27 July 2006

Thin soup

Poet Scott Cairns on the perils of putting the words "Christian" and "poetry" in the same sentence:
My sense is that 20th Century American Christianity–its most vocal elements, anyway–has been a largely anti-intellectual endeavor, largely suspicious of art in general, and pretty much dumbed down in comparison to earlier epochs, making what usually passes for "Christian poetry" to be pretty thin soup. Moreover, the apophatic, parabolic, essentially poetic character of traditional theological discourse itself has been eclipsed in the most visible Christian communities by a reductive literalism, and by a disposition that has substituted arrogance for mysteries, substituted allegory for metaphor, substituted zeal for love, substituted earnestness for joy. As if that weren't trouble enough, I also sense that poetry in general has undergone a similar diminishment, wherein the poem has come to be understood as a document of experience, rather than a scene of revelation, retrospective rather than prospective.
(via The Page)

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