Joy: Poet, Seeker, and the Woman Who Captivated C. S. Lewis
by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Product rating: 5.0 with 3 reviews
The first full biography of Joy Davidman brings her out from C. S. Lewis’s shadow, where she has long been hidden, to reveal a powerful writer and thinker.
Joy Davidman is known, if she is known at all, as the wife of C. S. Lewis. Their marriage was immortalized in the film Shadowlands
and Lewis’s memoir, A Grief Observed
. Now, through extraordinary new documents as well as years of research and interviews, Abigail Santamaria brings Joy Davidman Gresham Lewis to the page in the fullness and depth she deserves.
A poet and radical, Davidman was a frequent contributor to the communist vehicle New Masses
and an active member of New York literary circles in the 1930s and 40s. After growing up Jewish in the Bronx, she was an atheist, then a practitioner of Dianetics; she converted to Christianity after experiencing a moment of transcendent grace. A mother, a novelist, a vibrant and difficult and intelligent woman, she set off for England in 1952, determined to captivate the man whose work had changed her life.
Davidman became the intellectual and spiritual partner Lewis never expected but cherished. She helped him refine his autobiography, Surprised by Joy,
and to write his novel Till We Have Faces.
Their relationship—begun when Joy wrote to Lewis as a religious guide—grew from a dialogue about faith, writing, and poetry into a deep friendship and a timeless love story.
Posted in Poetry Tagged with: Captivated, HOUGHTON MIFFLIN HARCOURT, Lewis, Poet, Seeker, Woman
Crowded by Beauty: The Life and Zen of Poet Philip Whalen
by: University of California Press
Product rating: 3.7 with 3 reviews
Philip Whalen was an American poet, Zen Buddhist, and key figure in the literary and artistic scene that unfolded in San Francisco in the 1950s and ’60s. When the Beat writers came West, Whalen became a revered, much-loved member of the group. Erudite, shy, and profoundly spiritual, his presence not only moved his immediate circle of Beat cohorts, but his powerful, startling, innovative work would come to impact American poetry to the present day.
Drawing on Whalen’s journals and personal correspondenceparticularly with Ginsberg, Kerouac, Snyder, Kyger, Welch, and McClure David Schneider shows how deeply bonded these intimates were, supporting one another in their art and their spiritual paths. Schneider, himself an ordained priest, provides an insider’s view of Whalen’s struggles and breakthroughs in his thirty years as a Zen monk. When Whalen died in 2002 as the retired Abbot of the Hartford Street Zen Center, his own teacher referred to him as a patriarch of the Western lineage of Buddhism. Crowded by Beauty chronicles the course of Whalen’s life, focusing on his unique, eccentric, humorous, and literary-religious practice.
Posted in Authors Tagged with: Beauty, Crowded, Life, Philip, Poet, University of California Press, Whalen