For a while this anthology was Collins’ best-selling book, and I still get requests for copies. Unfortunately I have none left, and the opportunity for a re-print was lost during the series of publishing takeovers in the 1990s.
Copies are now like gold-dust, so if you have one that you don’t want, please let me know, so that I can pass it on to someone who does.
Published by Collins (now HarperCollins).
Review by Thelma Laycock in the Leeds-based poetry magazine Aireings, no 22:
Refreshingly this anthology bursts upon the British poetry scene which seems to suffer from a dearth of Christian writing. Alwyn Marriage draws her collection together from two hundred poems chosen from eight and a half thousand received after publicising the anthology to churches and magazines worldwide.
New Christian Poetry is not a denominational ‘churchy’ collection. The editor presents the poetry in its widest sense, dividing it into eleven sections: The Natural World, Place, People, World Issues, Art, The Bible, Times and Festivals, Experience of God, On Being a Christian, Praise and Prayer, Bread and Wine, thus expressing that Christians are not apart from the world but are very much thrown into the turmoil of it.
Memorable among the poems for me is Jean Naylor’s ‘Contemplation’ (Experience of God) with its Hopkinsian imagery:
“I saw Him in the crushed crimson’s dawn appearing …
He comes riding
Stallion-drawn, whirl-wheeled, fleet
Sword-buckling King, re-armed in glory
I fall, love adoring at his feet.”
Presenting a contrast to that is Rosie Watson’s ‘Red Nose Day’ (World Issues) with its comic irony:
“Would God wear a nose for such a cause
Christ the Clown
our fool for God’s sake
the only one
to wear a nose on red nose day
for the sake of Ethiopia
Yes, and much more.”
Catherine Fisher closes the section on Art with her universal poem, ‘Judas’, in which the poet sees:
“… a roundel here of Christ in Hell,
embracing a man waist-deep in fiery glass
whose medieval face turns up as if in shock …
Perhaps it is something in the kiss that makes me
wonder, if they meant it to be you.”
The poems in this collection have a very high standard and much could be said about the individual poems. I can only recommend that people buy it and read it. It is a good resource for worship and for teaching as well as for personal reflection. It is excellent and have not come across anything quite like it. I am glad to have this anthology on my bookshelves; it has presence.
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