Wonder: Word-Wonder Day 31

How does one conclude thirty-one days of blogging about words? I struggle with conclusions: the ends of papers, the ends of stories, the ends of semesters, of chapters in life. I don't like goodbyes, and at the same time I feel a sort of panicky necessity to do goodbyes well -- because there have been…

Only Words: Word-Wonder Day 30

And I've begun two or three posts in my head over the past few days. They've used words, of course, but they haven't been about words; they've been about the striped clouds, the scarlet vines in the trees, the way a dear friend laughed with me at the incomprehensibility of God's workings. This is part…

Worlds out of Words: Word-Wonder Day 29

Today is a re-post from just under a year ago, since I've been wondering over words much longer than this month, and since we build whole worlds, not simply sentences, stories, and songs, out of words. You can find the original post here. “People make worlds out of words.”* They do. I know it. I…

Unintended: Word-Wonder Day 28

I once participated in a poetry writing class. It was primarily workshop-style, with all of us students bringing poems for reading and critique each week. I remember that one of the first poems I took frustrated me greatly, because the class read it and interpreted it in a way I had not begun to imagine.…

Incarnation: Word-Wonder Day 27

As I've thought about what poetry is this week, I've realized that there are parallels to be drawn between poetry and the Incarnation. I've been thinking about them all week, but hesitating to draw them, lest you walk away from this post with some sentimentalized notion of Christ as God's poem to the world or…

Experienced: Word-Wonder Day 25

Along with the compressed-ness that belongs to poetry, there's also this: understanding poetry is an experiential rather than a cognitive process. Pastor and author Eugene Peterson explains that "We do not have more information after we read a poem, we have more experience" (Reversed Thunder, 1988). Certainly, we can, with some poems, distill a meaning…

To Be a Stone: Word-Wonder Day 24

Re-posting an old poem of mine today, in the interest of Wednesdays in which I run out of me before I run out of day. “I am happy to be a stone.”* One of a long tradition, honored and terrible. Stained with the blood of martyrs in Jerusalem, licked by the fire of God on…

Poetry: Word-Wonder Day 22

Outside the world of sentences, organized essays, blogposts, stories, and other kinds of prosings, there's another way of putting words together: in poetry and song. I've heard poetry defined as "compressed language." Having recently taught some epic poems -- Beowulf, Paradise Lost -- I cannot call that an all-inclusive definition, but it works much of…