Monday, April 02, 2012

Bookmarks -- Little Girls In Church

Like her prose, Norris' poems are well crafted and moving, devoid of maudlin sentimentality, but plenty of honest feeling. These poems address the sort of real life grace Flannery O'Conner brought to life in her stories and wrote about in her essays. I found myself grinning as I read several of these poems, particularly those with children at the center, as I recognized the innocence and earthy faith one sees in kids. 

Norris makes the the Psalms and liturgical offices come alive, not by merely quoting or referring to them in some esoteric manner, but by imbuing them with connections to the world one must accept grace among. An example of this is in "The Ignominy of the Living":

Then a recording of "My Way" came scratching out
on the electric carillion
"Oh, hell," I said,
and prayed for Frank Sinatra, too.

And the longings of a soul in love with God and also with the earth can be seen in poems like "The Monastery Orchard in Early Spring":

I, too, want to be light enough
for this day: throw off impediments,
push like a tulip
through a muddy smear of snow

I felt blessed when I ran across this volume, and I hope for more such blessings to come. I already felt Kathleen Norris was an important writer before having the chance to read her poems. This book only solidifies that opinion for me.

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