“. . . We cannot experience creation fully and in fact we cannot respond as moral beings if we do not have the language that names creation and our experiences in it. To take this several steps further—the big questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Where is God and what does he have to do with me? are essential questions that without language, without the act of naming, we would not be able to think, much less even ask. As much as I hate to admit it, my dog does not have language, and as a result I am quite sure that my dog does not wonder about God. (In fact, my dog thinks that I am God.) As a Christian and as a poet I am constantly concerned with how language and our sense of identity as people of the Word coalesce, how they work together for our essential purpose to glorify God in all our endeavors. But I am also interested in how, in some contemporary poetry, language and identity never quite dissolve into each other, never get around to grabbing each other’s electrons to create a new compound, but instead remain in a kind of colloidal suspension.” (from Jill Peláez Baumgaertner,“Silver Catching Midday Sun: Poetry and the Beauty of God” in The Beauty of God: Theology and the Arts, ed. Daniel J. Treier, Mark Husbands and Roger Lundin (Intervarsity, 2007), p. 146.
“The Christian poet attempts one of the most challenging endeavors, revitalizing the language, the common language, which all of us have heard for years both in Scripture and in the church. This is language which is often filled with clichés, with formula phrases, with theological lingo. It is language which has become so familiar that it is invisible.. . . Language, especially familiar language, seems almost insufficient to capture the transcendent, to reflect truth in all of its complexity. But language is what the poet has to work with and so the poet is forced to take sometimes exaggerated, sometimes extreme steps to pierce the mundane, breaking up lines, using words in odd new contexts, relying on sound effects and packing the stanzas with sensuous images and fragments from scripture and the common language of our faith which suddenly takes on new meaning through these odd juxtapositions.” Jill Peláez Baumgaertner, Review of Sydney Lea and Paul Mariani in Christian Century, Feb. 20, 2006. Read More