Sunday, March 16, 2008

Good poetry where you would least expect it

I'm sure someone has said this before, but poetry is like violin playing: When it is good it is good, but when it is bad, it is really bad. For that reason, most people just should leave it to the experts. Much of what you see attempted by amateurs on the Internet in particular is simply atrocious, so when you see original poetry that is good, it ought to be noted.

For this reasons, I wanted to draw attention to Doug Groothuis. Groothuis is a philosopher of religion at Denver Seminary. Now for some reason, philosophers don't normally make good poets and when they are protestants to boot, it can be even worse. Good poetic insight involves a sort of incarnational thinking which minds schooled in abstraction find hard to understand, much less employ. Abstraction is, of course, the philosopher's stock in trade. And for protestants, particularly those of a nonliturgical bent, abstraction seems to be the chief mode of thought.

So to find decent amateur poetry being produced by a protestant philosopher is doubly surprising. His last one, "Antique Inscriptions (ca. 1880-1985)," was particularly good.

I didn't subscribe to Groothuis's blog for poetry, but that has turned out to be an unanticipated pleasure. I hope he keeps it up.

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