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Does the art of poetry reveal mysteries otherwise hidden?

Hymns, monologues and short lyrics engage readers to explore the mysteries of faith and love in new book

SAN FRANCISCO — Expressing human existence and the mysteries of faith and love through poetry has been a staple of humanity for centuries. Even when humans did not read or write, stories put to songs were passed on through generations. THE HUNDREDFOLD, a collection of not only hymns, monologues and short lyrics, but also a lengthy introduction to the art of poetry by Anthony Esolen, tackles this art with precision and knowledge.

“Art reveals to us the mysteries of our existence, or perhaps reveals to us for the first time that there are mysteries at all,” writes Esolen in the introduction as he weaves insights into English poetic form at a time when form is so misunderstood, if not completely dismissed.

Having made a career translating the Italian masters Dante and Tasso, Esolen now puts on the dusty mantle of such English craftsmen as Donne, Milton and Hopkins in his first book of original contemplative poetry. THE HUNDREDFOLD contains dramatic monologues set in first-century Greece and Palestine; lyrical meditations on creation, longing, failure, modern emptiness and unshakeable hope; and twenty-one brand-new hymns, set to such traditional melodies as “Picardy” and “Old One-Hundred-Twenty-Fourth.”

THE HUNDREDFOLD is knit together as one book-length poem in praise of Christ in all his startling humanity. Drawing from the riches of the English poetic tradition — meter, rhyme, music — the poet considers the mysterious man from Nazareth and the world he came to set on fire with splendor. The book provides an invaluable resource for students, teachers and poets themselves, as well as those who simply read poetry for pleasure.

“In an age of ugliness and transgression, beauty is an act of mercy, a sanctification of the human experience,” said Most Reverend Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., archbishop of Philadelphia. “In creating this exceptional work of poetry and song in praise of Jesus Christ, Esolen offers readers an experience of beauty as life-giving as water in a desert.”

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For more information, to request a review copy or to schedule an interview with Anthony Esolen, please contact Kevin Wandra (404-788-1276 or [email protected]) of Carmel Communications.

 

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