Wednesday, December 17, 2003

If you'll pardon a poetry excursus:

I am currently reading (for class) The Poets' Jesus by Peggy Rosenthal. It's a quick sketch of the grand narrative of religious poetry… and a great refresher on Western Lit 101. Just in case of the off chance that you don't have the time to read the entire book... here's the severely simplified cliff notes (which I’m sure Peggy Rosenthal would not endorse):

A 30 second history of Religious Poetry:

Pagan Poetry: Behold the gods! (Homer)
Later Pagan Poetry: The gods may not be real... behold them anyway! (Virgil)
Early Christian Poetry: Behold Christ is God! We are not! (New Testament)
Medieval Christian Poetry: Christ is God! He fills the cosmos! (Dante)
Post-Reformation Protestant Poetry: Christ is God! Christ is in me! (George Herbert, John Donne)
Enlightenment/Romantic PoetryI: Is Christ God? (Goethe)
Enlightenment/Romantic Poetry II: Christ is definitely not God (Shelley)
Enlightenment/Romantic PoetryIII: I used to think that… but sorry, Christ is God. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth)
Romantic Poetry: Christ is God! But might we be too? Nahh...(William Blake)
Later Romantic Poetry: Christ may be God…but I am definitely God! (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
Later Romantic Poetry: I am God! (Walt Whitman)
Modern Poetry: Poetry is God! (Baudelaire)
Later Modern Poetry: I used to think that… but sorry, Christ is God. (T.S. Eliot, W.H. Auden)
Postmodern poetry: All of the above.

And speaking of Pomo poets... Ceszlaw Milosz has just supplanted Jane Kenyon for the hotly disputed favorite poet slot at millinerd. It was a dead heat for a while too... on the edge of your seats must you be.