Academic journal article The Hymn

Gathered for Worship: Fifty New Psalms and Hymns

Academic journal article The Hymn

Gathered for Worship: Fifty New Psalms and Hymns

Article excerpt

Gathered for Worship: Fifty New Psalms and Hymns by Carl P. Daw, Jr. Carol Stream, IL: Hope Publishing Company, 2006. 82 pp. ISBN 1-933710-01-2. U.S. $10.95.

Prior to the current volume, Carl Daw's last published collection of hymns appeared in 1996-not coincidentally, the year he became Executive Director of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada. Over the intervening decade, the energy he has devoted to cultivating the work of other hymnists has inevitably diminished his time for pursuing his own craft. Hence, the appearance of this new collection after a ten year hiatus is particularly welcomed.

Daw retrospectively credits the events of September 11, 2001, with prompting him to resume writing as a means of addressing contexts for which adequate texts are not easily found. The lyrics of his 9/11 hymn, penultimate in the alphabetically-arranged volume, apply all-too-aptly beyond their initially provoking occasion, poignantly confessing how in times of devastation, "We grope for words to pray / and hear our stammering tongues embrace / a timeless kyrie" (51). A "timeless kyrie" also resounds in Daw's eminentlyuseful paraphrases of the seven penitential psalms, written to address a diagnosed "paucity of available hymns of lament" in the current repertoire.

The psalms and hymns in the volume give unobtrusive but ample evidence of poetic skill. One who is looking for such details can admire the several texts written as acrostic poems; the occasional use of alliterative patterns in place of rhymes; the deft turns of phrase; the keen elaboration upon generally-unnoticed details in scriptural stories (the disciples who frugally gather up the fragments after Jesus' miracles of feeding; the Samaritan woman who, in her excitement at meeting Jesus, leaves her water jar behind). …

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