Compass of Affection: Poems, New and Selected

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Paraclete Press, 2006 - Poetry - 161 pages

In this provocative collection, rich with expression and dense with meaning, Scott Cairns expresses an immediate, incarnate theology of God's power and presence in the world. Spanning thirty years and including selections from four of his previous collections, Compass of Affection illuminates the poet's longstanding engagement with language as revelation, and with poetry as way of discovery.

For those who already admire the poetry of Scott Cairns and for those who have yet to be introduced, this essential volume presents the best of his work - the holy made tangible, love made flesh, and theology performed rather than discussed.



Praise for Scott Cairns' work

"Scott Cairns [is] perhaps the most important and promising religious poet of his generation." --Prairie Schooner

"The voice of Cairns is conversational and coaxing--confiding in us secrets that seem to be our own."
--Publishers Weekly

 

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Contents

Imperative
3
The Theology of Doubt
4
On Slow Learning
5
Taking Off Our Clothes
6
The Theology of Delight
7
Approaching Judea
8
from The Translation of Babel
9
Invitation to a Wedding
11
Hairesis
95
Shore View with Fog
97
The Modern Poets
99
Three Descents
100
Nous
104
Having Descended to the Heart
106
Recitation
107
Eventual City
111

Memory
15
Another Morning
17
Yellow
18
Infirmities
19
Chore
20
Another Kiss
21
After the Last Kiss
22
Embalming
23
In Praise of Darkness
27
Lucifers Epistle to the Fallen
29
Leaving Florianopolis
31
Regarding the Monument
33
The Translation of Raimundo Luz
35
from Figures for the Ghost
49
The Holy Ghost
51
Return Directive
53
Prospect of the Interior
54
The Glass Man
55
Serenade
56
The Death of Penelope
57
Advent
59
City Under Construction
60
The History of My Late Progress
62
The Beginning of the World
64
Dead Sea Bathers
66
Disciplinary Treatises
67
From the Father
77
Mortuary Art
79
from Philokalia
81
Late Results
83
A Lot
87
Poetics for Two
88
Blessed
89
Promise
90
Possible Answers to Prayer
91
The Spiteful Jesus
92
Metanoia
93
Hesychia
94
Ruminant
112
Mysterion
113
As We See
114
The Name
115
Once Called Thereafter
116
Apocatastasis
117
Memento
118
Sacred Time
120
New Poems
121
Blessed Being
123
Narration
124
Brief Age of Wisdom
126
Trouble
127
A Quiz
128
Setting Out
130
Against Justice
131
Two Icons
132
Christmas Green
136
A Prior Despair
137
Short Lyrics
138
Late Apocalypse
142
The Lepers Return
144
Note
145
In Reference to His Annunciation
146
Euripides the Athenian
147
The Righteous Man of Gomorrah
148
Icons
149
No Harbor
151
In Hope of Recollection
153
Hidden City
155
Late Sounding
156
Autopsy
157
Replies to the Immediate
158
Evening Prayer
159
Secret Poem
160
September 11
161
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Librettist, essayist, translator, and author of nine poetry collections, Scott Cairns is Professor of English and Director of the Low-Residency MFA Program at Seattle Pacific University. His poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Image, Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, and both have been anthologized in multiple editions of Best American Spiritual Writing. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, and the Denise Levertov Award in 2014.

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