Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse
110 Poets on the Divine
This item is in stock and will be dispatched within 48 hours.
1 unit left in stock.
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of Pages: 400
Width: 13.8 cm
Height: 20.4 cm
'An amazing compilation: this book is more than a typical poetry anthology ... Offers a balm, a consolation, a tune, in our desolate world.' - Ilya Kaminsky 'An amazing collection of spiritual verse from many cultures and periods ... There cannot be any other anthology that ranges so widely, and anyone concerned with either poetry or spirituality will want to own a copy.' - John Barton An inspiring new selection of poems exploring faith and the divine, featuring poets from across the world, from antiquity to the present Poets have always looked to the skies for inspiration, and have written as a way of getting closer to the power and beauty they sense in nature, in each other and in the cosmos. This anthology is a holistic and global survey of a lyric conversation about the divine, one which has been ongoing for millennia. Beginning with the earliest attributable author in all of human literature, the twenty-third century BC Sumerian High Priestess Enheduanna, and taking in a constellation of voices - from King David to Lao Tzu, from the Epic of Gilgamesh to the Malian Epic of Sundiata - this selection presents a number of canonical voices like Blake, Dickinson and Tagore, alongside lesser-anthologized diverse voices going up to the present day, that showcase the breathtaking multiplicity of ways humanity has responded to the divine across place and time. These poets' voices commune between millenia, offering readers a chance to experience for themselves the vast and powerful interconnectedness of these incantations orbiting the most elemental of all subjects - our spirit.
If poetry is prayer, here are scriptures. Kaveh Akbar's brave, encompassing map of spiritual hunger shows us that longing belongs to all of us, whatever the languages we speak or the geographies we inhabit. -- Jeet Thayil An amazing collection of spiritual verse from many cultures and periods, from ancient Sumer in the third millennium BCE up to the present. There cannot be any other anthology that ranges so widely, and anyone concerned with either poetry or spirituality will want to own a copy -- John Barton * author of A History of the Bible: The Book and Its Faiths * Wonderfully rich, this beautiful anthology of verse uniquely displays how humans over centuries and across continents have wrestled with the concept of the divine and, in turn, humanity's relationship with that divinity. From exaltation to lament, from reflections on beauty to explorations of science, these words draw the reader's eyes towards the wonder of the numinous. A delightful celebration of human creativity, with new insights from a trusted guide: Kaveh Akbar. -- Chine McDonald * director of Theos and author of God Is Not a White Man: And Other Revelations * What an amazing compilation: beautifully edited, translated, introduced, this book is far more than a typical poetry anthology. What is it, then? It is our chance to overhear the splendid poet Kaveh Akbar whisper to himself words which he lives by, as he embarks on his own journey of spirit, loss, astonishment, bewilderment, and, perhaps, understanding. The chorus of voices gathered offer a balm, a consolation, a tune, in our desolate world. -- Ilya Kaminsky * author of Deaf Republic * How can language approach the spiritual - that which remains unlanguaged - and trace the limen between the self and what it falls silent before? In The Penguin Book of Spiritual Verse, Kaveh Akbar takes up this timeless inquiry with expansive curatorial shaping and heady joy, threading together Li Po and Adelia Prado, Hafez with Jabes, reverent with ludic, divine with corporeal, and everything that gets charged through, and between, them. Vibrating across this thick bundle of verse is the animation of the spirit enmeshed with the body, astounding in its ever-shifting forms, its irrepressible music. These poems "thin the partition between a person and a divine," and they do so sublimely: making porous the border between the self and all that beckons beyond understanding. -- Jenny Xie The choices Kaveh Akbar has made for this anthology of spiritual verse are spectacularly excellent. They are from regions of poetry at once accessible and exalted, representing the most intense of human experiences, the experiences of the divine, the yearning for the holy. Multiple cultures are represented: texts of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Arabic speaking world, the Farsi speaking world, poets of Hindi and Urdu, poets from everywhere in Asia, Africa, Europe, as well as England and the USA. Here is a page of Lucretius, there a page of Dante (splendidly translated by Mary Jo Bang), and over there, Nazim Hikmet. There are several astonishing women, including Enheduanna, Mirabai, Gabriela Mistral. The book holds an embarrassment of riches, yet is light on its feet. You can easily carry it with you in an outside pocket of your knapsack. You too will be smitten by the yearning that animates and drives these poems. Akbar's Introduction, and his notes on individual poems, are extra added value: the words of a poet. -- Alicia Ostriker * New York State Poet Laureate 2018-2021, author of the volcano and after:Selected and New Poems, 2002-2019 *