In the interest of economy, I sent out, just this morning, a humble first newsletter to those who have registered for it through this website. If you are interested in rare and periodic announcements and summaries of what work I am publishing, please visit the Forms page on this website and join the fun. Alas, because of the design of this webpage, hyperlinks appear in white font, and so what looks like a Mad Lib below will in fact reveal itself, if your mouse simply scrolls over the apparently missing text.
After dawdling for more than a year, I thought it time to kick off the JamesMatthewWilson.com periodic newsletter, which will serve, as the website primarily serves, to provide news to interested readers about what and where my work has been appearing. Feel free to pass this on to others who may find it of interest, and by all mean, encourage readers to visit the site; I have new work appearing about once a week, including my monthly column for The Catholic Thing and my ongoing series on Catholicism and poetry (and Catholic thought and literature more generally) for Catholic World Report.
This has been an unusually fruitful year, made possible in part by a year's leave to spend my days writing and studying. By the end of the summer, I should have completed my next prose book, a scholarly work on literary modernism and Catholic philosophical theology, called Catholic Modernism and the Irish Avant-Garde. If you had assumed that St. Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Blaise Pascal played little role in the making of modern poetry, you may be correct, but I shall show in this new book that for three unusually devout Irish modernist writers at least, the greatness of the Catholic tradition was thoroughly fused to their practice of an often cosmopolitan and complex modernist art.
In October, Angelico published my second full length collection of poems, The Hanging God. The reception has so far been uniformly positive and enthusiastic: more than seven reviews have offered high praise of the volume. You might begin with Frank Wilson's superb study of the poems (the link includes also my television interview, out in San Francisco, that touches on a number of matters). Upon its publication, I felt obliged to revise my first book, Some Permanent Things, in order to correct the somewhat looser practice of rhyme and meter found in those poems and, at least, to bring into print the completed form of my sequence "The Christmas Preface." Wiseblood issued Some Permanent Things Second Edition, Revised and Expanded, just before Christmas, and I've been thrilled by the response to this much revised, much reordered, significantly expanded version of the book; it strikes me as a new book altogether. The response has been very positive, with the young poet Daniel Rattelle offering a brief, cogent study of some of my changes and why they bear fruit.
In a year of mostly good news, it is hard to pick just one more item to share with you, but I think it ought to be this. The great poet Samuel Hazo and I convened in the Gentile Gallery, at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, at the end of April, to celebrate a new beginning. Franciscan's University Press now publishes my book series, Colosseum Books, which will bring into print works of poetry and poetry criticism that demonstrate a commitment to serious craft and spiritual depth in the Catholic tradition. Sam effectively is the author of the first three books in our series, his final collection of poems, When Not Yet Is Now, the publication sixty years on of his dissertation on Jacques Maritain and the poets (for which I wrote a lengthy critical introduction that provides a comprehensive account of Maritain as a Godfather to modern Catholic arts and letters), and, forthcoming, The Power of Less, a second, expanded edition of a book of Sam's literary essays that reflect on poetry with sophistication but in a familiar voice that will invite new readers into the conversation and life of this ancient, forbidding, but soul-transforming art.
As editor and director of Colosseum Books, I will build up a list of serious new work that every literate person will want to read; beginning this July, I shall direct the Colosseum Summer Institute, hosting aspiring writers for four days of discussion on the philosophy of art and beauty, the craft of prosody, and the practice of the art.
Thanks for your interest in these many endeavors, which are done at the service of the Church and the intellectual life in our day, when so much of the culture has turned against truth, goodness, and beauty in favor of an abyss of nihilistic rage and therapeutic consumerism.
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