Monday, September 5, 2016

Walter Wangerin Jr.

Walter Wangerin Jr. won the National Book Award for his first novel The Book of the Dun Cow (1978). He has since published more than thirty books, including the poetry collection A Miniature Cathedral and Other Poems (Harper & Row, 1987). His most-recent book is a memoir — Everlasting Is The Past (Rabbit Room Press).

The Book of the Dun Cow was inspired by a fable in Geoffery Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. It has been adapted into a musical, which was produced as an Off-Broadway show in 2006. Wangerin has written two sequels The Book of Sorrows (1985) and Peace At Last (2013).

He is a Senior Research Professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana, where he has taught since 1991. Prior to this he served for 16 years as a Lutheran pastor in Evansville, Indiana.

The following poem first appeared in Ruminate.

The Bent World Broods


Among the branches of the wild cherry
tent worms weave white stomachs
of fog and the hungry air

of visible digestion
consuming green life and the evening leaf

each worm unspindling
the filament which in the night
will draw it peristaltic back to its tent


Among the branches a white ganglion
writhes in
primitive thought

suspecting soon
a wrack of

and this
a dysphagic


Moths flying on an adipose of digested leaf
know nothing
of worms

nor worms

Posted with permission of the poet.

This is the first Kingdom Poets post about Walter Wangerin Jr.: second post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.