A Yale poet on the interaction between faith and poetry

Pages from William Blake's journal. (U.S. public domain image.)
00:00

On this week's podcast poet Christian Wiman describes the power of poetry to hosts Matt Malone, S.J., and Kerry Weber. America's poetry editor Joe Hoover, S.J., joins to offer his perspective. In conversation with our editors, Wiman described how his ability to write poetry was affected by a period of illness. "It's dangerous if you're an artist and the medium through which you process the world is taken away from you. Everything becomes dammed up in you. I met the woman who is now my wife and got sick shortly after that it jolted me into speech. All of those poems [published in Hammer is the Prayer by Farrar, Straus & Giroux]  came directly out of that experience."

Advertisement

Faith is a major theme in Wiman's work, which is why he has found a good home as a professor at Yale's Institute of Sacred Music.  "I think the notion of faith as a crutch is fundamental misunderstanding," Wiman told our hosts. "Often my experience of faith is that it's not a crutch. It's quite the opposite, it's calling me to something that I can't quite live up to. I wish it could be more of a consolation, actually."

If you'd like to learn more about Wiman's poetry, feel free to see the poem he published in our February 6 issue here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

The latest from america

Our July 18 guest is Olga Segura, an associate editor at America.
America This WeekJuly 18, 2018
Our July 11 guest is Simcha Fisher.
America This WeekJuly 11, 2018
Our July 4 guest is author Eve Tushnet.
America This WeekJuly 04, 2018