<Embed>
List Price: $14.00
Save: $1.65 (12%)
FREE Shipping on your first order. Details
Arrives: Thursday, Aug 20
Fastest delivery: Tuesday, Aug 18 Details
In Stock.
As an alternative, the Kindle eBook is available now and can be read on any device with the free Kindle app. Want to listen? Try Audible.
Your transaction is secure
We work hard to protect your security and privacy. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. Learn more
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
FREE Shipping on your first order. Details
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: This item shows wear including a wrinkle in the spine and heavy warping but the book can still be read.

Other Sellers on Amazon
Add to Cart
$11.90
+ Free Shipping
Sold by: brent0033
Add to Cart
$12.33
+ Free Shipping
Sold by: TheWorldShop
Add to Cart
$14.33
+ Free Shipping
Sold by: Book Depository US
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.


My Bright Abyss Paperback – April 1, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 251 ratings

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
Paperback
$12.35
$8.35 $3.99

Amazon Book Review | Discover your next great read
click to open popover

Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
    Apple
  • Android
    Android
  • Windows Phone
    Windows Phone
  • Click here to download from Amazon appstore
    Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

kcpAppSendButton

Frequently bought together

  • My Bright Abyss
  • +
  • He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art
  • +
  • Every Riven Thing: Poems
Total price: $44.59
Buy the selected items together

Special offers and product promotions

Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Christian Wiman's] poetry and his scholarship have a purifying urgency that is rare in this world. This puts him at the very source of theology, and enables him to say new things in timeless language, so that the reader's surprise and assent are one and the same.” ―Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gilead

“Every generation needs someone to write about faith as lucidly as Christian Wiman does in this ‘meditation of a modern believer.'” ―The Wall Street Journal

“Christian Wiman's My Bright Abyss creates in the reader the keen, poetic attention of a man with a cancer diagnosis trying to remain fully present in his life. His spiritual ancestors are C. S. Lewis and Thomas Merton. Like Lewis, he's surprised by the joy of falling in love. Like Merton, he captures the smugness that can poison some atheists as it does some believers. This masterwork of doubt and faith, literature and theology, will affect nonbelievers and spiritual seekers alike.” ―Mary Karr, author of Lit and The Liar's Club

“In another day and age, this book would be called a revelation, a mysticism, a holy text. What does it mean for a modern man to believe? In this extremely moving narrative, this question is asked with grace and fury, with astonishing eloquence and courage that only a few can equal in our time. It will be read for years and years to come.” ―Ilya Kaminsky, author of Dancing in Odessa

“Forged from pain, like most masterpieces, My Bright Abyss provides an advanced course in applied mysticism for the twenty-first century.” ―Eliza Griswold, author of The Tenth Parallel

“Christian Wiman has written a moving, thoughtful meditation on faith and poetry that is really a treatise on meaning: where we find it, what it offers us, whether it can mitigate pain. There's a luminous clarity in these pages, the kind that comes only when a writer is facing ultimate questions.” ―Meghan O'Rourke, author of The Long Goodbye

My Bright Abyss . . . has unlocked the universe for me. My soul sang alongside every word. It's an instant classic, will be revered a hundred years from now.” ―Jamie Quatro, The Fine Delight

“Like the classic mystics, [Wiman] often resorts to a language of paradox to convey things that ordinary language can't … Wiman speaks carefully but powerfully . . . The best that can come from contemplation of mortality, perhaps, is a kind of wisdom that can give others strength--not by answering questions, like those best-sellers which claim to tell you what happens after you see the white light, but by asking questions honestly . . . My Bright Abyss is a book that will give light and strength, even to those who find themselves unable to follow its difficult path.” ―Adam Kirsch, The New Yorker

