Sunday (April 22) is the birthday of poet Louise Gluck.
In honor of the occasion, we offer these videos of her reading her poems…
In remembrance of the poet, we offer three recordings of her reading poems…
We reviewed this excellent new collection of poems in our fall magazine issue…
Listen to the poet reading “Ocean of Storms,” the first section of poems from this new collection:
“Images from children’s books — a great green room and a red balloon, the white witch’s Turkish Delight, a lean and wicked cat in a red top hat — act as madeleines (or portkeys, or time turners, or rabbit holes, or wardrobes) calling up sleepiness, childhood rooms, grilled cheeses, long parental legs coming in and out of rooms, and that particular, pleasant ache of nostalgia. [Bruce Handy] … puts extraordinary care into replicating and preserving those feelings.” – NPR
(In alphabetical order by author’s last name)
I couldn’t write a straight review of your book. I know you too well and I couldn’t really be objective (not that that is an ideal). Instead I want to offer a kind of open letter, a way to reflect with you about the book and invite others into the conversation.
There are two things that guided my understanding of Reading for the Common Good. The first is that, like you, I cannot conceive of my faith apart from reading. As a child my faith was formed by fiction—Narnia, A Wrinkle in Time, and so many others. Later, it broadened to include philosophy and theology, the classics of the spiritual masters, and profound fiction such as The Brother Karamazov. My reading now is steady and varied, this year I’ve enjoyed books about microbiology and woodworking, Christian ethics in a time of climate change and a novel about a community in the midst of a fracking boom. All of it has something to say to my life as a Christian because such a life is lived through the God who is the creator and sustainer of all things. This is something you get and communicate so clearly in Reading for the Common Good. You share this deep love and dependence on books and you make that alive to the reader.
Reviewed by James Dekker
Saving the Bible from Ourselves is one of those rare books that I wish were longer. A longer book might require delving into issues still more sensitive than Glenn Paauw already takes up. Exploring controversial themes might risk challenging unofficial, but strongly accepted Bible reading practices among Paauw’s intended audience. That is, “how to read” could veer onto significant, but bumpy paths of “how to interpret.”
For example, Saving the Bible’s greatest strength is Paauw’s repeated emphasis that readers must respect and learn to read the Bible’s various literary genres as originally intended. Thus he frequently emphasizes that Bible readers—laypersons, teachers, pastors—read the Bible’s histories, stories, poems, letters, gospels and apocalyptic visions first to understand their messages to original readers. Only after rigorous analysis and wrestling with the texts’ earlier times and cultures is it fair to discern the meaning and application for today.
I have been on the road for the last couple of weeks with my Slow Church co-author John Pattison, talking with churches throughout the southeastern U.S. about that book and my new book, Reading for the Common Good. It’s been good to get the new book into people’s hands and to begin conversations about it.
Reading for the Common Good: How Books Help Our Churches and Neighborhoods Flourish
C. Christopher Smith
I am deeply grateful for these great reviews of the book that have been posted within the last couple of weeks. Here are some clips (with links to the full reviews)…
“Working for the flourishing of churches, neighborhoods, and the world cannot be done without the empowering work of the Holy Spirit, and I think it’s a reasonable proposal to argue that reading is an important means by which the Spirit works. Reading for the Common Good makes a very interesting case for the communal importance of reading and conversation, and it paints a portrait of what local church life can be like that is well worth pursuing. I recommend it.”
[ Read the full review ]