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Cary Howie

This chapter shows how several modern poets engage with the Middle Ages. For B. H. Fairchild and Rynn Williams, in particular, the medieval evokes desire, as well as the vulnerability of the desiring body. Through their poems, as well as those of Dante, Elizabeth Bradfield, and Marie Howe, the question of the body’s materiality is inseparable from the question of its fraught and fragile time. The chapter suggests that modern lyric might benefit from medievalist readers as much as medieval objects might benefit from the languages of lyricism.

in Transfiguring medievalism
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Cary Howie

This chapter addresses what theology might become when it is lyrically articulated: less dogmatic, more material; less sure of what it knows, more frank about what it desires. Through a sustained meditation on the work of poets Elizabeth Bradfield, Marie Howe, and Suzanne Paola, as well as that of theologians Josef Pieper and Herbert McCabe, it becomes possible to speak of the body and God, of sex and the sacred, as mutually disclosive. Theology has, for this chapter as for many of its sources, no proper language; the improprieties of lyric may, therefore, provide a particularly appropriate and attentive way of speaking the divine, no more or less than the human.

in Transfiguring medievalism
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Thomas is your boyfriend
Cary Howie
in Transfiguring medievalism
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Cary Howie

This chapter offers an invitation in the form of an imperative. “Make me” is, after all, both a gesture of resistance and a summons to creation. Through readings of Augustine, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Simone Weil, the chapter meditates upon the erotics of making and remaking. Finally, it turns to the praise of creation in the work of poets Wendell Berry and Kimberly Johnson, as praise of the world allows the world to become newly, differently visible. A praised world is, at least potentially, a remade world: it is a world transfigured.

in Transfiguring medievalism
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Cary Howie
in Transfiguring medievalism