Faith, Hope and Poetry explores the poetic imagination as a way of knowing; a way of seeing reality more clearly. Presenting a series of critical appreciations of English poetry from Anglo-Saxon times to the present day, Malcolm Guite applies the insights of poetry to contemporary issues and the contribution poetry can make to our religious knowing and the way we 'do theology'. This book is not solely concerned with overtly religious poetry, but attends to the paradoxical ways in which the poetry of doubt and despair also enriches theology. Developing an original analysis and application of the poetic vision of Coleridge, Larkin and Seamus Heaney in the final chapters, Guite builds towards a substantial theology of imagination and provides unique insights into truth that complement and enrich more strictly rational ways of knowing. Readers of this book will return to their reading of poetry equipped with new insights and enthusiasm and will be challenged to integrate imaginative ways of knowing into their other academic and intellectual pursuits.
Malcolm Guite is a poet, priest and academic living and working in Cambridge. His recent writings include 'What Do Christians Believe?' 2006, 'Poetry, Playfulness and Truth...' a chapter on the theology of A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest in Faithful Performances: Enacting Christian Tradition, ed. Trevor Hart and Stephen Guthrie Ashgate 2007 and six poems in Live Simply, 2008. His chapter on the poetry of CS Lewis appears in the Cambridge Companion to CS Lewis, 2010.
Contents: Introduction: poetry and transfiguration: reading for a new vision; Seeing through dreams: image and truth in The Dream of the Rood; Truth through feigning: story and play in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest; Understanding light: ways of knowing in the poems of Sir John Davies; A second glance: transfigured vision in the poems of John Donne and George Herbert; Holy light and human blindness: visions of the invisible in the poetry of Henry Vaughn and Milton; A secret ministry: journeying with Coleridge to the source of the imagination; Doubting faith, reticent hope:transfigured vision in Thomas Hardy, Philip Larkin and Geoffrey Hill; The replenishing fountain: hope and renewal in the poetry of Seamus Heaney; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.