Last spring, Candace and I read aloud Malcolm Guite’s anthology, Word in the Wilderness: A Poem a Day for Lent and Easter. We found the poems deeply moving, and Malcolm’s essays opened them up for us both as literature and as theology. We plan to return to them again this coming year.
So this Advent, we are taking up Malcolm’s similar collection, Waiting on the Word: A Poem a Day for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. Each evening, if our schedules permit, we look forward to reading this aloud together. Malcolm often publishes the poems on his blog, so we listen to the audio file as he reads the poem for the night there, before we turn to read aloud the interpretative essay in the book.
Malcolm has a gift for selecting poems that are worth returning to over and over again, and for explicating them in ways that open up unexpected meanings of the season. The poets range from Christina Rossetti to Grevel Lindop, George Herbert to Ruth Pitter, Edmund Spenser to Luci Shaw, Alfred Lord Tennyson to Scott Cairns, among a host of others. Some are familiar favorites to us, some are new-found friends and companions.
These volumes now have become two of our most treasured books for reading at Christmas and Easter (cf. Christmas poetry to read aloud). We also keep Malcolm’s own books of poetry close by, as well as our volumes of Luci Shaw and Madeleine L’Engle.