I don’t remember how she heard about him, but my wife introduced me to Christian Wiman, and played a recording of him reading his poem, “All My Friends are Finding New Beliefs.” Wiman is a Christian, but I doubt he would fit in anyone’s theological box. His seems a very searching faith whose hunger for meaning aches dully underneath every line he writes. Part of this is probably due to his having faced cancer. He survived but stared long and hard into the face of death. Through poetry, an essay (“My Bright Abyss”), and interviews, he has been quite open about this time of his life.
This year, I read two of Wiman’s poetry books—Every Riven Thing and Survival Is a Style. Both are full of dense, compelling verse that gropes to the edges of human experience in search of the divine and the truly human. Wiman is a poet I’ve enjoyed immensely, whether or not I’ve understood him fully.
“One Time” is a two-part poem that appears in Every Riven Thing. The second part is called “2047 Grace Street” and is a meditation on God, death, and the hope that his wife will thrive after grieving him. What I love most about this poem is the praise that leaps from this void, like God caused light to shine out of darkness: “Praise to the pain scalding us toward each other…And praise to the light that is not yet, the dawn in which one bird believes….” This short poem is full of beauty and faith that, if not settled, is moving toward a fixed point.
Read “2047 Grace Street” here: https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/from-one-time/