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Practicing silence : new and selected verses…
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Practicing silence : new and selected verses

by Bonnie Thurston

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This collection of poems focuses on monastic life and an attitude of contemplative prayer. Each section of the collection begins with a quote or two from "The Rule of St. Benedict," and each have a theme, such as "Lectio divina" or "Interior Prayer."

While the author is not part of monastic life, she takes a lot of her inspiration from that and Thomas Merton. She explains in her introduction that she has lived alone for some time and that "I try in a quiet way to conduct my 'ordinary' life monastically, and I can attest that living a monastic spirituality 'in the world' is challenging. Various aspects of this experiment have resulted in some of the poems collected here, which are organized according to what I hope is a sort of monastic logic" (xvii). Not coming from a Christian tradition including monasticism myself but being drawn lately to the idea of silent or "listening" prayer, I can't speak to her success in the "monastic logic," but I very much enjoyed the feeling of quiet, silence, and contemplation that comes with reading this kind of poetry. One of my very favorite poems in the collection, "Suppliant," ends with these lines: "But in history's white light / I see myself as I am, / loitering at heaven's back door / empty-handed and hungry, / waiting with the multitudes / for some disciple / to bless, break, and give / God's good bread" (6). This and other poems left some beautiful imagery in my mind to ponder, and I wrote several down to be able to reflect on again. ( )
  bell7 | May 14, 2016 |
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This book of poems is about the spiritual life and is organized according to a monastic logic. The compact and powerful language speaks to the lifelong Christian or to the spiritual seeker.

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