When Poets Pray

Eerdmans. May 2019. 160p. ISBN 9780802876584. $19.99; ebk. ISBN 9781467456883. REL
McEntyre (What’s in a Phrase? Pausing Where Scripture Gives You Pause) invites readers to interact with 24 poems around the theme of prayer with the aim “to share gifts I have received from poets who pray, or who reflect on prayer, confident that they have other gifts to deliver to readers who seek in them the spiritual companionship one pilgrim can offer another along the way.” The poems vary by style, geography, and time period. The meditations succeed in leading to mindful responses. For instance, Scott Cairns’s “Possible Answers to Prayer” reminds us that many prayers “underestimate and underutilize the power of prayer to widen the heart and the scope of compassion by connecting one’s own immediate needs with those of the world.” Readers will be challenged to think beyond personal needs to a universe that needs assistance. McEntyre’s selections and commentary help bring us alongside a poet who expresses needs and thoughts clearer than one could imagine.
VERDICT Will appeal to religious readers who might be reticent to read poetry as well as those who enjoy it. Strongly recommended for all libraries.

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