Books – Poetry
"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.
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
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
Accompanied by Angels
Poems of the Incarnation
From the time she was a child in Toronto, celebrated poet Luci Shaw has sent Advent greetings to her friends and family, each with a carefully crafted original poem. What began as a youthful exercise has now become a beloved annual tradition. Though a number of these poems have appeared elsewhere, Accompanied by Angels gathers all of them for the first time into a collection for all readers for any season of the year.
Beginning with the joy, terror, and wonder of the annunciation, Shaw leads the reader on a poetic journey through the birth, life, and death of Jesus the Christ, culminating in the joyous and unexpected wonder of his resurrection. Her subjects run from the mundane to the sublime, from birds in flight and waiting old men to fiery angels and storm-ravaged ridges.
"These lucid, engaging narrative lyrics of both free and formal verse can serve as devotional reading for the devout or as compelling invitations to the seeker. Carefully crafted yet never pretentious or aloof, they bring the sacred close without denying its inexplicable mystery so that, reading them, we too may seem to be accompanied by angels." —Julia Kasdorf, author Eve's Striptease, and Sleeping Preacher
Listen to the Green
This first published book of Luci Shaw's poetry introduced readers to her love of green creation. The promise of these early poems has been amply fulfilled in the volumes to follow.
"Exquisite and moving. True poetry is rarely met with, I was quite brought under the spell of the real thing." —Calvin Linton, George Washington University.
"The poem titles announce a lithe, eclectic mind. The poems themselves reveal a close knowledge of Scripture, a wide-ranging responsiveness to human experience, a gleeful zest in word-craft...A lovely precision of diction and careful authenticity of emotion are prevailingly present." —Christianity Today
The Risk of Birth
A gift book of Christ-Poems
Madeleine L'Engle's poem The Risk of Birth, included in this anthology, sets the tone of these collected poems from twelve contemporary authors from C. S. Lewis to John Leax. The Incarnation, in all its glory and risk, is celebrated here, addressing questions such as: What did the Incarnation mean to Jesus and his Father? How does it affect the universe at large, including us? This slim volume provides us with simple and splendid views of history's focal event.
The Secret Trees
This second published book of poems by Luci Shaw burrows beneath the surface appearances of things to discover their essence. The title poem "Behind the Walls" honors the inner lives of trees cut down and milled for the skeleton of a house. Of the finished home she says: "Where others/notice siding, shutters, paint,/I shall see behind the walls/the secret trees/standing as straight and strong/as pines in the free groves outside."
"With each publication Luci Shaw makes it clearer that she belongs in the front rank of contemporary American poets...Her aesthetic insight invests the familiar with newness and poignance, often (in the manner of the Metaphysicals) by startling juxtapositions of seemingly discordant metaphors which, at the the planned moment, blend into a chord. Her compressed images burst, unfold, resonate, echo in the mind long after the poem is read." —Calvin Linton, The George Washington University
Campus Life Book of the Year, 1976
From the Fore Word: "John, on Patmos, opens his account of his astonishing revelation with these words from God: "Write what you see" and concluded with the same command: "Fear not...Write what you have seen."... Consciously or unconsciously most of my writing has sprung from an impulse rooted in this
mandate...People perish where there is no vision." —Luci Shaw
"Luci Shaw's sensibility is so thoroughly baptized that she can write about anything...and the effect will be a proclamation, direct or often indirect, of the Creator-God who gives us power to be creators in our turn. She has a formidable command of the tools of poetry...This is a seamless garment." —Chad Walsh, Editor, The Beloit Poetry Journal
A Widening Light
Poems of the Incarnation
"I can think of no other anthology which celebrates with such intensity the entire drama of the Christian faith. Here we have a host of poets praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest.' A Widening Light moves the reader through recognitions and meditations toward prayer." —Harold Fickett
"Luci Shaw has compiled perceptions both delicate and powerful of Jesus the baby prince, the Man, the golden Lion, Jesus Christ the Lord. For those who love poetry and those who think they don't, I recommend a slow and thoughtful reading of this lovely book. Each page reflects from a different angle the Light of the World.” —Elisabeth Eliot
"A Widening Light ranks as one of the very best anthologies of Christian poetry." —John H. Timmerman
Postcard from the Shore
With Shaw's own cover photograph of shells and foam, this volume of poems demonstrates the poet's passion for the sea and its creatures. A beach-comber, she collects whatever catches her eye, decorating her home with bowls and bottles full the ocean's gifts as reminders of the shore. Into this book she has welcomed, like shells and pebbles and driftwood, other diverse images, making of them objects of her art.
"Luci Shaw's sensuous and precise writing reflects a profound and experienced theology, and her haunting poems heighten our ability to be attentive to the lighted moments given us." —Corbin S. Carnell, Professor of English, University of Florida.
"Postcard's images take a sharp life and stay with me. This astonishing precision of sense makes the new immediately familiar, and the old immediately new." —Walter Wangerin, author, The Book of the Dun Cow, and the novels, Jesus, and Paul.
"This is no ordinary 'having-a-wonderful-time' postcard, though it is obvious that Luci Shaw does have a wonderful time with words. She pulls the reader into this collection with strong images and crisp language, which is its own type of word made flesh." —Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner, Dean of Arts and Sciences, Wheaton College.
