Dreams and Images: An Anthology of Catholic Poets
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Edited by Joyce Kilmer
Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century and continuing through the destructive pall of World War I, there took place a tremendous revival of the Catholic literary movement. An integral part of that revival was the enormous output of poetry. These poems are not all “Catholic” poems in the sense of “religious” poems; there are also poems of love and of family, of war and of peace, of home and of exile. Yet each is properly a Catholic poem, as Joyce Kilmer explains: “For a Catholic is not a Catholic only when he prays; he is a Catholic in all the thoughts and actions of his life. And when a Catholic attempts to reflect in words some of the Beauty of which as a poet he is conscious, he cannot be far from prayer and adoration.”
The poet sees things hidden from other men, but he sees them only in dreams. A poet is (by the very origin of the word) a maker, but a maker of images, not a creator of life. (Joyce Kilmer)
Compiled by Kilmer on the very eve of his deployment, Dreams and Images: An Anthology of Catholic Poets presents the prolificacy of the early and middle phases of the Catholic Literary Revival and the poetic spirit of a bygone age. Represented in the ranks are: Francis Thompson, Coventry Patmore, and Lionel Johnson; John Henry Newman, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Hugh Benson; Frederick William Faber and Alice and Wilfrid Meynell; Aubrey De Vere, Padraic Colum, and Hilaire Belloc; Katherine Tynan, Agnes Repplier, and Thomas Walsh; Joseph Plunkett, John Bannister Tabb, and Maurice Francis Egan; and others of equal note.
Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918) was an American poet and writer and a Catholic convert. He enjoyed wide success as a lecturer, produced three volumes of poetry and two of essays and criticism, and married his college sweetheart, Aline Murray (with whom he had five children). World War I brought an abrupt end to this full life and thriving career: Kilmer enlisted and was deployed to France, where he died by sniper fire at the Second Battle of the Marne.
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