“This is a daring and urgent book . . . More than any other contemporary book I know, My Bright Abyss reveals what it can mean to experience St. Benedict's admonition to keep death daily before your eyes . . . Wiman is relentless in his probing of how life feels when one is up against death . . . With both honesty and humility, Wiman looks deep into his doubts his suspicion of religious claims and his inadequacy at prayer. He seeks ‘a poetics of belief, a language capacious enough to include a mystery that, ultimately, defeats it, and sufficiently intimate and inclusive to serve not only as individual expression but as communal need. This is a very tall order, and Wiman is a brave writer to take it on . . . Wiman mounts a welcome, insightful and bracing assault on both the complacent pieties of many Christians and the thoughtless bigotry of intellectuals who regard Christian faith as suitable only for idiots or fools . . . This pithy and passionate book is not easy, but it is rewarding. Wiman's finely honed language can be vivid and engaging . . . He exhibits a poet's concern for precision . . . This is, above all, a book about experience, and about seeking a language that is adequate for both the fiery moments of inspiration and the ‘fireless life' in which we spend most of our days. It is a testament to the human ability to respond to grace, even at times of great suffering, and to resolve to live and love more fully even as death draws near.” ―Kathleen Norris, The New York Times Book Review

“Burnished and beautiful, My Bright Abyss is a sobering look at faith and poetry by a man who believes fiercely in both, but fears he might be looking at them for the last time. Wiman's memoir is innovative in its willingness to interrogate not only religious belief, but one of its most common surrogates, literature . . . Wiman's story is chiefly a love affair: of a poet with words, of a husband with his wife and two daughters, of a believer with the holy . . . Here is a poet wrestling with words the way that Jacob wrestled the angel . . . Wiman calls his memoir the "Meditation of a Modern Believer," and it is that, but more than meditation, it is an apologia and a prayer, an invitation and a fellow traveler for any who suffer and all who believe.” ―Casey N. Cep, The New Republic

“In verse and poetry alike, Christian Wiman possesses and endearing and profound spiritual sensibility . . . My Bright Abyss is built of prose so lyrical and true you want to roll it around in your mouth and then speak it to strangers on the street . . . Wiman refuses easeful conclusions, he celebrates the verse and the two-faced joy at the hub of our lives--Nietzsche's tragic joy--and in doing so he has written what will be for many a life-changing book.” ―William Giraldi, Virginia Quarterly Review

My Bright Abyss gives us eleven essays that are at once personal and philosophical, critical and inclusive. If it is possible to prolifically and empathetically investigate each existential imperative--death, art, love, and God--Wiman has offered us the closest thing . .. The essays are not unlike a poem in a collection, adding bone to the body, yet strong enough to stand alone. Each is immersed in conversation with the others, anchored to a common ambition: to restore the sacred extrapolation of our imaginations, the unfurling of faith and love in the moment of creating . . . Wiman writes with forceful honesty. His hope lays on the inchoate edge of impossibility and because of that becomes nearly tangible . . . The maturity of Wiman's voice, the quiet that suffuses his words and indicates his gravity of introspection, and the gorgeous cadence offered in damn near every sentence make this one book I'll relentlessly recommend to those peering into the terrifying and beautiful abyss--which is to say, anyone and everyone. We are indebted to him, a poet who revels in the limitations of language in My Bright Abyss and therefore, consequently and in a blaze, transcends those limitations.” ―Caitlin Mackenzie, HTMLGiant

“In My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer . . . Christian Wiman--himself a fine poet and translator of the Russian poet and essayist Osip Mandelstam--contemplates the meaning of poetic incarnation in specifically Christian terms, drawing on a wide range of authors. He blends poetry (his own and others'), criticism, theological speculation, and memoir in ways that defy easy categorization . . . Throughout My Bright Abyss, Wiman avoids formulaic responses. His prose is poetry in the truest sense: language adequate to one person's experience . . . Wiman's book is a moving argument for the use of poetry as a spiritual guide . . . [Wiman] shows us what happens to a man when his relation to the divine is reawakened, his mind becoming alert in ways previously unimaginable. That alertness carries over into his readings of poetry, which occur in a pressured context, as the language of the poems becomes part of his evolving mental landscape, part of his recovery, his spiritual (as well as physical) survival . . . In My Bright Abyss, Wiman offers a demonstration of what faith means to a critic: not a new way of life but, more mysteriously, the old life freshly understood, filtered through a range of texts. He reminds us that revelation comes not in a whirlwind or fire, but in that ‘still, small voice' that came to Elijah in the desert. ‘The voice is always there, for everyone,' writes Wiman. ‘For some of us, unfortunately, it takes terror and pain to make us capable of hearing it.' It is this urgency that separates the wheat from the chaff among critics.” ―Jay Parini, The Chronicle Review

