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Reading Recommendations from the Catholic Imagination Conference

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I would like to wrap up my reflections about Fordham’s Catholic Imagination Conference, which are part of Church Life Journal’s discussion of what the “Catholic imagination” is, with the following anecdote:

I raised my hand during the conference panel about Catholic poets. I asked the three panelists if they had any advice for a young poet.

The group reached a strong consensus with, “Just read everything.”

Members of the audience warmly chuckled and affirmed the clear earnestness of this command.

As I begin living out this advice I offer the following list of reading recommendations so that those who were not able to attend the conference themselves may read along the weekend’s trains of thought.

This list includes works written by the panelists themselves, works that serve as examples of the Catholic imagination at work, and works often referenced in speeches and readings that clearly have served as wellsprings for the imagination.

  • Spill Simmer Falter Wither, by Sara Baume
  • Imago Dei: Poems from Christianity and Literature, by Jill Baumgaertner
  • Diary of a Country Priest, by Georges Bernanos
  • Poetry and Theology in the Modernist Period, by Anthony Domestico
  • Waiting for Snow in Havana, by Carlos Eire
  • Tradition and the Individual Talent,” by T.S. Eliot
  • 99 Poems, New and Selected, by Dana Gioia
  • Can Poetry Matter?: Essays on Poetry and American Culture, by Dana Gioia
  • The Windhover Journal, edited by Dr. Nathaniel Hansen
  • She Loves Me Not: New and Selected Stories, by Ron Hansen
  • Heaven Haven,” by Gerard Manley Hopkins
  • Spain in Our Hearts, by Adam Hochschild
  • “Art and Sacrament,” by David Jones
  • Letter to Artists,” by Pope John Paul II
  • Epitaphs for the Journey: New, Selected and Revised Poems, by Paul Mariani
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins: A Life, by Paul Mariani
  • Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, edited by Dr. Mary Ann Miller
  • Still Pilgrim: Poems, by Angela Alaimo O’Donnell
  • Why I Write,” by George Orwell
  • The Selected Poems of Jessica Powers, by Jessica Powers
  • Prayers of a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Mark Burrows
  • Gilead, Home, and Lila, by Marilynne Robinson
  • Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God,” by Simone Weil
  • Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, by Rebecca West
  • Essays of E. B. White, by E. B. White

Featured Image: Circle of Giorgione, The Tallard Madonna (detail), c. 1510; Source: Wikimedia Commons, PD-Old-100.

Madeline Lewis

Madeline Lewis graduated from Notre Dame in 2017 after majoring in English and Theology. She currently lives in Oxford, Ohio, where she is pursuing an M.F.A. in Poetry from Miami University. She writes poetry about bakers, whales, and little plants, among other extraordinary ordinary things.