The Wonder Paradox: Embracing the Weirdness of Existence and the Poetry of Our Lives

Farrar. Mar. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780374292744. $29. SPIRITUALITY
A nonreligious liturgy and an education in world poetry, historian/poet Hecht’s (Who Said) book is needed, and it delights and succeeds on multiple levels too. Hecht offers constructive hints and possibilities for post-religious directions. There is an openness and sociological savvy to her approach to investigate traditions and the positives of what religion has brought to the conversation, but she also critiques beliefs that are damaging, such as using religion to justify bigotry, superiority complexes, and hatred of others. The book’s primary focus is on the power of poetry to frame and support one’s lived experiences. Each chapter gives space for poems from around the world that range in topics from birth to death, and it’s accompanied by insightful interpretation.
VERDICT Warmth and enthusiasm suffuse Hecht’s enchanting prose, which make this book a moving, hopeful read.
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