These poems--selected from the past three decades--are firmly rooted in what Richard Wilbur called the "hunks and colors of the world." They faithfully try to take into account a world we did not make and, at the same time, record the terrifying and painful contradictions of human experience. And finally, they try to do so while remaining open to the intrinsic joy of being. These are poems rooted in the belief that words can invoke those presences which bring us back, again and again, to the fundamental experience of being: that there is something rather than nothing. The poems in A Word In My Mouth embody, as Czeslaw Milosz puts it, "the double life of our common human circumstance as beings in between the dust that we are and the divinity to which we would aspire."
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Over decades, Robert Cording has created a body of poetry that can bear serious comparison with the tradition of English-language spiritual poetry. What marks Cording as a poet in this tradition is his quiet insistence on the value of inwardness in an age devoted to external distraction and his willingness to keep examining and feeling. There is no epiphany mongering in these poems. Rather, there is commitment to the crucial nature of provisional truth." --Baron Wormser, author of Scattered Chapters
"I feel morally and temperamentally improved upon witnessing Cording's poetic witness--not because his instruction is in the least heavy-handed (quite the contrary), but because it is based in such profound and ultimately delighted observation and reflection. Of course, this wonderful author's work confronts the tragedies and reversals of human existence, but finally it echoes the scriptural injunction to recognize the day the Lord has made, to rejoice and be glad in it." --Sydney Lea, author of Six Sundays toward a Seventh
"Robert Cording's journey into faith has yielded some of the most important poems of the age. He articulates the darkest questions and deepest yearnings of the spirit, in stately lines that turn and return to his perennial theme: how to discover meaning in 'the silence between stitches,' which extends into eternity, through all the glories of this world--bird and tree and wave. . . . A Word In My Mouth is filled with such astonishments." --Christopher Merrill, author of The Tree of the Doves
Robert Cording teaches English and creative writing at College of the Holy Cross where he is the Barrett Professor of Creative Writing. He has published six collections of poems: Life-List, which won the Ohio State University Press/Journal award (1987); What Binds Us to This World (1991); Heavy Grace (1996); Against Consolation (2002); Common Life (2006); and his newest, Walking With Ruskin (2010).