Why Christians Must Read Poetry — Part II

In scripture the Wonderful Poet expresses his love to us and his desire to be with us through images and metaphors; in Acts Peter calls Jesus the “author of all things”. Edward Hirsch explains that the word poet is derived from the Greek poiesis which means “making” and, “as the ancient Greeks recognized, the poet is first and foremost a maker.”

Poetry, in all its various forms, its depth and dance, is hard to grasp. It’s allusive and fluid. But the search draws us near, its affect is intimacy towards its maker. As Hirsch writes quoting Ted Cohen,

The maker and the appreciator of a metaphor are brought into a deeper relationship with one another. That’s because the speaker issues a concealed invitation through metaphor which the listener makes a special effort to accept and to interpret.

The Maker and the Made are drawn together through rhythm and cadence and words; through desire, through passion, through unending love. Hirsch understands “the relationship between the poet, the poem, and the reader not as a static entity but as a dynamic unfolding. An emerging sacramental event. A relation between an I and a You. A relational process.”

Reading scripture places us within this process with our Creator. As can poetry, literature, film, music, art. As Hirsch proclaims, “The stakes are high: we not only ‘find ourselves’ in poetry, we also lose ourselves to it.” Through poetry, through scripture, through stories, through language, through the Word, The Maker of all things re-creates us into something previously unimaginable. The Maker’s words become our words. And the Wonderful Poet authors the poetical renewal of you and me and the world.

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