Wiman goal’s here, as he notes in a gloss on A. R. Ammons’s “Hymn,” is to point out that the self’s continuity (whatever form that continuity takes) requires the self’s death—and that poetry states this requirement again and again. “I know if I find you I will have to leave the earth,” Ammons begins the poem—a sentiment, Wiman argues, that despite Ammons’s pantheism is gospel truth. “There is no religious paradox here,” Wiman continues: “‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die,’ wrote Bonhoeffer famously, who was echoing Christ himself, who in all three of the synoptic Gospels says that salvation lies in, and only in, loss.”The self that must die is the one we have created for ourselves, and its death does not bring about oblivion, but rather the fulfillment represented by the self God has intended for us.
Sunday, November 18, 2018
… Poetry, Oblivion, and God | The Russell Kirk Center. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)