My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer

by Christian Wiman




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Publisher Unknown


"Composed in the difficult years since [having written a now-famous essay about having faith in the face of death] and completed in the wake of a bone marrow transplant, [this book] is a ... meditation on what a viable contemporary faith--responsive not only to modern thought and science but also to religious tradition--might feel like"--Dust jacket flap.

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User reviews

LibraryThing member Laurenbdavis
This is an utterly astonishing book -- complex, thoughtful, elegaic, Wiman's book of essays are a profound medication on faith and poetry and the search for meaning. Wiman, the editor of POETRY magazine wrote the book during a period when he was undergoing treatment for incurable cancer (he is in remission, although not cured).

There are few books I've underlined as much as this one. His essays are complicated and never offer simple answers, either to questions of faith or art. He often recedes into the shadows of poetry -- his own and that of others -- to find the language of clarity he seeks to explore the concepts of an afterlife. He says, "You must let go of all conception of what eternity is, which means letting go of you you are, i order to feel the truth of eternity and its meaning in your life--and in your death." and "What do you do, what do you say, what in the world are you going to believe in when you are dying? It is not enough to act as if when the wave is closing over you, and that little whiff of the ineffable you get from meditation or mysticism is toxic to the dying man, who needs the rock of one real truth." Indeed.

Wiman is able to articulate concepts about time and God and Christ without proselytizing and in such a way as to be useful to anyone asking the Big Questions; one needn't be Christian.

I am deeply affected by this book -- both comforted and provoked -- and I know I'll refer to it often. I'll end with one of Wiman's final thoughts:

"So much of faith has so little to do with belief, and so much to do with acceptance. Acceptance of all the gifts that God, even in the midst of death, grants us. Acceptance of the fact that we are, as Paul Tillich says, accepted. Acceptance of grace."
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LibraryThing member wishanem
The book offers a modern poet's perspectives on Christianity and death. It is often confusing, but many of the topics involved are inherently difficult to think about. The author offers a very intimate view on his personal struggles and journey to faith. I found it touching, even when I wasn't particularly sure what was going on.… (more)
LibraryThing member francis30
Joyful, sorrowful, and beautifully written, My Bright Abyss is destined to become a spiritual classic, useful not only to believers but to anyone whose experience of life and art seems at times to overbrim its boundaries. How do we answer this “burn of being”? Wiman asks. What might it mean for our lives—and for our deaths—if we acknowledge the “insistent, persistent ghost” that some of us call God?… (more)
LibraryThing member b.masonjudy
Wiman's collection of essays on his faith, poetry, theology, pain and suffering, and facing the stark reality of death is a truly moving read. The poet captures ideas and ways of being in the world, oriented toward God and life. I finished this book in a particular kind of awe, the sensation when an author speaks your own thoughts to you in a way that is far more beautiful than you could've articulated them yourself.… (more)
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