I’ve read a lot of poetry over my lifetime, and likely more in the last 10 years than the rest combined. Rarely have I been as taken with a collection as I have with Christian Wiman’s Once in the West: Poems.
The poems originate in Wiman’s childhood and coming of age in Texas. They extend beyond that, into the reader’s mind and own experience, a collection of sharp, piercing stones with cutting edges that leave blood on the floor – the blood of life and of a life lived.
Some may mind the occasional profanity. I didn’t, and it surprised me that I didn’t.
I’ll have more to say later, but here is one example of a poem from the collection.
from the body’s
needs a body
is that, then,
what we were
in that back-
Photograph by Silviu Firulete via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.