Last month, Thick and Dazzling Darkness: Religious Poetry in a Secular Age received a generous notice by Steven Toussaint, native of Chicago, citizen of New Zealand, and presently residing in Cambridge. Steven mentioned the book as part of the "Reading List" feature connected to Poetry magazine. Here is what he said:
"Do we have a functional grammar for theological reflection in poetry today? This question has served as a guiding principle in the choice of much of my reading lately. Peter O’Leary’s recent collection of critical essays, Thick and Dazzling Darkness: Religious Poetry in a Secular Age, is doubly ambitious. He not only conducts original, searching readings of nine contemporary poets—among them Geoffrey Hill, Fanny Howe, Robert Duncan, and Nathaniel Mackey—but also convincingly argues a “way forward for poetry” that would honor twentieth-century experimentation and pioneering, while at the same time refashioning a language within which intimations of anagogy and apocalypse might seriously contend. O’Leary’s definition of “religion” is capacious enough to include all manner of syncretism and heterodoxy and yet restrained enough to serve as a transformative (even troublesome) force in the poetry he examines. His critical style is refreshingly personal, even anecdotal."
On March 1, I delivered a talk on Thick and Dazzling Darkness for the Lumen Christi Institute at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. The talk was video recorded. You can watch all 82 minutes of the thing on YouTube. (The talk is forty-five minutes long; a half-hour of questions ensued.)
Thick and Dazzling Darkness/Lumen Christi
I also conducted an interview with Mark Franzen for the Lumen Christi podcast. Stay tuned for that!