From the Editor. Along with Danny Olinger, as you will read in his review of the latest Larry Woiwode offering, I, too, have a poignant memory of Larry. Years ago, a neighbor, who was a Shakespearean actor and lover of all things literary, alerted me to a gathering of poets laureate from all over the United States in New Hampshire. Among them was poet-novelist Larry Woiwode, whom my friend recognized as someone I admired, and whom he had read in The New Yorker years ago. Larry was—and still is—the poet laureate of North Dakota and was back then struggling in his literary career. One Friday afternoon I traveled to our capitol, Concord, New Hampshire, to hear Larry read. I had met him at a general assembly in the 1980s, shortly after his conversion, but had never heard him read. He read with an elocution and presence that I shall never forget.
He ended up staying the night with us and reciting a Shakespeare sonnet on our deck in the presence of our neighbor. The next day he recited a section from Richard III at the annual Shakespeare sonnet reading at Saint Anselm College during the open mike intermission. The audience awoke quickly from its time-out mode to listen in astonishment to the powerful recitation. This reawakened my interest in the oral recitation of poetry and renewed my desire to write it. It also reinvigorated my interest in the reading of fiction as an important avocation for Christians, and for church officers particularly. Larry and I talked late into the night about his experiences with the literary apathy of pastors.
With this same concern, veteran professor of English literature Leland Ryken offers a powerful apologia for the reading of English literature, not just as an idle pastime, but as a vital part of the pastor’s life and ministry in “Why Read Literature?” I also review a unique book designed to assist pastors in this endeavor, authored by Leland Ryken, his son Philip, and pastor Todd Wilson, titled Pastors in the Classics.
I think you will enjoy Danny Olinger’s review of Woiwode’s latest collection of essays, The Word Made Fresh. It covers a delightful range of literary topics in a most well-crafted way.
Don’t miss Diane Olinger’s review of Tony Reinke, Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books. The number of such guides by Christian authors in recent years is encouraging. One of the best of this genre is Louise Cowan’s and Os Guinness’s An Invitation to the Classics (1998). Next month I hope to review a book with a slightly different take on this topic, Alan Jacob’s The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction.
Finally, don’t miss the literary craftsmanship of one poet, Richard Crashaw, recommending the lyrical, sacred masterpiece of another, George Herbert.
From the Archives "LITERATURE"
Ordained Servant exists to help encourage, inform, and equip church officers for faithful, effective, and God glorifying ministry in the visible church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its primary audience is ministers, elders, and deacons of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, as well as interested officers from other Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Through high quality editorials, articles, and book reviews we endeavor to stimulate clear thinking and the consistent practice of historic, confessional Presbyterianism.