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Divining Divinity

Divining Divinity
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Kaufmann Publishing, hardcover  4.373 X 7.375  inches, 48 pages.

Related Product:
Four Volume Poetry Gift Set - your choice of 4 hardcover volumes from the Kaufmann Publishing page on our site


"Joseph Pearce’s first volume of poetry, a small illustrated pocket book called Divining Divinity, published by Kaufmann Publishing, is a delicate work.... The poems in this volume are not only as sensitive and fine as anything by Emily Dickenson, they also have the brilliant structure and playful wordsmanship of Gerard Manley Hopkins, with an endearing quiet sense of the sublime—and all of them offered up in a humble attitude of praise. And yet what astonishes me is not all that, but the risk Pearce took in writing and publishing these. For poems with this much wordplay, disaster is always looming. 

For example, of a rabbit at dawn, Pearce writes:


Distinctive
but instinctive,
and oblivious
of oblivion.
Unconscious friar
in Franciscan fraternity;
the hare’s breath
is the hair’s breadth
from here to eternity.

It takes quite a bit of skill to write verse this complex and playful without sounding vulgar and precious.  For a reader could find himself averse to such a verse. And the poet could become the bad stand-up comic, stood up by an audience who derisively arise, not in ovation, but in condemnation, expressing their exuberance for an exodus.

And yet it’s really not Joseph’s skill that’s on display here. In the poem with the verses on the hare, we observe with the poet a sunrise—and the rising sun becomes the rising Son, Who truly brings us from hare to eternity, as the poet observes—

Corpus Christi!
Rising through the rose,
Sanguis Christi!
Skyward flows.
Heavenly Host
so new, so old,
as Holy Ghost
turns snow to gold.

Look at the compact theology and worship in this prayerful play-on-words.

The sun is recognized as a communion wafer—Corpus Christi, the body of Christ, rising through the rose-colored sky—which is to say, He rose through the rose (Christ indeed arose through the rose, which is also a symbol of Mary). Sanguis Christi is the blood of Christ, flowing skyward as the red dawn spreads across what was recently darkness. 

And what are the Body and Blood of Christ that the poet sees spreading before him at the break of day?  When seen as the rising sun, they are the Host in the Heavens, indeed the Heavenly Host—so new, so old, as Holy Ghost turns snow to gold: here the blood of Our Lord’s sacrifice warms the frozen world and becomes the gold of the Holy Spirit, an alchemy beyond our wildest dreams.

So these poems are not just technical tricks, wordplay about the playful Word of God. There is in each of these poems a deep sense of wonder and gratitude, and a solemn attitude of awe and praise....

— Excerpted from a review by KEVIN O'BRIEN on the publisher's site.  Click here to view the whole.


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