Magazine article U.S. Catholic

A Gathering of Larks

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

A Gathering of Larks

Article excerpt

A GATHERING OF LARKS

By Abigail Carroll (Eerdmans, 2017)

The narrator of Abigail Carroll's collection of epistle poems is a modern woman who has chosen an unlikely pen pal: St. Francis of Assisi. The 12th-century son of a cloth merchant turned lover of the poor and nature, St. Francis has become more mythic than most saints--a group whose legends already blur their realities.

Carroll doesn't bring Francis down to earth--at least not in the way of neutering his original nature as Jongleur de Dieu, or God's Fool. Instead, she brings him to life by sending poetic missives to the itinerant friar. "The showerhead is broken," she begins. So she's been ladling faucet water over her body, the motion "a slow, monk-like cupping / and pouring," with each "downflow, / a baptism." Elsewhere she gardens in the attempt to "resurrect the earth with chives, / Swiss chard, basil, beans," pleasantly "learning to have faith / in seeds." God in all things. …

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