What Do Poetry and Prayer Have in Common

Lovely reading

Creo en Dios!

Diane Roth, who is an associate pastor of one of the Lutheran churches in the Twin Cities (Woodlake Lutheran), wrote a blog post recently that began with the confession that although she loves both poetry and prayer, she doesn’t feel that she is particularly good at either one. Nonetheless, emulating some of her favorite poets, many of whose poems really are prayers (Mary Oliver and Denise Levertov are the examples she gave), she said she had been writing occasional “haiku prayers” over the last year or so. This activity prompted her to reflect on what poetry and prayer might have in common.

She suggested three ways the two are similar. The first is that both “have a necessary honesty.” A good poem, Roth suggested, “is, above all, honest. It doesn’t pull punches. It tells the truth. In fact, poetry is one way of getting deeper into truth, an expression of…

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