About the Book
For generations, poets have turned to the Bible for insight and inspiration. What did so many creative minds find in scripture? Is the Bible still a vital source of poetic inspirations?
Chapters Into Verse is the first comprehensive collection ever made of poems written in English inspired by the Bible. A groundbreaking anthology, it introduces readers to a distinct heritage of English poetry: the scriptural tradition. Though frequently ignored and sometimes suppressed, this tradition rivals the classical and is every bit as venerable.
Drawing a unique map of the history of English poetry, the two volumes of Chapters Into Verse survey and define the literary legacy of the Scriptures from the fourteenth century to the present. Each volume is arranged in scriptural order, and each poem is preceded by the biblical passage that inspired it. Thus readers can conveniently witness the various ways sacred text has sparked the imagination of poets throughout the ages.
Volume II follows the Gospels (harmonized) through Revelation. The collection features verses both famous and unfamiliar, from John Donne's meditative masterpieces to D.H. Lawrence's quirky expostulations. The editors have included poems by virtually all the prominent religious poets--among them, John Milton, George Herbert, Henry Vaughan, Edward Taylor, Christopher Smart, and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Included, too, are devotional and visionary works from a wide range of vintage poets--Edmund Spenser, Alexander Pope, Robert Burns, William Blake, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, Alfred Tennyson, and Robert Browning.
Proving that the Bible is just as powerful a source of inspiration today as it was in the past, the collection assembles a mixed congregation of modern and contemporary poets, such as Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Delmore Schwartz, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, Countee Cullen, William Butler Yeats, John Berryman, Robert Graves, Sylvia Plath, Allen Ginsberg, Lee Murray, Amy Clampitt, and Richard Wilbur.
Of enduring interest to readers of both scripture and literature, this anthology illuminates key passages of the New Testament. The measured speech and inspired leaps of poetry offer a spirited alternative to the textual exegesis usually supplied by prose commentary. As such, Chapters Into Verse is truly a poets' Bible. In selection after selection, readers will encounter an astonishing variety of religious experiences, as a host of poets from many eras and many backgrounds respond to Holy Scripture spiritually, profoundly, and imaginatively.
About the Author:
Robert Atwan is the founder and series editor of the annual Best American Essays. The editor of numerous anthologies, he has written on the ancient literature of the Near East and his critical essays and poetry reviews have appeared in many national periodicals. Laurance Wieder is the author of several volumes of poetry, including The Coronet of Tours; No Harm Done; The Last Century: Selected Poems; and One Hundred Fifty Psalms, a complete psalter. He has taught Bible and Ancient Authors at Cornell University.