In my last post I told you about our bookselling trip to the CIVA conference, and included some links to several of the more prominent artists that were in attendence. Of course I only offered a few; if you want to get in touch with other artists, perhaps to buy a piece or commission something, CIVA can arrange connections. Perhaps you need a speaker on this topic, or just want to be supportive of these faithful and creative saints, maybe connecting with someone in your region. I hope that my last post, besides keeping you informed of our whereabouts and telling you about some of the best books we’re thinking about this week, will get CIVA folks onto your radar screen (as the modern adage puts it.)
Click here for a very thoughtful description of the event written by John Wilson of Books & Culture.
Modern adages. Words. Creativity. Faith. Luci Shaw is a patron saint of this stuff, herself a poet (and proud, dues-paying member of CIVA, by the way.) Many of us have read her work for years, espeically her wonderful poetry. We carry plenty of her poem collections here at the shop and we still stock her (hard to come by) book on grief, God in the Dark. She and her good friend Madeleine L’Engle comforted one another over the losses in their lives, and have written books together about being sister soul mates. (A Prayerbook for Spiritual Friends.) If you don’t know Luci’s work, but like authors we mention here (like L’Engle or Eugene Peterson, say) you simply must get a hold of some of her books.
Her brand new one was one we featured at the CIVA event, and, although her art is crafting words, and not so much a painterly one, the vision is the same. Somewhat like the little modern classic, Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art by the aforementioned L’Engle, Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit offers Holy Spirited breath, for sure, the sort of breath that can inspire artistry of the highest sort. Excellent, thoughtful, prophetic, allusive, honest, cheerful, real— these are words that describe the sort of interplay between her deepest faith and the ways in which she has lived out the artistic calling. It sounds rather simple, but she is profound when she reminds us that imagination and spirituality “work in tandem, each feeding on and nourishing the other.” Faith informs art and art enhances faith. She draws heavily in this on her beloved C.S. Lewis and, happily, quotes her own poetry often (using these as examples of her points, ways further in to her teaching about these matters of allowing faith to animate our artful doings.)
That this wise book includes discussion questions for group reflection and writing excercises makes it useful for small reading clubs, creative groups or for personal consideration. It is very inspiring, a delight to recommend and a joy to sell. I hope you know her earlier work, but if not, this is a perfect place to come to know this wonderful and remarkable friend, Luci Shaw.
Breath for the Bones: Art, Imagination and Spirit Luci Shaw (Nelson) $19.99, hardcover.
Breath for the Bones