Finding the World’s Fullness: On Poetry, Metaphor, and Mystery
by Robert Cording
164 pp. | November 2019
Hardcover (978153689666) $26
Paperback (9781532689659) $18
eBook (9781532689673) $9.99
Forty years as a poet has kept Robert Cording looking at the details of everyday experience, at what Richard Wilbur called the “hunks and colors of the world.” That long labor has brought him face-to-face with the inescapable (and inscrutable) complexity of a world that is full of suffering and injustice. And grace.
This journey has convinced him that, as Czeslaw Milosz puts it, “poetry embodies 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.” But Cording believes that we live in a time when the language of religion has been emptied of much of its former significance. His task has therefore been to evoke what he calls “the primordial intuitions of Christianity”: that we live in a world we did not create; that God’s immanent presence is capable of breaking in on us at every moment; that most of the time we cannot “taste and see” that presence because we live in a world of self-reflecting mirrors; that only by attention alone can we live in the world but outside of our existing conceptions of it.
The reflections in Finding the World’s Fullness—comprising not only thoughts on metaphor but also close readings of poets ancient and modern, including George Herbert, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Bishop, and Stanley Kunitz—suggest that, as Richard Wilbur puts it, “The world’s fullness is not made but found.”
Robert Cording has published eight collections of poems, the most recent of which are Walking With Ruskin, Only So Far and a new poetry book, Without My Asking. He taught for 38 years at Holy Cross College and now serves as a poetry mentor in the MFA program at Seattle Pacific University.