Word on Fire

100 Great Catholic Poems

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Poetry is the language of Catholicism. From the songs of Scripture to the hymns of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Church has always used metaphor and image, meter and rhyme, and the music of language to illuminate and inculcate the faith.

Yet, when it comes to Catholic poetry itself, the song too often remains unsung. Many devout believers recoil from poetry, even when it is deeply Catholic. Many poetry lovers overlook Catholic poetry, even when it is truly great. And passionate readers are left with few resources from which to draw inspiration--even as the number of great Catholic poems continues to grow.

This groundbreaking collection is designed to change that. Edited by acclaimed poet and author Sally Read, it includes a carefully curated collection of poetry with brief essays to introduce each selection; a detailed introduction and glossary of poetic terms; and a wide range of poetic voices--from giants like Dante and Shakespeare, to mystical saints like Hildegard of Bingen and John of the Cross, to modern masters like Gerard Manley Hopkins and Oscar Wilde, to contemporary female poets like Denise Levertov and Anne Porter. What emerges is truly universal: an unparalleled collection spanning twenty countries and twenty centuries.

Whether Catholic or non-Catholic, a poetry skeptic or a poetry lover, readers will glean from these pages a deepened appreciation of the history of poetry, the life of the Church, and the powerful ways in which each strengthens the other.

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