Deadline: 1 August 2012
Edited by Dr. Oliver V. Brennan and Dr. Todd Swift
For Publication by Eyewear Publishing 2013-14
Eyewear Publishing is planning to publish an anthology of new, mostly previously-unpublished poems, written in English, concerned with spiritual issues in this secular age, by persons of any faith, or none. Submissions will be welcomed via email as word documents, containing no more than three poems, and including contact details and a brief 100 word biographical note about the author.
One of the characteristics of our contemporary culture which is generally described as post-modern is the human search for the spiritual. The advent of post-modernity has been accompanied by the dawn of a new spiritual awakening. Many spiritual writers say that desire is our fundamental dis-ease and is always stronger than satisfaction. This desire lies at the centre of our lives, in the deep recesses of the soul. This unquenchable fire residing in all of us manifests itself at key points in the human life cycle. Spirituality is ultimately what we do about that desire. When Plato said that we are on fire because our souls come from beyond and that beyond is trying to draw it back to itself, he is laying out the broad outlines for a spirituality. Augustine made this explicitly Christian in his universally known phrase: ‘You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You’.
This new emphasis on and openness to the spiritual dimension of human existence which is characteristic of contemporary lived culture is accompanied by a new emergence of atheism - ‘The Rage against God’ – as well as a sometimes-aggressive secularism. Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are the two best-known exemplars of this in Western Europe. Perhaps the best response to this rage against belief in a Divine Power at work in the universe is a poetic one. In reply to people such as his brother Christopher and Dawkins, Peter Hitchens believes that passions as strong as theirs are more likely to be countered by ‘the unexpected force of poetry, which can ambush the human heart at any time’.
Hence we invite poets from around the world who can empathise with the new search for the spiritual to write about their belief, search or struggle with their quest for God (or a God), whether their image of God is what one young person described as ‘a creative energy that exists all around us, a life force’, the female image of God of the Old Testament, or the Abba (Father) image which lay at the core of the spirituality of Jesus of Nazareth, or indeed, some heretofore unimagined apprehension of the divine. The purpose of this collection is to awaken debate, create an imaginative discourse and generally open a space for religious poetic practices in the contemporary world, while at the same time refusing to delimit the horizon of the possible.
As poetry, and poets, have a long, rich, and no doubt complicated tradition of writing to, and about God (one needs only to think of Dante, Milton, Donne and Dickinson) and other issues surrounding faith, belief, and transcendence, the editors believe there should be no shortage of inspiring, inquiring, intriguing and imaginative poems available for readers at this challenging time in human history.
For inquiries/ submissions: contact Dr. Todd Swift at T.Swift@kingston.ac.uk