Books – Recently Released
"Rejoice, readers, as you receive the generosity of Luci Shaw's 76 new grace-infused parable poems. Autobiography once more merges with theology as these poems illuminate in splendored natural detail how the seasons of creation parallel and explain the seasons of her life as a poet. Again and again, these poems shower us with glorious epiphanies from the natural world as it reflects God's generosity at work such as "spring's impossible news of green." These poems confirm that in poetry as in faith "ripeness is all." Like Wordsworth, Luci is celebrated for being a highly gifted landscape poet whose works are rich in imagery from the physical world—meadows filled with seeds, flowers, and also poems which are like "shoots" in Luci's writing life. Animals, too, great and small (beetles, cricket, and voles to bears and whales) play a major role in Luci's poetics of creation; God is likened to a great bear who leaves paw tracks for us to follow. In their deep faith and vibrant colors and designs, the poems in Generosity might be considered Luci's Book of Kells. We need to be like Luci's father who carried her poems in his briefcase to show his friends." —Philip C. Kolin, Author, Reaching Forever: Poems; Distinguished Professor of English (Emeritus), University of Southern Mississippi
Eye of the Beholder
Luci Shaw is now 90 years old. The author of more than 35 collections of poetry and creative non-fiction over the last five decades, she describes her dedication to this art as a burden to "speak into a culture that finds it hard to listen." This collection of new poems - all composed over the last two years - is in many ways the culmination of a stunning career. The joy and responsibility of the poet is to focus on particulars within the universe, finding fragments of meaning that speak to the imagination. Ordinary things may reveal the extraordinary for those willing to take time to investigate and ponder. In this fresh collection of poems, Luci Shaw practices the art of seeing, and then writing what she sees, realizing that beauty is often focused in the Eye of the Beholder. Eye of the Beholder is meant to awaken in readers awareness of the extraordinary in the ordinary. They will find in this collection a focus for meditation and be excited into their own imaginative writing.
New and Selected Poems
Luci Shaw's poems have delighted, nurtured and inspired readers--and other writers--for decades. They regularly appear in periodicals such as Books & Culture, The Christian Century, Crux, Image, Nimble Spirit, Rock & Sling, Stonework and Weavings. And Shaw draws upon them as a retreat facilitator, workshop leader and public speaker. Sea Glass is the fifteenth collection of Shaw's poems. It combines 38 new poems with a "best of" selection of poems from eleven of her previous books: Listen to the Green The Secret Trees The Sighting Postcard from the Shore Polishing the Petoskey Stone Writing the River The Angles of Light Water Lines What the Light Was Like Harvesting Fog Scape The result is a celebration of, as Scott Cairns says, "Shaw's familiar and reassuring voice pressing for wisdom, substantial faith, and a glimpse of the Real upholding all we see."
Thumbprint in the Clay
Diving Marks of Beauty, Order, and Grace
"The thumbprint . . . is for me a singular clue to human identity. . . . Just as each human thumbprint is unique, its pattern inscribed on the work of our hands and minds, the Creator's is even more so―the original thumbprints on the universe," declares poet Luci Shaw. We worship an endlessly creative God whose thumbprints are reflected everywhere we look―in sunsets, mountains, ocean waves―and in the invisible rhythms that shape our lives, such as the movement of planets around the sun. And this creative and ever-creating God has also left indelible thumbprints on us. We reflect God's imprint most clearly, perhaps, in our own creating and appreciation for beauty. A longing for beauty is inherent to being human. We don't create things that are purely practical; we desire them to be aesthetically pleasing as well. Beauty is also powerful, in its redemptiveness, generosity, inspiration. In reflecting on the role of beauty in our lives, Luci Shaw writes, "Beauty is Love taking form in human lives and the works of their hands." So come, join Luci Shaw as she ponders through the beauty of poetry and prose the places, sometimes unexpected, where she encounters God's fingerprints, and let it help you learn to see them in your life as well.
