Monday, August 14, 2023

Christian Wiman*

Christian Wiman is Professor of the Practice of Religion and Literature at Yale Divinity School. He has published more than a dozen books ― as either author, editor, or translator ― including his most recent poetry collection Survival Is a Style (2020, FSG), and his Hammer is the Prayer: Selected Poems (2016, FSG).

His memoirs include: My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (2013, FSG) and He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art (2018, FSG). From 2003 until 2013 he was editor of Poetry magazine.

The following poem first appeared in The New Yorker back in July, and will be included in his forthcoming book Zero at the Bone, which will include both poetry and prose in conversation with each other. It will be available in December.

After the Ballet

I in my whistling instants
sauntering the drab concourses
or thoughtless under the plebeian stars
make of myself a kind of company
that to its origin owes
only obedience to the one
injunction against despair.
O my lost dappers and sleeks,
my paragons of gunge
and scuttled luck,
all my fellow credibles,
all my little filths,
come back. Come back
from the sallowing past,
from the herd immunity
to miracles, for I have seen
a room of depilated marble
moving, a choreography of souls
that would have restored
my own even without
the demoiselle who,
in a moment so tensely silent
it seemed the soul’s nerve,
swanned her arms, torqued
her immaculate back, and executed
an improvised, exquisite, and irrefutable

Posted with permission of the poet.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Chrstian Wiman: first post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the author of five poetry collections including Angelicus (2021, Cascade) ― a book of poems written from the point-of-view of angels. His books are available through Wipf & Stock.