Extranatural Ideas

"All true poetry is religious poetry —all poems are prayers — but not in the sense of a belief in or worship of a god or a supernatural power," says Kevin Bezner. He adds that true or sincere poems, by their very nature, always reflect a poet's faith, commitment, desire to commune, conscientiousness and devotion "in both the language and the experience that must be expressed."

This does not have to involve a belief in the afterlife. "Some poets I admire believe in a god, others don't," Bezner says. "Blake, Dickinson and Donne are Christian poets whose writing is always informed by their faith no matter what they are writing about. Donne's poems of reverence, for instance, are matched by his wonderfully sensual, erotic and just-as-religious love poems, among the best in English. All three of these poets transcend their Christianity to take their readers to a place that is essentially nameless, but which seems full of light, the only way I can describe it."

Bezner says he has found the same light in the secular Chinese Confucian poet Tu Fu and the Japanese Buddhist haiku master Basho. He also cites masters of other arts, including the composer Mozart and the painter Van Gogh.

"What all of these great artists have found," he observes, "is some thing that is most human while connecting human beings to all things."

Describing his perspective, Bezner says that he hopes his poems show "reverence for the world in which we live, those things many of us, including me at a different time and when I am not mindful, overlook." Bezner adds that he tries to express reverence without overstatement as concisely as possible, as in this minipoem:

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