My late grandmother, Tangerine Bell, published her first collection of poetry in 2017, at the age of 94. Her poems reflect a lifelong engagement with the genre, exploring themes of creativity, parenthood, love and sex, literature, religion, friendship and family relationships, and above all, the beauty and fascination of the natural world. Here are a couple of nice write-ups she received at the time:
Until now, her book has only been available as a paperback book. I am very happy to announce that I’ve just put together a new digital edition! She was so pleased to have put together her collection, and I am pleased in turn to make the e-book available.
Tangerine: Poems at 94 is available as a Kindle e-book from your Amazon storefront of choice (US | UK | CAN and others). And of course, for those who prefer physical books, the paperback is only a click away 🙂
A few weeks ago, I took Perpetua and Tertia to our local playground for an afternoon romp. As we were preparing to leave, I was listening to the sound of our feet on the asphalt path and a line of poetry—“I have become a connoisseur of footsteps, mostly mine”—sprang, whole, into my mind. “Hey,” I thought, “that’s in iambs! I should use it in a sonnet!” So I did.
“Solitary” has recently been published by Autumn Sky Poetry DAILY.
What is Christian work, and how are we to do it? What does it mean to “do all to the glory of God”? Is there a way to approach work as a Christian, even if you don’t work in an ecclesial profession? Is the necessity of work part of Adam’s curse, or something else? And what does it all have to do with imago Dei, or being “made in the image of God”? Well, I can tell you the answers to all those questions, because I wrote a book about them. Lex Operandi, Lex Credendi: Dorothy L. Sayers’s Theology of Work releases as an ebook tomorrow (!), Feb 1 2023, and is also currently available for pre-order. Click here to see everywhere it’s listed for sale.
This little book began its life as my master’s thesis project, a two-year labour of love. One of the first classes I took for my degree was entitled “Tongued with Fire,” and examined the literary and theological legacies of three writers: Dorothy L. Sayers, C. S. Lewis, and T. S. Eliot. For my final paper I looked at DLS’s theology of work as exemplified by a particular character in one of her plays — and as I put together my research it became very clear that this was a much richer topic than a 10-page paper could ever hope to deal with. It stayed with me, and when it was time to choose my thesis topic, a greater exploration of this theme seemed the obvious choice.
Lex Operandi, Lex Credendi opens with a biographical sketch and evaluation of Sayers’s literary and theological legacy. It then traces the development of her theology of work through several major texts: the novel Gaudy Night, the stage play The Zeal of Thy House, her philisophical-theological book The Mind of the Maker, and a number of essays and radio broadcast addresses. I also draw heavily on her correspondence — she was an engaging and prolific letter-writer — which were edited and collected in four volumes by Dr. Barbara Reynolds. It’s all great stuff (I’m biased, I know — but!) and Sayers’s approach to the question of work is one that I think is useful to Christians and to the Church, solidly rooted in Biblical theology and also intensely practical.
And that is my news! I wrote a book. People can buy it. Ta-daa!
When my grandfather died two autumns ago, I wrote some poems about it because that’s part of how I process things, and I started thinking about obituaries. There’s something absurdly reductive about them — trying to sum up an entire human life in a few inches of newspaper copy. Even the most well-written obits can only scratch the surface.
And then I thought — what if I leaned into that? What if I tried to push that inherent absurdity further? I had been wanting to try my hand at blackout poetry, which is a form where you take a found text and choose words from it to form a poem, blacking everything else out. And so that’s what I did with my grandfather’s obituary, which ended up, in this new version, a scant eight words long. They don’t say much, but for those who knew him, they unlock a greater recognition. And maybe that’s the point.
“Obituary” has been published by Months to Years in their Winter 2023 edition. (The page has a partial image in the header, so make sure to scroll down to see the whole thing.)
My poem “How to Read a Poem” is now available in the Winter 2023 edition of Plainsongs. You may purchase a print or digital edition here.
The poem is an extended metaphor, which maybe is not actually that helpful for people who don’t already read poetry! But if you don’t and would like to start, let me direct you to a post of mine from 2018: How to Start Reading Poetry. I firmly believe that just about everyone loved poetry as a child, until school beat it out of them — and that that same love can be regained. Maybe this will be the year!