Jill Peláez Baumgaertner

Jill Peláez Baumgaertner


Taking Root in the Heart: Poems from the Christian Century

Paraclete Press, 2023

The 34 poets whose work appears defy the narcissistic tendencies of so much contemporary poetry. They do not necessarily express a particular orthodoxy, but they do connect with something larger than the self. Theirs is poetry that attempts to revitalize language, especially theological language. It is poetry that attempts to upset the usual modes of expression and offers up new angles of vision, especially in regard to biblical stories. For most of the poets—though not all by any means—Jesus is the Word made flesh, and the Incarnation is the paradigm as poets attempt to enflesh the abstract, make the spirit tangible, and put into words the unsayable. Poets have a way of taking on what utterly cannot be done. And those are the poems that should appear in a journal of religious news and reflection.

From Shade to Shine: New Poems

Paraclete Press, 2022

This collection of poems begins in the growing darkness of November, stretches through Advent and the seasons leading to Easter and to Pentecost, and ends in the budding light of the Scottish Orkney Islands, where the canonical hours measure time over centuries and where God broods over an austere and beautiful landscape. The measurement of time passing and returning, year after year, in the rhythms of the seasons and of the liturgical year, create the pace and the song. But in the biblical voices of Magdalene, Mary, Abel, and Eve, and in the grim historical and political realities of war and suffering, one also hears lament and finds the poet’s clear-eyed gaze straight into life’s challenges. Memory is at work here, too, in personal reminiscences and in theological reflection. As one philosopher has said, “All truth is God’s truth.”

What Cannot Be Fixed

Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2014

What Cannot Be Fixed is anchored in the terrain of the broken world: the old Adam, the prodigal son, loneliness, exile, and Christ’s cries of abandonment on the cross. There is much that cannot be fixed, but in the midst of the loss are the flashes and glimmers of promise, of Advent, of reunion, the empty tomb, and grace. Words uncurl in Eve’s throat, the conductor raises his baton in that split second before the music begins, the blind see, the atheist heart patient hears God in the music of the recovery room. God is there, his shape sometimes difficult to discern, his words often whispers amidst the daily-ness of life. This collection of poems is about living the paradox: simul justus et peccator-the believer is both justified and a sinner. It is true that much of what we see and live cannot be fixed. And it is also true that the potter reworks the broken pot.

Flannery O’Connor: A Proper Scaring

Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013

To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost blind you draw large and startling figures -Flannery O’Connor, Mystery and Manners Drowning in a river, the violent murder of a grandmother in the backwoods of Georgia, and the trans-genital display of a freak at a carnival show are all shocking literary devices used by Flannery O’Connnor, one of American literature’s best pulp fiction writers. More than thirty-five years after her death, readers are still shocked by O’Connor’s grotesque images. Dr. Jill Baumgaertner concentrates on O’Connor’s use of emblems, those moments of sudden and horrid illumination when the sacred and the profane merge as sacrament. This readable volume is ideal for college students, O’Connor scholars, or those wishing to better understand southern gothic fiction.

Imago Dei: Poems from Christianity and Literature

Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2012

Imago Dei brings together a collection of poets who merge faith, literature, and art as a form of worship and inspiration.
An anthology of the best poems published in the journal Christianity and Literature over the past sixty years, Imago Dei brings together in one volume poetry which exemplifies the richness and variety of the art. These poems find beauty in the concrete and particular, but they also ask the big questions: Why do we exist? Who is God? Where do we find God? What does the Incarnation mean? When does God speak to us, and why is God silent?

My Father’s Bones

Georgetown, Kentucky: Finishing Line Press, 2006

A chapbook of poems.

Finding Cuba: Poems

Valparaiso, Indiana: Chimney Hill Press, 2001

“Baumgaertner, an English professor at Wheaton College, writes of being a young girl in America while her Cuban relatives try to flee Castro’s regime; of her grandmother in prerevolutionary Cuba; of a latter-day Adam and Eve. The serial poem Leaving Eden contends with the new and the foreign: “What does breathing have to do with it, he wants to know// …His respiration fills with utterance,/ his mind with images of skunk,/ pigeon, ibex, wallaby.”
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. (From Publisher’s Weekly)


Steubenville, Ohio: Franciscan University Press, 1998

A chapbook of peoms.

Leaving Eden

White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 1995

Fox River Grove, IL: White Eagle Coffee Store Press, 1995. First Edition of the author’s first collection of poetry. 24 pp. Cover art by Steven Obendorf. Near Fine in illustrated stapled wraps. Uncommon. Item #738

Poetry (Textbook)

Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1990

A book designed to make poetry more accessible and inviting to college students. It presents a nice balance of standard literary works as well as recent works by women and minority poets.