Poetry at Beinecke Library

Beinecke Welcomes Christain Wiman

Posted in Announcements, Poetry at Yale by beineckepoetry on January 11, 2013

Christian Wiman Joins Yale Faculty: http://www.yale.edu/ism/academics/WimanJoinsFacutly.html


Martin Jean has announced the appointment of Christian Wiman to the faculty of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music as Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature. The first five-year term of the joint appointment with Yale Divinity School begins July 1, 2013.

Christian Wiman is one of the most significant names in the poetry world today. Raised in West Texas, he was educated at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. He has taught at Stanford, Northwestern, and the Prague School of Economics, and for the last decade has served as editor of Poetry, the oldest monthly devoted to verse in the English-speaking world. Under Wiman’s leadership, the magazine experienced significant growth in both readership and content. In 2007, the New York Times described his editorship as one of “enthusiastic adventurousness, publishing a wide range of poetic styles, turbo-charging the back of the book with essays…and reviews engaged in debate both lively and dead serious.”

Christian Wiman is the author, translator, or editor of seven books. His most recent book of poems, Every Riven Thing (FSG, 2010), won the Commonwealth Prize from the English Speaking Union and was a finalist for the Kingsley-Tufts Prize. It was named one of the ten best poetry books of the year by the New Yorker and by the National Post in Canada. His translations of Osip Mandelstam are collected in Stolen Air (Ecco, 2012); and a new book of non-fiction, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in the spring.

His work has received wide acclaim. Writer Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts (2003-2009) states that Christian Wiman is “one of the most important American poets and poetry critics now active. He is a writer of depth, ambition, and originality. There is no one in his generation for whom I have a higher regard.” The Pulitzer prizewinner Marilynne Robinson writes, “The thing that impresses me most [about Wiman’s work]…is that faith, with all its complexities, really matters to him. He need not have made it his subject… That Wiman does so means that his poetry and his scholarship have a purifying urgency that is rare in this world. This puts him at the very source of theology, and enables him to say new things in timeless language, so that the reader’s surprise and assent are one and the same.”

Beyond his accomplishments as poet and essayist, Wiman’s perspective on the Christian theological tradition is profound. David J. Rothman (First Things) writes that Christian Wiman is “one of the preeminent devotional poets of any faith now writing in English.” Of Every Riven Thing, Dana Jennings (The New York Times) reports that it is an “ecstatic ruckus worthy of Gerard Manley Hopkins, who also tasted the tears in things—and the holy too.” He has been interviewed by Bill Moyers and Krista Tippett, and recently appeared on the PBS NewsHour.

Wiman will join Prof. Peter Hawkins in teaching courses on subjects at the intersection of theology and literature, one of the cornerstones of the Institute’s interdisciplinary curriculum. Wiman’s extraordinary gifts as poet, teacher, critic, and editor will make him a natural partner in the musical, liturgical, and artistic life of the Institute, nurturing the formation of future preachers, theologians, and scholars in the Divinity School, and enhancing intellectual life throughout the Yale community.

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