Angels Everywhere: Poems (Paperback)
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"The word 'angel' means 'messenger' and the title poem of this book, 'Angels Everywhere,' presents the idea that what I often glimpse is a flicker of glancing light, as if a heavenly being is darting in and out of my viewing, allowing me entry into a realm beyond my physical, experiential world—brief revelatory messages from somewhere beyond. I’m hoping that as you read these poems, (more than once, aloud if possible) something like Wordsworth’s 'intimations of immortality' will enliven your own perceptions of the world as you experience it. Maybe your own fleet of angels will show up!" —Luci Shaw, from the Introduction
Angels Everywhere is published under Paraclete Press's Iron Pen imprint. In the book of Job, a suffering man pours out his anguish to his Maker. From the depths of his pain, he reveals a trust in God's goodness that is stronger than his despair, giving humanity some of the most beautiful and poetic verses of all time. Paraclete's Iron Pen imprint is inspired by this spirit of unvarnished honesty and tenacious hope.
About the Author
Luci Shaw was born in London, England, in 1928. A poet and essayist whose writing has appeared in numerous literary and religious journals, in 2013 she received the tenth annual Denise Levertov Award for Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University. The author of over thirty-five books of poetry and creative non-fiction, since 1986 she has been Writer in Residence at Regent College, Vancouver. She lives with her husband, John Hoyte, in Bellingham, WA.
"Once again, Luci Shaw crowns a lifetime of poetry with angels literally everywhere in her shining lines. You will find them in her meditations on isolation in a time of the coronavirus, in her memories of lives from the past, in her keen-eyed observations of the changing of seasons in the Skagit, and in her astonishment at the mystery of the making of poems. Whether marveling at 'a thin petal of sunlight' or 'the house finch with his / sherbet-colored breast,' she demonstrates a holy attention. For her, she says, the writing of these poems is 'like knitting smoke.' For us, however, this 'smoke lifts / like a scarf for an angel.'" —Paul J. Willis, author of Somewhere to Follow“’When/ the political news threatens to infuriate/’ Luci writes, when ‘The air thickens with suspicion and doubt,’ ‘let us speak love unreservedly.’ In this book, more daringly than ever before, Luci is ‘enabled to investigate/ the underside of the obvious.’ She concludes that even during the pandemic, ‘Even in our isolation/ we are joined in love, never alone.’”—Jeanne Murray Walker, The Geography of Memory
“Luci Shaw has faithfully plowed the field of words for more than a half-century, planting and nurturing gardens to nourish us. In this new collection, Angels Everywhere, the poet is ‘blindsided by / the beauty of blossoms on a single fruit tree / in a local back yard’ and she considers how to ‘turn / back in time… / re-inscribing it / fresh…with/ a vivid spectrum of color.’
She does just that—vivifying our lives with a fresh receptivity to beauty, encouraging us to ‘trust, now, the ground under / our feet—that which has proven steady / for generations. Look up. The heavens / are still there, unclouded, beatific.’ This is precisely what we need in a time of loss, global spread of disease, and political strife – to look up again, and glimpse hope… ‘I want birds to fly / in and out of my poems, / for a rhythm of wings’— and we hear not just those birds but angel wings throughout this book of wonder.” —Bruce Herman, Lothlórien Distinguished Chair in Fine Arts, Gordon College
“Every reader of Luci Shaw’s work knows there are, indeed, angels everywhere—in a raindrop hanging from a twig, in a blue hyacinth, in an ice-covered stream, or in a Spring jolt of sunlight. She is an incarnational writer and these new poems—often about the act of writing, both what words can do and what they cannot—are rooted in the flesh, in the earth. They express Shaw’s struggles for a closeness with a living God, a means (most often the act of writing itself, which can be like ‘knitting smoke’) to fully inhabit a world which can be a ‘book of revelation.’ As in the Psalms, there is a trust in God, even as Shaw cries out against her and our frailties, our human cruelties, the pestilence of Covid, and the destruction of the land. Though Shaw is in her nineties, this is not a book of memory, but a book of living fully in the present, trusting in the unknowable, and always moving towards what is radiant, even if such going forth comes at a cost.” —Robert Cording, poet and author of Only So Far: Poems
"Luci Shaw’s poems are messengers from a greater world. She catches a wide range of light—from small glass shards to larger pieces glancing from the sun. Luci Shaw’s enduring voice is evident in this new collection. ‘I want birds to fly / in and out of my poems,’ she says in ‘Wings.’ Indeed, they do. Shaw captures our longing for flight during our captivity to the pandemic. Thank goodness for these power lines— and the reversal of a downward banister going up. Lovely work." —Diane Glancy
“Luci Shaw’s ‘twilight’s skylight’ of ‘revelatory messages from somewhere beyond,’ opens wide this world’s windows to honest contemplation and contagious hope. Throughout each section—Glance, Gleam, and Gather—Shaw gifts us ‘a lens for landscape.’ Birds, blooms, and ‘petal[ed]... sunlight’ rise from horizons. Most importantly, Shaw teaches us to ‘investigate/the underside of the obvious,’ ‘to move the air of...thinking/the way clouds of black birds/join each other,’ making space for vision and grace. Thus, in a world brimming with both beauty and pestilence, each poem in Angels Everywhere is a tiny baptism, ‘[w]ords to drown in/and come up, gasping.’” —Marjorie Maddox, author of Begin with a Question
“’The poet’s job is elemental,’ writes Luci Shaw. ‘Notice. And make notes.’ Clearly Shaw takes her own advice and has noticed that angels are everywhere. We can be grateful for her gift for noticing as we read this latest volume by our most prolific poet of faith. —Mark Jarman, author of The Heronry and Dailiness
"Aptly titled, Luci Shaw’s angels are everywhere. In this quiet collection, messengers of light appear as the varied greens in a stand of photogenic trees, as the kitchen air sticky in jam season, the names of each flowering weed in a field full of them, the bright wings of migrating geese, the dogwood bloom tattooed on the poet’s arm. To read these poems is to receive the message repeated yet each time unique. In the material world we too often take for granted, eternal verities open up at the poet’s attention. For Luci Shaw, each event, each circumstance says its own angelic name everywhere inside the name of God." —Jeanine Hathaway, author of Long After Lauds
"Luci Shaw reminds us that angels are messengers from another world and that they can be found everywhere, especially in the concrete Here and Now. Her poetry translates these messages for us through the formal brilliance of their language. Each of these exquisite poems is an Annunciation." —Gregory Wolfe, author of Beauty Will Save the World
"How many collections by Luci Shaw have, over so many decades, tuned the instruments of my imagination to receive the glory of God? I've lost count. She is, herself, angelic in how faithfully she visits us with urgent messages, celebratory anthems, visions that inspire awe. In Angels Everywhere, Shaw is, as ever, eager to translate the testimonies of all things great and small, from the behemoth to a bud on a chestnut bough. Seizing upon searing encounters in nature that she calls 'little revelations,' she opens occasions of transcendence. This latest treasury of work is composed in a spirit akin to the artistry of Mary Oliver, Jeanne Murray Walker, and Robert Siegel, and resonant with echoes of Gerard Manley Hopkins — oh! “a fresh cosmology.” In making of her poetry a liturgy of prayer, I am blessed by her company. Her clear-eyed faith kindles within me a longing 'to drink wind free as wine.'" —Jeffrey Overstreet, assistant professor of English and writing at Seattle Pacific University, and author of Auralia’s Colors and Through a Screen Darkly