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R. S. Thomas
Poetry and Theology

By William V. Davis

R. S. Thomas
Paperback, 235 pages $39.95
Published: 1st July 2007
ISBN: 9781932792492
Format: 9in x 6in

Subjects: All Literature, All Religious Studies, Religion & Literature

This volume celebrates the work of the Welsh poet R. S. Thomas (1913-2000) and illuminates the theological implications of this famous twentieth-century poet-priest's pilgrimage. By providing detailed readings of individual poems, Davis explores the depth and imagination of Thomas's profound theological vision.

1 Poetry in Theological Crisis

2 Finding and Following R. S. Thomas

3 Agnostic Faith

4 Poet-Priest and the Apocalyptic Mode

5 Mirrors and Mirror Imagery

6 Gaps in the Poetry of R. S. Thomas

7 Fathers and Sons

8 The Quarrel with Technology

9 R. S. Thomas and Soren Kierkegaard

10 R. S. Thomas and Wallace Stevens


"This book is a long-matured and loving conversation with the poet R. S. Thomas. Each chapter explores the nature of faith, themes, and images in his writing, as well as those of other writers and thinkers with whom Thomas himself conversed, above all Kierkegaard and Wallace Stevens. The extraordinary energy of this work emerges from repeated, delicate forays into the poems themselves. From the fabric of Thomas's poetry and its dense, dark and complex background in the poet's religious faith, we are led on a pilgrimage which is that of the poet and reader, together and separately."

--David Jasper, University of Glasgow

"If all poetry is in some sense religious, what place is there for poetry that engages with the theological? William Davis helps to answer that question as it emerges from the poetry of R.S. Thomas. Davis deftly guides the reader through some key theological sites in Thomas's work to help the reader to understand how Thomas struggled with the same issues that faced such poets as Mathew Arnold and Wallace Stevens, while still occupying an outpost in the Christian tradition that his predecessors had abandoned. This volume works through a series of thematic and contextual cruxes in Thomas's poetry that together illuminate some of the poetic costs and rewards of remaining engaged with faith. In the process, we are reminded why Thomas is a poet who must be listened to, and so deserves his rank among the greatest of all poets, whether self-consciously 'religious' or not."

--Tim McKenzie, Anglican Chaplaincy, University of Wellington, New Zealand

William V. Davis (Ph.D. Ohio University) is Professor of English and Writer-in-Residence at Baylor University.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 235 pages
 9in x 6in

 Baylor University Press

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