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The Hanging God

The Hanging God


By James Matthew Wilson

84 pp

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“In The Hanging God, James Matthew Wilson mines the landscape of contemporary American life for images to reflect its moral ravages. Raw in their affective power, Wilson’s narratives avoid ambiguity in matters of faith without sacrificing complexity of feeling, compassion, and self-examination. Strippers, divorcees, corporate accountants move among dumpsters, barrooms, bedfellows, beer bottles, and Excel spreadsheets, while the poet examines our confused postmodern responses to these tragicomic figures: would I ‘weep or smile’ at their worldly losses? Yet the narrator of these poems calls a sin a ‘sin’ and does not allow his readers to make excuses for our moral weaknesses.”


founding editor of Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry

“To read The Hanging God is to experience the ordinary world transformed by sly artfulness into a place filled with mystery and meaning. James Matthew Wilson is a poet who works like a priest, rendering the elements of quotidian life—its sublime gifts and severe mercies alike—into bearers of sacramental grace. Wilson sees deeper than we do; and in these poems, with lucidity both stark and humane, he reveals profundity hidden beneath everydayness.”


author of The Benedict Option and How Dante Can Save Your Life

“Like some delicious reduction of balsamic or wine, Wilson’s poems are novels distilled into verse. They marry senses with narrative, scandals with sacraments, and, always, form with meaning. Because Wilson gives voice to the idols of our culture, the poems are Walker Percy-esque, occasionally moaning in despair. Yet, these sounds are echoed by hope offered from allusions to our neglected, often ancient, past. Both beautiful and haunting, this collection deserves to be savored.”


author of Reading Walker Percy’s Novels

“How good to be reading a grown-up poet! No virtue-signaling in this poetry, though it’s full of the harshest, most violent and liberating moral wisdom. None of the croon of fashionable free verse, but instead, complex fractured metrical forms and crazy rhymes that distort language until it squirts out its real meaning. No pandering to the niceness of the poetic audience, but prophetic bluntness that breaks our expectations and makes them gash gold vermilion.”


author of Apocalypse: An Epic Poem

About the Author

James Matthew Wilson is the author of nine previous books, including The Hanging God (Angelico, 2018) and Some Permanent Things (Wiseblood, 2018). Wilson serves as poetry editor of Modern Age magazine, the series editor of Colosseum Books, and the Director of the Colosseum Summer Institute. He is associate professor of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University, and Poet-in-Residence of the Benedict XVI Institute.

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