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Number of Pages: 88
Vendor: Liturgical Press
Publication Date: 2009
|Dimensions: 9.00 X 6 (inches)|
Out of a lifetime of familiarity with the great biblical narratives, Kilian McDonnell draws a portrait of the biblical God charged with vitality, at once prodigal in mercy and ruthless, thunderous, and painfully silent. It is dangerous to love this God, who exacts of the God-mad Abraham" a faithfulness beyond sanity: "If God makes a covenant in blood with you, why are you surprised to see your flesh upon the altar?" Despite our longing, such apparent capriciousness can be reconciled only in the mysterium tremendum invisible to human eyes; for Father Kilian, such is "fire's absolute autonomy that scolds me / for putting dirty sandals on glowing cinders, / but invites me to approach barefoot." Equally compelling is the character of Jesus Christ as a true son of God hungry for human contact, who likes hanging out with a fallible humankind and often happens to drop by at mealtime. The children of God who people these poems have God's own murderous prodigality in their genes. They are jealous, weak, and proud. They compete, lie, steal, cheat, betray, repent, and despair; and God loves them. Conscious of their dignity as children of God, they are quick to take exception. Father Kilian says of the poems themselves, "I am contending with God." In God Drops and Loses Things, his third collection, the poems are by turns edgy, affectionate, gentle, deeply moving, and always compassionate.
Kilian McDonnell, OSB, is a monk/theologian of Saint John's Abbey. He is author of Swift, Lord, You Are Not and Yahweh's Other Shoe (Saint John's University Press)."
If what Simone Weil says is true, that unmixed attention is a form of prayer, then God Drops and Loses Things constitutes a poets breviary. Kilian McDonnells pure attention to the astonishing events and telling details of familiar biblical stories enables him to re-imagine them in ways that surprise and delight the reader even as they instruct. In language that is both classic and colloquial, the voices of antiquity speak to us from these pages and include the likes of Adam and Abraham, Moses and Mary Magdelyn, Jezebel and Jesus, all of whom seem as near to us as the next room. Fr. Kilian, a lifelong Benedictine monk and a learned theologian, brings intellect and imagination to bear on this rich material and offers us glimpses of the wild wisdom of Gods ways even as it eludes the speakers of his poems and the actors in the events of salvation history. The poems remind us that ours is a world in which splendor barges in when we humans least expect it, in which God drops her hairbrush in the desert on a regular basis and leaves it to the poet to hear it . . . and write it in a book. In poems that are as brave as they are beautifully made, and as troubling as they are true, Fr. Kilian does just that, much to the readers pleasure, over and over again. - Angela ODonnell, Fordham University, Poet and author of MINE
It is a blessing to have another collection of poems by Kilian McDonnell, his third in just a handful of years, and to find in it so many which speak with such clarity to anyone struggling to live an authentic spiritual life. Struggle and imaginative risk-taking are everywhere in these pages, both in the often gloriously subversive, scriptural understories characteristic of this poet, where we are taken inside the lives of anguished personae such as Hagar or Judas or IsaacAnd I must ask what kind / of deity is this who asks this horror, / whose will lies in the absurd / and in the abyss beyond?but also, and indelibly, in the vividly personal writing to be found in the third section of the book, At Dusk, where poem after poem resonates with unprecedented depth of feeling and frankness of disclosure. With pieces such as Hiding, The Wolf Will Wait, Do You Love Me? In Search of Trust, Cosmic Lazarus, Places I Have Rested and At Dusk, to name a few, Kilian McDonnell, in laying bare his soul, has laid up some treasure for his readers, whose numbers will surely continue to grow on the appearance of this brave, revealing collection. - Michael Dennis Browne, Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor of English, University of Minnesota