Sunday, December 13, 2009

Poetry and Preaching

During a recent interview I remarked that I wanted to improve my preaching by reading poetry. I got some rather bemused looks from my interviewers. For all our talk of wanting to be good communicators, poets seem to be overlooked. I guess poetry seems a little too high brow.

This weekend I found a great book that explores both classic and postmodern poetry, specifically in the USA, and the interaction between Jazz, folk and soul music and poetry. Some of the lines in there are exactly the kinds of things I'd love to be able to achieve with a sermon.

Try substituting "sermon" for "poem" in this paragraph

"...What the reader craves, and I've spoken here already about the reader's primacy, are beautiful accidents, surprise and astonishment in the poem, doors opening outward to true vistas for the first time. Something built up from within, not merely extracted from the exterior. The connective tissue is the evanescent need to become part of something that is larger than humans or mere language, but parts of both compressed into radioactive poetry; the right words in the right order, lending light. A poem is an animal big enough to ride, teeming with unexpected energy, charting a course into the unknown, moments of agility and delight that do not throw the rider off its back, but serve as reminders of the exquisite muscularity and nimbleness of the animal, and the reader is made more beautiful as well, by having ridden it."

The Rhythm Method, Razzmatazz and Memory:
How To Make Your Poetry Swing
Keith Flynn


Mike Bull said...

Good stuff.

Mike Bull said...