Monday, April 8, 2024

J.C. Scharl

Jane Clark Scharl is a poet, essayist, and playwright, who lives with her husband and children in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak, Michigan. Her new poetry collection, Ponds (2024, Cascade Books) has just appeared as part of the Poiema Poetry Series.

Ponds is her first book which would be considered a collection of poems. She has also published a verse-play Sonnez Les Matines (2023, Wiseblood Books) which imagines three significant figures ― John Calvin, Ignatius of Loyola, and François Rabelais ― as students together in Paris in the 1520s. They discover a dead body, and as they investigate the murder, each must probe deep questions on his own.

J.C. Scharl and Brian Brown, in conjunction with the Anselm Society, have also recently edited the essay collection Why We Create (2023, Square Halo). This book is an examination by numerous thinkers of how we have been created to create.

I am honoured to have worked with Jane Scharl as the editor of Ponds. For those of you attending the Festival of Faith & Writing, in Grand Rapids, Michigan this April (and those who live nearby) I invite you to attend the Poiema Poetry Series reception on Thursday, April 11th at 7:30. Jane Clark Scharl will be one of our many readers.

In her Plough article “Poetry at Home” from last October, she points to the very first recorded words from Adam when God presented him with his wife, and points out that they are written as poetry (Genesis 2:23). Scharl says, “Poetry should be nourished beside the hearth, not in the lecture hall. When we invite poetry into our homes, we make our family life more abundant, but we also help poetry itself grow richer and more beautiful.” Perhaps the best argument to support her premise is the following poem, which is from Ponds.

To My Unborn Child

There is a story of how God,
before anything else existed, was everything.
And one day he looked out and saw
that everything was him, and he knew
that if he wanted to make some other thing,
first he’d have to vacate
some of what is, to make room, you see.
And so (the story goes) he breathed
in a mighty breath and with it
he pulled in a little of himself,
leaving just the smallest hollow
surrounded by the everything
that is him. Then, into
the hollow, he breathed, but kept himself
held back, just a little, and in
that empty space he made all Creation.

I wish I knew, dear little one,
if the story is true, and if
now he sits like this, hands cupped
around the hollow at his center
that is filling up with something
that is not entirely him;
if he too feels it shift and kick,
and what it is he wonders then.

Posted with permission of the poet.

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.