My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer
Award-winning poet Christian Wiman displays considerable craft in each well-honed sentence of My Bright Abyss, a poetic, sometimes visionary collection of linked essays examining his religious faith in the wake of a cancer diagnosis. While the collection's subtitle invokes "belief," this is not an easy, non-questioning faith or the stridency of a televangelist. These essays are surgical gems of gimlet-eyed clarity that never find easy palliatives but do find celestial affirmation at great cost and great pain.
When God does speak to Wiman, it appears in small, barely noticeable ways, as in the compassionate gestures of others and in his own considerable discipline with the written word. Wiman is brilliant at angling his way into the small places and murky crevices where poetry artfully composed becomes a form of prayer. He captures the heartbreaking everyday epiphanies that reflect the places where grace is most evident and luminously alive. And Wiman is wonderfully inclusive to fellow travelers who have felt no pull or need for God--in fact, he admits, these types are his own natural constituency, the ones he feels most comfortable with.
My Bright Abyss is a wonderful book, full of heart, grace, generosity of spirit and no small beauty. --Donald Powell, freelance writer