Adventure of Ascent: Field Notes from a Lifelong Journey
In this book, writer-poet Luci Shaw has given us a lifetime of exquisite reflections on nature, love, death, suffering, loss, faith, doubt, creativity, curiosity, lifelong learning—all of it drawn from the breadth of her own experience, harvested in penetrating and lyrical insights. Still active in her eighties, Luci now turns her attention to the season of edging toward the borders. Her spirit of adventure, her brave transparency, and her openness to all that life offers (as well as inflicts) makes her a captivating and hope-inspiring mentor. For most of us, growing older is a reality we put off as long as possible—until we realize with a shock that it is happening to us. We immediately look around to see how others on the path just ahead of us are dealing with it. So here is the intrepid Luci Shaw, taking readers on a virtual hike with her, with steps more deliberate and slow but also with surprising vistas that fill us with gratitude. In this book Luci serves as a fearless and eloquent scout. As she traverses new territory, she records her experiences lovingly, honestly, sorrowfully, joyfully—here's what it's like, and here's what to be ready for. These field notes will inform your own journey, no matter what your age.
Luci Shaw's poetry is already widely known and celebrated. Scape, her 2013 collection of new poetry, explores metaphors of spiritual significance, paying attention to the small and seemingly irrelevant events of living and listening to nature. Wise, thoughtful, and probing, her sensuous lyrics find fresh connections and relationships between God and his created universe.
"More than a book, Scape is a sacred offering, a scape we can hold that directs our gaze and supports us, in the long, shivering road up, up."
—Suzanne Paola, author, The Lives of the Saints
"Luci Shaw notes in one of her new poems that, 'without the impediment / of gravity the dancer / cannot dance.' And it's just that wise understanding of the weights and balances of life that her poems get so right. . . . Such abstractions live in the particulars of an egg's brownness, a snail's glistening trail, a sparrow's 'economical and precise' pecking, and the taut feel of a trout on the line. Luci Shaw's poems incarnate the 'slow pleasure of being.'"
—Robert Cording, author, Common Life
"Luci's most witty, brilliant book. . . . One after another, these poems ground the reader utterly in the concrete and physical—and then, with the jet engine of metaphor, they take off into the world of spirit."
—Jeanne Murray Walker, University of Delaware
"Luci Shaw is a poet of spirit, of nature, and of body. Her gift is an observant eye that looks straight into the face of what she sees. . . . This new collection is made strong by her eye that is faithful to what is, and the ability to describe her world—whether her eye is on the spires or on the sparrow."
—Diane Glancy, Azusa Pacific University
"'The maples drop their syllables until / the grass burns with words.' Once again, Luci Shaw, master of the deceptively simple lyric, captures the 'glory leaking through' ordinary experience. Spun in wonder, freighted with feeling and faith, these poems dart with the grace of small birds or drift like brilliant leaves from old trees. Such a pleasure to read this fine collection!"
—Julia Spicher Kasdorf, author, Poetry in America
God With Us
Rediscovering the Meaning of Christmas (Reader’s Edition)
Christmas is the season most difficult to grasp and understand in all its spiritual richness. The sentimentality and commercialism that dominate the season tend to obscure the profound mystery at its heart: the Incarnation. God with Us provides the perfect way to slow down and reconnect with the liturgical and sacramental traditions of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. In this volume of daily meditations, some of today's most esteemed writers on the spiritual life offer a tapestry of reflection, Scripture, prayer, and history.
Contributors include Beth Bevis, Scott Cairns, Emilie Griffin, Richard John Neuhaus, Kathleen Norris, Eugene Peterson, and Luci Shaw.
God for Us: Rediscovering the Meaning of Lent and Easter
God For Us explores the meaning of Lent, its importance in spiritual formation, its significance in preparation for Easter, and the holy season of Easter itself. Luci's contribution includes the Fifth Week of Lent.
Harvesting Fog is Luci Shaw's 30th book, released in 2010 by Pinyon Publishing. The title comes from a reference in the National Geographic Magazine about Lima, Peru, where there is little rain but a persistent, clammy fog. Residents of Lima collect water from the nets they hang outside, on which the fog condenses into water droplets. Shaw uses this as a metaphor for the gathering of images and ideas for poems that link transcendent with immanent, as Malcolm Guite has commented, "heaven in the ordinary."
