The most obvious feature of this book is the originality of the venture. Next to that we are impressed by the range of material that is covered - theological reflections on poetry, exploration of the autobiographical element in long poems by Dante, Milton, Cowper, and Wordsworth, and then unexpectedly a chapter on the author's own autobiographical poem. Autobiography provides a loose thread to bind the book into a unity, but more important is the effect that the book creates of treating us to an engaging fireside chat with a knowledgeable and creative person.
-Leland Ryken, Ph.D.,
Theology and poetry have much to say to one another, but seldom today are they allowed in the same room. In God the Poet, Niehaus brings the Bible into illuminating and evocative conversation with the likes of Plato, Milton, Pope, Coleridge, and Lewis. It's a rich book I will return to in my own studies and one I will heartily recommend to my students.
-Karen Swallow Prior, Ph.D.,
Niehaus combines theological insights with literary analysis, all seen from the perspective of a practicing and reflective poet and Christian all-in-one. The result is a stimulating re-thinking of some of the great epics of the western tradition from Dante, to Milton, Cowper, and Wordsworth. Niehaus's insights that re-illuminate these epics are brought to bear on living the Christian life as 'sub-creators' (to use Tolkien's term) under orders from God. Niehaus succeeds in encouraging readers simultaneously to re-read the great epics in the light of God's glory and to live to the glory of God.
-Michael E. Travers, Ph.D.,
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Niehaus has given us a real gem: part theology, part criticism, part autobiography, part investigating the creative process, and part simply on the art of reading poetry. God the Poet moves in some interesting new directions. The introductory chapter, 'God and Poetry,' where Niehaus examines Coleridge's understanding of poetic imagination in its relation to God, and C. S. Lewis's treatment of primary and secondary epics in his Preface to Paradise Lost, leads to chapters on the epic works of Dante, Milton, Cowper, and Wordsworth that make up the heart of the book. The final chapter treats his own autobiographical poem, Preludes, in light of the previous discussion. Niehaus has broken new ground here, so much so, that he made me want to go back and re-read his primary sources.
-G. Lloyd Carr, Ph.D.,