Some book recommendations

Published on 29 May 2017

by Jonathan Wooding

For those interested in the relationship between poetry and Christian spirituality here are some book recommendations from St Beuno’s Friend, Jonathan Wooding, who says he is particularly keen on Making Nothing Happen, The Splash of Words, and on Faith, Hope & Poetry and he has just received Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer and Rowan Williams’ new The Edge of Words: God and the Habits of Language.  What follows are some others he thought might appeal to the Friends.

Some anthologies:

Armstrong, Karen. Tongues of Fire: an Anthology of Religious and Poetic Experience. Viking, 1985.

Impastato, David (Ed). Upholding Mystery: an Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry. OUP, 1997.

Brennan, Fr. Oliver and Todd Swift (Eds). The Poet’s Quest for God: 21st Century Poems of Faith, Doubt and Wonder. Eyewear Publishing, 2016.

Close reading of poets:

Heaney, Seamus. The Redress of Poetry. Faber & Faber, 1995.

Oakley, Mark. The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry. Canterbury Press, 2016.

Ricks, Christopher. The Force of Poetry. OUP, 1984.

A theory of religious poetry:

Barker, Sebastian. A Theology of Poetry: the Wheels of Ezekiel. Edwin Mellen Press, 2010.


Prayers for writers:

Schmidt, Gary D. and Elizabeth Stickney (Eds). Acceptable Words: Prayers for the Writer. William B Eerdmans Publ., 2012.

Writing (religious) poetry:

D’Costa, Gavin, Nesbitt, Eleanor, Pryce, Mark, Shelton, Ruth & Slee, Nicola. Making Nothing Happen: Five Poets Explore Faith and Spirituality. Ashgate, 2014.

Fernie, Ewan (Ed). Redcrosse: Remaking Religious Poetry for Today’s World. Bloomsbury, 2013.

Guite, Malcolm. Faith, Hope and Poetry: Theology and the Poetic Imagination. Ashgate Publishing, 2012.

Slee, Nicola (Ed). The Edge of God: New Liturgical Texts and Contexts in Conversation. Epworth Press, 2008.

Maxwell, Glyn. On Poetry. Oberon Books, 2012.

Introduction to Geoffrey Hill’s work:

Wainwright, Jeffrey. Acceptable words: essays on the poetry of Geoffrey Hill. Manchester UP, 2005.

Some recent volumes with (religious) force:

Burnside, John. Gift Songs. Cape, 2007.

Padel, Ruth. Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth. Chatto & Windus, 2014.

Harsent, David. Fire Songs. Faber & Faber, 2014.

Jesus was/is a poet; two books I’ve come across:

Petitpierre, Dom Robert. Poems of Jesus. Faith Press, 1965.

Barnstone, Willis. The Poems of Jesus Christ. W W Norton, 2012.

My favourite books on what Jesus was all about:

Harvey, N P. The Morals of Jesus. DLT, 1991.

Shaw, Graham. God In Our Hands. SCM, 1987.