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Accompanied by Angels: Poems of the Incarnation Paperback – June 19, 2006
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"In the language of salt and sinew, grit and grace, Luci Shaw articulates into fresh apprehension the Word made flesh, the Holy One hallowing all things by His becoming one of them."
"What a remarkable steadiness of attention is documented in this book! It is deeply moving to think how these poems were made ritually, one a year, slowly accumulating for sixty years. Luci Shaw is one of our most gifted poets; maybe that's why this archaeological dig to her beginnings makes me so happy. It is fascinating to watch her marshal her forces, gather linguistic power, and fill a lifetime to the brim with limpid, startling poems."
"Luci Shaw knows that 'what must be announced' cannot easily be said. She knows that incarnation makes 'impossible demands' on the poet. A faithful bearer of the Word, she risks everything. Metaphor after metaphor, image after complicating image, she sustains her dedication to making the old story new. In her poems we find 'that flash of absolute knowing' that cannot be earned but is given by grace to the open and waiting."
"For good reason Luci Shaw has become an institution of the Christian literary world, and here is her sequence dealing with an explicitly Christian subject ? the life of Jesus Christ, vividly figured over the course of the writer's lifelong imaginative work. These lucid, engaging narrative lyrics of both free and formal verse could serve as devotional reading for the devout or as compelling invitations to the seeker. Carefully crafted yet never pretentious or aloof, they bring the sacred close without denying its inexplicable mystery so that, reading them, we too may seem to be accompanied by angels."
From the Back Cover
From the time she was a child in Toronto, celebrated poet Luci Shaw has sent Advent greetings to her friends and family with a carefully crafted original poem. What began as a simple childhood exercise has now become a beloved annual tradition. Though a number of these poems have appeared elsewhere, "Accompanied by Angels" gathers all of them for the first time into a collection for all readers for any season of the year.
Beginning with the joy, terror, and wonder of the annunciation, Shaw leads the reader on a poetic journey through the birth, life, and death of Jesus the Christ, culminating in the joyous and unexpected wonder of his resurrection. Her subjects run from the mundane to the sublime, from birds in flight and waiting old men to fiery angels and storm-ravaged ridges.
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Top Customer Reviews
These poems were written over a long period of Shaw's life (some of them no doubt in the period when I first met her), and some were written for friends of hers as part of her Christmas greetings (the rest of us should be so fortunate to have a poet friend bearing such a gift!).
When I bought this book I was looking for good, insightful Christian poetry related to Christ's birth. I love John Donne but was looking for something from our own time, then remembered Shaw. I was (and am) very happy with this collection, and in fact bought a second copy to give to a dear friend as a Christmas present.
It should be noted that "Incarnation" here is used broadly: meaning not just Christ becoming flesh-and-blood, but being and living human, i.e., the poems follow his whole earthly life; and before his birth, attest to the Annunciation and its impact on Mary. So this little book is not only a Christmas-time book. I would read, and reread, these any time, and very happily.
Luci Shaw begins her Introduction by recalling when she was ten or eleven in the 1940s. It was winter in Toronto, and she was making her own Christmas cards. Over the years, her number of Advent poems grew and appeared in a variety of publications. Luci writes, "Many of these poems have also appeared in other collections of my poetry, but here, for the first time, I've drawn them all together between the covers of a single book, and arranged them in what seemed to me to reflect the chronological order of the life of Jesus" (p. x).
The rich and well-crafted poems are organized into five sections: Announcement, Arrival, Living, Dying, Risen. Acknowledgments conclude the book.
Luci also writes: "Like all art, these poems are only 'hints and guesses.' But perhaps they will suggest some new possibilities and give you some fresh glimpses of the One who came to earth, and who in birth and resurrection was 'accompanied by angels'" (p. xi-xii).
This book was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. in 2006, copyright by Luci Shaw. I continue to reread these poems, often aloud. And I continue to give this book to others. This year, my gift went to a library.
It should not have left the publisher this way, specially when paying full price.