The poet Christian Wiman is giving voice to the hunger for faith — and the challenges of faith — for people living now. After a Texas upbringing soaked in a history of violence and a charismatic Christian culture, he was agnostic until he became actively religious again in his late 30s. Then he was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable blood cancer. He’s bearing witness to something new happening in himself and in the world.
I’ve been stuck on Wiman lately. His essay Finishes: Ambition and Survival in his book of essays Ambition and Survival is a clear understanding of how to age as an artist (and better than Eliot’s appreciation of Yeats), but has been incredibly valuable to me as a trajectory for aiming a life of writing. Both his prose and his poetry are exemplary in living an engaged life; a life quiet enough to hear the disturbances that need to be quieted. And his style is remarkable; you can almost hear the rhizomes of thought feeling their way.