You might appreciate Anatomy if… 3

Apologies for the gap between posts in this series.

I wrote a book last year and called it ‘Anatomy’. It’s a collection of poems and essays that ask about what the Song of Solomon has to say to the 21st century.

In this collection of posts, I want to highlight 5 sets of people who might appreciate my book.

You might appreciate Anatomy if you are

3. Someone who wants to imagine being a Christian.

I am a Christian and a reader of theology. I have read many books that explain what Christians are supposed to think and believe. However, I am also aware that many people have a sense that they would be interested in exploring faith, except that they could never imagine being a Christian. They look not to see beliefs, but lives, and find it hard to believe that faith could fit them.

One of the metaphors that the Bible repeatedly uses for a relationship with Jesus is that of marriage. At the end of the Bible, when heaven comes, the church is pictured like a bride walking to be married to her groom, Jesus. This is not the only metaphor which the Bible uses to describe a relationship with Jesus, but it is a powerful one.

By taking the Bible’s poem about marriage, Song of Solomon, and reflecting its themes and imagery into 21st century, I want to explore marriage as a metaphor for faith. When I started writing the poems, I found myself emotionally where faith was more about being kissed than kissing, more about finding a shared mutating identity that goes beyond myself. It’s exciting and beautiful, but it comes with risk and cost.

In the conversations I have had with Christians since publishing the book, not all have seen the Christian life as they understand it represented. I wanted to get beneath a veneer of social respectability, which is why the poems are just the husband speaking to the wife and vice versa. My personal opinion is that faith is not there to make us respectable, it is there to unite us with Christ in initimate, vulnerable, radical ways. I hope my faith and my poetry find an intimate, vulnerable, radical language.

If you want to find out more about Anatomy, read the introduction here.

If you have a question or comment about Anatomy, you can send feedback using the contact form or contact me by Facebook or Twitter.

 

You might appreciate Anatomy if … 2

I wrote a book last year and called it ‘Anatomy’. It’s a collection of poems and essays that ask about what the Song of Solomon has to say to the 21st century.

In this collection of posts, I want to highlight 5 sets of people who might appreciate my book.

You might appreciate Anatomy if you are

2. Someone who finds poetry in domesticity.

“It is a paradox of human life that in worship, as in human love, it is in the routine and the everyday that we find the possibilities for the greatest transformation.” Kathleen Norris

I say amen to Kathleen Norris.

Anatomy is not a big book. It is not a blockbuster. When you can remember the name of almost everyone who bought a copy, you know you don’t have a bestseller. Everything within the ethos of the book is operating from a sense of vulnerability. Part of that is that the poems included are rooted in domestic life and driven by the imagery and rhythms of British suburban life. Vulnerability, obscurity, predictability and simplicity are woven into the poems of Anatomy, with a faith that the poetry has not got lost.

That doesn’t mean the poems are boring, any more than you would find your neighbours boring if you knew them. It’s just that it’s very easy to talk about ‘beauty in the everyday’ as a throw away line, it’s another thing to find it and have faith in it that it will do its work.

As an example of what I’m talking about, here is another opportunity to hear an audio version of a poem from the book, working on a metaphor about why being married is like volunteering to work towards the upkeep of a stately home. It’s called Summer Saturdays.

If you like what you hear and would like to find out more, click here.

 

You might like my book if… 1

I wrote a book last year and called it ‘Anatomy’. It’s a collection of poems and essays that ask about what the Song of Solomon has to say to the 21st century.

In this collection of posts, I want to highlight 5 sets of people who might appreciate my book.

You might appreciate Anatomy if you are

1. A man who doesn’t fit into the ‘real man / new man’ opposites of identity.

One of the messages of Anatomy is that identity comes out of relationships, not out of an accumulation of objects, characteristics or traditions.

You are not a man because you like sport, beer or steak.  You’re not a man because you know how to cry. You’re a man in relationship to family, friends, colleagues, the wider world, perhaps even God.

Anatomy tries to push beyond the idea that there are many different ways to be a man towards asking why that’s so? My answer is that your identity is something that is held with other people. You are never yourself by yourself. Marriage is a helpful context to explore that idea fully.

If that sounds interesting, you might like my book. Follow the link to find out more.

New Video: ‘When Ellington Swings’

It’s been a month since I have put anything on this site. That does not mean I have not been busy.

On the creative front, I have taken to writing some poems that tell the story of a cricket league game I play with my son called the Ten10 League. The game is played using Howzat dice and there are eight imaginary teams, each with a different theme. My dad played with these dice when he was a boy. Then he taught me and this game was a constant of my childhood. Now I am teaching my son the same game.

The poems are loose, improvised, a bit of an opportunity to let off steam.

The first product is the song and video above, ‘When Ellington Swings’, which is a heartfelt tribute to the bowling prowess of Duke Ellington of the New York Jazz Swingers.

If you like it, how about sharing it with your friends?