Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Review: Waiting on the Word

Waiting on the Word. Malcolm Guite. 2015. Canterbury Press. 178 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Looking for a book to read during Advent and Christmas? Like or love poetry? Malcolm Guite's Waiting on the Word might be a perfect fit for you. I know I enjoyed reading it, though I advise readers to take their time reading it--one or two poems a day. I felt the need to rush through it so that I could tell you about it in time for this holiday season.

Guite has selected at least one poem for every day of the season--from the first Sunday in Advent through January 6. Some poems are short. Some are longer. Guite provides commentary and analysis for all the included poems. Readers first read the poem for themselves, and, then it's like Guite is guiding you through a rereading of the poem, almost line by line. Often including why he selected the poem and why he thinks it's a good fit for the season. Some days will see an additional reflection or poem written by the author. (O Sapientia, O Adonai, O Radix, O Clavis, O Oriens, O Rex Gentium, O Emmanuel--for example, all include a new reflective poem).

  • "Advent Sunday" by Christina Rosetti
  • "The Glance" by George Herbert
  • "The Moons" by Grevel Lindop
  • "Annunciation" by John Donne
  • "Annunciation" by Scott Cairns
  • "Those Winter Sundays" by Robert Hayden
  • "From the Ballad of the White Horse" by G.K. Chesterton
  • "From An Hymne of Heavenly Love" by Edmund Spenser
  • "Kenosis" by Luci Shaw
  • "Old Age" by Edmund Waller
  • "In Drear Nighted December" by John Keats
  • "Despised and Rejected" by Christina Rosetti
  • "In Memoriam XXVIII" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • "Launde Abbey on St. Lucy's Day" by Malcolm Guite
  • "Autumn" by David Baird
  • "Christmas and Common Birth" by Anne Ridler
  • "Advent Good Wishes" by David Grieve
  • "O Sapientia"
  • "O Adonai"
  • "O Radix"
  • "O Clavis"
  • "O Oriens"
  • "O Rex Gentium"
  • "O Emmanuel"
  • "Christmas Eve" by Christina Rosetti
  • "From Ode on the Morning of Christ's Nativity" by John Milton
  • "Song of the Shepherds" by Richard Bauckham
  • "Nativity" by Scott Cairns
  • "Refugee" by Malcolm Guite
  • "For Our Lady of Guadalupe" by Grevel Lindop
  • "Christmas (I)" by George Herbert
  • "The Darkling Thrush" by Thomas Hardy
  • "In Memoriam CVI" by Alfred Lord Tennyson
  • "The Bird in the Tree" by Ruth Pitter
  • "Courtesy" by Hailaire Belloc
  • "From Hymn Before Sunrise in the Vale of Chamouni" by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • "Rocky Mountain Railroad, Epiphany" by Luci Shaw
  • "The Divine Image" by William Blake

I appreciated the commentary/analysis very much. If the book had just included the poems and left me on my own with them, I'm not sure I would have had a positive reading experience. But I never felt alone while reading. And Guite's enthusiasm was often contagious. I also appreciated how Guite often worked Scripture into his analysis/commentary, though it never felt forced.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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