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In “American Divine,” it would seem that the pursuit is not so much a pursuit of divinity but rather the experience of it—the awe, which in this instance is private and individualistic, potentially addictive, and more an expression of personal epiphanies than a community-shared theology.
I’m not canceling Whitman. But my own enthusiasm for his poetry is waning. The poet whose daring versification and daring lifestyle were once seen as the epitome of counter-culture has come to seem to me all too mainstream, the very voice of an age of superficial egotism.
Ordinary and unrefined, Kooser's poems suggest the steady hand of a craftsman who doesn’t need to go looking for the next big thing.
Jane Kenyon was foremost a poet of place. Not of the State of New Hampshire, though she was its Poet Laureate, but of the much smaller and less abstract corner of it in and around Eagle Pond.
It is a hybrid, sacramental understanding of the earth and matter and of being in the world. She seems to say that even if the earth of Chilhowee is dry or the trees of the Smokies are stunted, we must cherish them because they remain good.