"One might argue with Heidegger that only in poetry—particularly the lyric poem—can Being achieve adequate articulation, find a "local habitation and a name," become known. For a poet of profound religious sensibility such as Luci Shaw, whose poems so brilliantly and movingly locate authentic Being in the forms and processes of nature, the lyric impulse often approaches the incarnational. At one point she writes, "Something sacramental speaks/in the rinsing of hard stone by mountain run-off." The same could be said of the elegantly crafted poems, word made flesh, in Harvesting Fog."—B. H. Fairchild, author, The Art of the Lathe
"Only a person who believes such a thing is possible would write a poem titled "Reconstruction." It's a risky, Godlike choice about beginning anew. The reader continues and understands she is to envision a long life through imaginative changes of lens. Light becomes a bookish beetle, the Infant Jesus is "a small sack of God," an idea is "a glitter of ash" to be flung over the ocean. We understand the the size of a blessing "crowds out everything but itself."—Jeanine Hathaway, author The Self as Constellation
"[Here is] a balance of perfect form and feeling, praise and gravity. Luci Shaw see in the natural world a dynamic incarnation of God's love. These poems have faith richly woven into the fabric of daily life and change—luminous, full of surprises and moments of delicious, holy mischief." —Betsy Sholl, Poet Laureate of Maine, author The Red Line, Rough Cradle
"Luci Shaw encourages in her readers the habit of awakening. Intensely personal, these poems draw deeply on the legacy she has embraced as an heir to Herbert, Hopkins, Dickinson and others whose shadows fall gently across her lines, giving them texture and adding to their quiet, contemporary beauty." —Marilyn McEntyre, author, The Color of Light
"Sacramental poems that offer nourishment for the starving, with a topping of delightful whimsy, a "bowlful of cool" in the face." —Paul Willis, author, Rosing From the Dead
"Acutely observed, full of fidelity to the nature of things, and yet each observation suggesting or opening towards something more than itself. Every patch of light is a word, a beginning...heaven in the ordinary." —Malcolm Guite, author Faith, Hope & Poetry
Breath for the Bones
Art, Imagination and Spirit:
A Reflection of Creativity and Faith
In the tradition of Madeleine L'Engle's Walking on Water and Dorothy Sayer's The Mind of the Maker, here is a rich and thought-provoking exploration of art, creativity, and faith. In this rich collection, Luci Shaw explores the intersection of the life of faith with the life of art. By helping the reader understand spiritual principles from looking at God's own creative life throughout Scripture and by providing the necessary tools for thinking Christianly about the arts, she challenges the artist in us all to ask how faith informs art, and how art can animate faith. Here is a fresh breath of encouragement to the imaginative mind…a clear guide to understanding both the theological framework of creativity and the call to be active participants in God's own creative life.
"Gentle and probing, rich in wisdom, and reflecting years of experience as a remarkable poet of faith, Luci Shaw's Breath for the Bones is worth pondering deeply. I commend it most warmly." —Jeremy Begbie, Associate Director, Institute of Theology, Imagination, and the Arts, University of St. Andrews
"'Beauty matters,' Luci Shaw says in this wide-ranging and lovely new book. Grounded in her lifelong commitment to art and faith, Breath for the Bones is part contemplation and part practical companion for artists of faith—giving readers wise and sustaining guidance for what may be the deepest journey they ever make." —Erin McGraw, Author of The Good Life
"Breath for the Bones is a marvelous repository for Luci Shaw's accumulated wisdom about literature and imagination as they intersect with the Christian faith." —Leland Ryken, Clyde S. Kilby Professor of English, Wheaton College
The Crime of Living Cautiously
Hearing God’s Call to Adventure
"Risk must be firmly grounded in trust. And trust, by definition, always includes risk, the risk of the unknown or the dangerous known. Reaching the riverbank and the safety of solid ground felt a bit like reaching heaven after an earthly life of belief in the midst of often perilous and uncertain circumstances." —from chapter one of The Crime of Living Cautiously
"Luci Shaw does not live cautiously—her life is an exuberant romp in the things of creation. Nor does she write cautiously—her poetry is a dive into the pool of spirited (Spirit?) language. This witness, a fusion of personal stories and revealing poems, welcomes us into the fullness into which Christ calls us." —Eugene Peterson, author of The Message.