“Wiman isn't the least bit sentimental or nostalgic about the deeply Christian faith that provides the bedrock for his meditation . . . I can think of only a handful of writers I've read who have diagnosed the contemporary spiritual condition as poignantly as Wiman. But he doesn't stop at ‘reading the times.' Wiman weaves an intensely personal account of the hard work of maintaining belief in the midst of a culture determined to identify itself as secular . . . The poet is always wide-eyed and available to the world, but Wiman has the kind of gaze that Flannery O'Connor says is peculiar to the Catholic writer: their seeing continues deep beneath the surface of what all of us can plainly see . . . [My Bright Abyss] is breathtakingly beautiful and astonishing in its wisdom. . . hands down, the best book I've read in more than a decade.” ―Kurt Armstrong, Geez Magazine

“A set of sublimely original spiritual reflections . . . Beyond the autobiographical elements of the book, beyond the translucent prose that this gifted poet offers us, its more universal value is its presentation of a modern believer . . . This is a book to take in small bites, to savor and study. You cannot read it impatiently. It will challenge you, believer or not, to think again about the things that are most important. Above all, Wiman demonstrates how to be fully human and deeply religious in a way that is free of cant and fully open to sharing the pain of the world, perhaps in order to bring it to new life . . . Wiman speaks to today in ways that very few other spiritual writers have attained, causing his readers to become a little more alive, with all that might mean for a fuller insertion into the pain and the joy of the world.” ―Paul Lakeland, National Catholic Reporter

“Wiman infuses his writing with lyricism and a playfulness with language . . . He augments his own mastery of language with the liberal use of quotations from other poets and writers, spanning an impressive range of literary backgrounds. Wiman's depth of knowledge as a reader truly undergirds this work, as he invokes everyone from George Herbert to Simone Weil, Dietrich Bonheoffer to Seamus Heaney. As the author struggles to understand God, he also struggles to comprehend the institution of Christianity, seeing in it deep flaws, an inability to fully grasp the depth of the God it proclaims, and what he sees as a childish clinging to legend and myth . . . Poignant and focused . . . Wiman's grasp of the written word carries this unconventional faith memoir.” ―Kirkus

About the Author

Christian Wiman is the author of six previous books, most recently Every Riven Thing (FSG, 2010), winner of the Ambassador Book Award in poetry, and Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam.

Product details


Beyond your wildest dreams
From DC & Neil Gaiman, The Sandman arises only on Audible. Listen free with trial

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
251 customer ratings
How does Amazon calculate star ratings?
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2013
Verified Purchase
84 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on November 24, 2013
Verified Purchase
53 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on April 27, 2013
Verified Purchase
44 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on April 9, 2016
Verified Purchase
4 people found this helpful
Comment Report abuse

Top international reviews

Angela Morris
5.0 out of 5 stars I recommend this book of reflections and meditations to anyone who ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 20, 2017
Verified Purchase
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Shushan
5.0 out of 5 stars Sane thinking on art and faith
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 19, 2013
Verified Purchase
10 people found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
ChrisH
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly written and thought provoking
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 18, 2015
Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Sheepandati
5.0 out of 5 stars Profound and poetic
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 30, 2013
Verified Purchase
6 people found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
M. Bartley
4.0 out of 5 stars A companion book.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 12, 2015
Verified Purchase
2 people found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Meera
5.0 out of 5 stars A memoir and essay that reaches into your deepest solitude
Reviewed in India on May 31, 2019
Verified Purchase
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Peter Hay
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for more than lovers of poetry!
Reviewed in Canada on December 15, 2016
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Carl Svoboda
5.0 out of 5 stars A collection of jewels
Reviewed in Canada on October 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Ley Milton Davison
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in Canada on December 8, 2014
Verified Purchase
One person found this helpful
Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Report abuse
Pages with related products. See and discover other items: modern poetry