Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Life and the seasons …

 Spending the Winter (Book Review) - CBMW. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Spending the Winter opens with a resurrection poem in which Bottum resolves the bloodshed of Drudic rites and ritualized pagan longings in Easter, just as Easter, in the northern hemisphere, divides winter from spring. Bottum’s primary interlocutor in this first piece is René Girard, to whom the poem is dedicated. Girard’s anthropological study of the relationship between communal violence and ritual religion (Violence and the Sacred, 1972) frames the poem’s argument: Bottum’s young daughter running through the barely blooming dogwoods embodies resurrection hope against the backdrop of human suffering, experienced acutely in pagan rites of “grief / By grief, pain by vengeful pain,” but also echoed in the modern world of wars and ecological disasters where “innocence will come to grief.”

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