Sunday, March 9, 2003

Poet-Pope

An article with some excerpts

A polite, but less-than glowing review

There is no doubt that the Pope has every bit as much intellectual muscle as Donne, Herbert and Hopkins but in technical terms he can’t match their inventive poetic skills. That English triptych of poets all boasted formidable technical gifts, using metaphor to beguile and surprise, forcing the English language into new shapes and presenting religious truths in subtly arresting ways. The Pope’s verse is, by contrast, more derivative...

But, I ask you...is the Pope's poetry the fruit of prudential judgment and may we take any stance towards it we choose in accord with our own critical perspective? Or should we give over our Lenten reading to his poetry because he represents the Long View of versifying and because of that is surely worth our serious attention? Or should we simply join with the sede-poeticas and declare that the current poetry-writing Pope is not the real poetry-writing Pope, and that the authentic one is scribbling his iambic pentameter (in Latin of course) somewhere out west...in Mel Gibson's guest house, maybe?

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