Saturday, October 13, 2018

Is all art sacred art? In a prose meditation, one poet makes the case

By Casey N. Cep
Paul resuscitating Eutychus. Credit: DeAgostini/Getty Images
With all the stonings, smitings, beheadings and bear maulings in the Bible, it is easy to miss the rather staid death of Eutychus. Poor Eutychus comes and goes in only a few verses, but I thought of him while reading the poet Christian Wiman’s curious new book, “He Held Radical Light” — not because it’s in danger of putting anyone to sleep, but because, like Acts, it’s an episodic account of equally strange encounters, in this case, with apostles of verse. If it were only those close readings, “He Held Radical Light” would be a textbook; instead, the real joy is how beautifully it melds intellectual labor with humane fellowship, refusing to forget the flesh that made the words. Even the most transcendent art arrives via the transient vessels known as artists, and Wiman knows how to bring both to life on the page. [More]
HE HELD RADICAL LIGHT The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art By Christian Wiman 114 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. $23.