Madeleine L’Engle and the Poetry of Us

Madeleine L’Engle gets one of the “honourary Inklings” spots here on A Pilgrim in Narnia. A mythopoeic writer and creator of fantastic worlds, I know little about her poetry and adult novels. In this essay hosted by the Eclectic Orthodoxy blog, Alana Roberts talks about where L’Engle fits as a Christian poet. This essay is built upon a previous one that is a bit more technical. I hope you enjoy this Friday Feature.

Eclectic Orthodoxy

by Alana Roberts

Madeleine L’Engle as a poet doesn’t muddle herself into blah, kneel to politics, or contemplate evil. Yet she will never be considered by such as Harold Bloom to be a first-rate or canonical poet. For one thing, her poetry is flawed. It has virtues, but flaws as well. Not all her word choices are the inevitable choices. In fact, she once began a line with the term, “Aaaaaaargh!” (Perhaps there was an ‘a’ or two more; please don’t make me count!)

These flaws are probably present because, when it came to writing poetry, L’Engle’s method of composition was, scandalously, the irreverent one-off, as she tells her reader in a 1996 Mars Hill Review interview:

ML: Poetry is very different. I’ve written very little poetry since my husband died. Last summer I was traveling in Ireland and Scotland, and I wrote twelve sonnets. They just flowed out…

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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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8 Responses to Madeleine L’Engle and the Poetry of Us

  1. L.A. Smith says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Marvellous – I didn’t realize Madeleine L’Engle wrote poetry. More books to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. wanderwolf says:

    Thanks for sharing. The book A Wrinkle in Time gave me one of my first paradigm shifts that I can remember. Interesting to read about her as a poet and the interview.

    Like

  3. Pingback: Diana Butler Bass on C.S. Lewis and the Inklings | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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