Polishing the Petoskey Stone
This volume selects the best work from Shaw's four earlier volumes—Listen to the Green, The Secret Trees, Postcard from the Shore and The Sighting—and includes a number of new poems. First published by Shaw Books, it has been reprinted by Regent College Publishing, with a new cover photo by Luci Shaw, showing examples of a Petoskey stone—a fossilized coral found only in Michigan—which gives the book its title.
"Her animating intelligence descends into the concrete facts of our existence to discover the divine force that shapes the world and maintains it in being." —Harold Fickett, author, The Holy Fool, The Living Christ
"In Luci Shaw's poems each object, each event, is turned over in the poet's mind until its opaque surface is polished and luminous, revealing the hidden patterns within. Among her very best, these poems take their proper place with work selected from earlier volumes-a most happy and significant achievement and an occasion for celebration." —Robert Siegel, author, WhaleSong, A Pentecost of Finches
Writing the River
These poems were written during Luci Shaw's residence in Sudden Valley, near Bellingham, WA. Following her first husband's death she had built a small home in the woods, with a stream flowing under the deck outside her bedroom. This setting became, for a time, the metaphor of her new life.
"This creek is like my stream of consciousness. All day and all night it is in the background of my listening and thinking. It is there as I write, or stoke the woodstove, or sleep (dreaming), or make soup. I often peer out at it, or step onto the deck to listen to it, as if I need to check it... I think it is myself I am checking. It is my metaphor—intensely personal. I am writing a stream. I am living a creek." —from the Journal Entry Introduction.
"Writing the River traces the steps of a writer who cocks her ear to listen for reality. The book is a record of her search into everything—rivers and bread and closets—and sometimes, as if by miracle, she finds what she is looking for." —Jeanne Murray Walker, author, A Deed to the Light
The Angles of Light
New & Selected Poems
A poem is a small fragment of experience viewed close up. It hints, suggests, touches, probes without preaching or pushing too hard. Poems are doorways to the inner life of objects, experiences, relationships...the stuff of the extraordinary ordinary.
"In...The Angles of Light Luci Shaw transforms the details of mundane experience into the elements of sacramental life...the glistening stuff of our lives is revealed to partake of the very mysterion that will heal and save." —Scott Cairns, author of The Recovered Body
The Green Earth
Poems of Creation
The Green Earth: Poems of Creation is a unique and beautiful new book from poet Luci Shaw. Shaw's lines are generous and exacting. In her broad and beautiful introduction Shaw describes her intent to praise through observation. Shaw follows her goal with the delight and detailed awe of a child. Here, any vessel Shaw's words leap toward is illuminated by her radiant description. Truly, the precious is Shaw's topic. The real success of this book is that the world itself and each odd or potentially overlooked object in it become precious. The book is filled with green. Shaw's words pierce the camouflage of the natural world and guess, so eloquently, at the mystery behind, around and within it. As she says in "A Song for Simplicity", "For all that's timeless, untutored, untailored, and untooled/ for innocence unschooled/…for these, thank God." —Image A Journal of the Arts & Religion
New and Selected Poems
This beautiful gathering of contemporary lyric poems by best-selling author and poet Luci Shaw celebrates both the magnificence and the meaning of water in its myriad forms.
Water Lines includes sixty-three new and selected poems by Shaw, all reflecting the evocative nature of water. The steady hush of falling rain, the white noise of a waterfall, the glittering sounds of a fountain, the washing of ripples against rocks in a clear northern lake, the surging of a mountain stream—Shaw shows how these watery wonders refresh the ear and eye and, further, penetrate the soul.
As with all her poetry on creation, Shaw sees the invisible, thinks the universal, and finds in the natural world superb metaphors for human life: "I think it's the fluidity of water—the way it constantly renews itself—that reminds me of the possibility, and the need, for change and renewal." Water Lines vividly captures water's effects on our senses and invites us to explore this persistent reality, which "pools in the Creator's hand," Shaw says, "and falls, like blessing, on all our heads."
Filled with luminous images and insights, Water Lines is a book to give, to receive, to savor.
"This shining reservoir of poems confirms how deeply we thirst for the elemental. Luci Shaw offers us cup after cup of the wondrous cycle of water... With her keen insight and precise language she links us to earth, God, and others, her 'water lines' wrapping around us, making us more whole." —Jean Janzen, author The Upside Down Tree, Tasting the Dust
"These new and selected poems of Luci Shaw reveal what readers have long known: she is a poet whose seeing eye misses nothing, whose words capture visions. I read her work with wonder and delight." —John Leax, author, Out Walking, The Tabloid News
What the Light was Like
"This is what a sacramental poetry sounds like," says fellow poet Paul Mariani of Luci Shaw's new collection, What the Light Was Like. Shaw holds up both world and words to the light, revealing to us what has been there all along and teaching us how to see it for ourselves—with honesty, precision and patience.
"When William Stafford died, I wondered who there was to carry on in his spirit—humane, attentive, droll, faithful, and for whom writing was as natural as breathing. And, reading What the Light Was Like I see it has been Luci Shaw all along." —Mark Jarman, author, Body and Soul: Essays on Poetry
"In Luci Shaw's poems, which manage the almost impossible feat of being sacerdotal without being sanctimonious, God reveals himself through nature."
—Andrew Hudgins, author Babylon in a Jar