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ss triple helix - summer 2014,  Knowing through poetic reflection

Knowing through poetic reflection

Brian Wakeman
Penn Press, 2013, £7.99, Pb 280pp, ISBN 9781780036175
Reviewed by John Martin, CMF Head of Communications

Quite a few books of poems cross the Triple Helix editor's desk. Most are simply random collections. Here is something different, a poet who supplies notes alongside his offerings, to assist preachers and speakers to use the poems to inform and educate as well as to entertain. There are questions for reflection at the end of each chapter and substantial references and bibliographies. In the final chapters the author shares his methodology for deriving teaching from poems. Useful stuff indeed for speakers/preachers looking for models that will help them use poetry.

The author, who has links with Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, makes a serious case for rehabilitating poetry as tool for teaching. The art of using poetry for mission and communication of the faith is somewhat lost in our times.

Another cogent factor that makes this volume credible is the quality of the poems themselves. I love, for example, the author's tongue in cheek take on The Capable Woman (Proverbs 31). She is energetic, capable, a completer-finisher, relational, gives time to her offspring, holding down a demanding job. The sting in the tail, however, is that as she climbs exhausted between the sheets at the end of the day, she remembers: she's forgotten her quiet time.

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