity School.

I want to reread the book, but I need to turn my copy in.

If I ever sound like a preacher in these passages, it’s only because I have a hornet’s nest of voluble, conflicting parishioners inside of me.

There, now. There’s a quote. Wiman is a Christian, and Jesus is central to his life, but he writes, “I also feel quite certain that the old religious palliatives, at least those related to the Christian idea of heaven, are inadequate.” And he includes Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes among the writers who “are, for the briefest of instants, perceiving something of reality as it truly is.”

If you shy away from inspirational reading but are ready to be inspired, you might give My Bright Abyss a try.

* * *

This blogpost is so weak. Here’s a link to WBUR, Boston’s NPR channel.┬áIf you scroll down, there’s a copy of the book’s first chapter. You can magnify the font.

There’s also an interview with Christian Wiman, but I’m not going to listen, right now. I’m holding on (mentally speaking) to the book.


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