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

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

How’s your Lent going? Did you make it at least a few days (unlike me) before breaking your Lenten practice?

Zac DavisFebruary 23, 2018
The guest for February 21 is Serrin M. Foster
America This WeekFebruary 21, 2018

This week, to celebrate our one year (liturgical) anniversary we are talking with Liel Leibovitz and Stephanie Butnick. They are two-thirds of Unorthodox, a Jewish podcast from The Tablet.

Olga SeguraFebruary 16, 2018
Our Feb. 7th guest is Sonja Livingston.
America This WeekFebruary 14, 2018