From Shade to Shine: New Poems (Paperback)

From Shade to Shine: New Poems By Jill Peláez Baumgaertner Cover Image
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This collection of poems begins in the growing darkness of November, stretches through Advent and the seasons leading to Easter and to Pentecost, and ends in the budding light of the Scottish Orkney Islands, where the canonical hours measure time over centuries and where God broods over an austere and beautiful landscape. The measurement of time passing and returning, year after year, in the rhythms of the seasons and of the liturgical year, create the pace and the song. But in the biblical voices of Magdalene, Mary, Abel, and Eve, and in the grim historical and political realities of war and suffering, one also hears lament and finds the poet’s clear-eyed gaze straight into life’s challenges. Memory is at work here, too, in personal reminiscences and in theological reflection. As one philosopher has said, “All truth is God’s truth.” 

From Shade to Shine is published under Paraclete Press's Iron Pen imprint. In the book of Job, a suffering man pours out his anguish to his Maker. From the depths of his pain, he reveals a trust in God's goodness that is stronger than his despair, giving humanity some of the most beautiful and poetic verses of all time. Paraclete's Iron Pen imprint is inspired by this spirit of unvarnished honesty and tenacious hope.

About the Author

Jill Peláez Baumgaertner received her BA and PhD from Emory University. She taught at Valparaiso University and joined the faculty of Wheaton College in 1980. She is the author of five collections of poetry, including Finding Cuba, an exploration of her Cuban ancestry, and What Cannot Be Fixed. She has also edited a collection of poetry, Imago Dei: Poetry from Christianity and Literature; written a textbook/anthology, Poetry; and published Flannery O’Connor: A Proper Scaring, still in print after thirty years. She was a Fulbright fellow to Spain, served as the poetry editor of The Cresset and First Things and currently serves as poetry editor of The Christian Century. She is also past president of the Conference on Christianity and Literature and is Professor Emerita of English and former Dean of Humanities and Theological Studies at Wheaton College. She has written libretti and lyrics for the music of Carl Schalk, Michael Costello, Richard Hillert, and Michael Gandolfi. She and her husband, Martin, a retired judge, live in Chicago. 

Praise For…

“In turns elegiac, documentary, and celebratory, Jill Peláez Baumgaertner has allowed her fervent meditations to be overheard, and has thereby enlisted us in joining a prayerful dialogue with God, and with one another. At every turn, she manifests an understanding that the poetic operation of language—those parabolic structures that allow our speaking more than we know to say—is one’s best path to apprehending within the Most a surpassing All.” —Scott Cairns, author of Slow Pilgrim: The Collected Poems

“For one seeking to come out from the darkness and into the light, that journey could well begin and end with Jill Peláez Baumgaertner’s new book. Her poems remind me that words on a page harbor and invite the divine Word; that the poem can be crucible and crucifix to fix and transfix the eternal; that the destination of all our journeys is to shuck the seeds of shade inside us and enter fully into the shine of His light.” —Valerie Wohlfeld, chosen for the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize

“There is an exhilarating permanence about Jill Baumgaertner’s remarkable poems in From Shade to Shine. Hands cupped to receive the Eucharist are said, in one poem, to be “a small manger”—for Christians, a stunning and deeply true picture; there are plenty of others. The images and music of these poems bear steady witness to God’s abiding presence and love, even as the poems engagingly address widely various subjects: earthly connections to the liturgical seasons, a happy first birthday, perpetual disquiet instilled in a child by innumerable family moves, a sickness very nearly unto death, Neolithic dwellings on the Orkney Islands, to mention just a few. These are tough-minded poems of faith and hope, and they couldn’t have come at a better time.” —Charles Hughes, author of The Evening Sky and Cave Art

“Jill Baumgaertner has done it again with her stunning new volume of poetry, From Shade to Shine. Here is bread to feed the hungry soul with words that matter, truly matter, words which will bring you closer to Christ, the Incarnate Word, the One who “rises, /he rises indeed,/light blazing,” as we move with her from shade to shine. Oh, and the places she evokes with such heartbreaking accuracy—the Concentration Camps, Cuba, and for me especially those ancient runes of history in the way she captures the Orkneys. And so much more: marriage, that long lost life of aunts and uncles and devout musicians and a dear bull terrier who live now in vibrant memory. Read her, read her as you would the Psalms and those Metaphysical poets she so beautifully echoes. You too will be uplifted by her words, her music, her presence.” —Paul Mariani, author of The Mystery of It All: The Vocation of Poetry in the Twilight of Modernity

“Jill Peláez Baumgaertner has long been a voice crying in the wilderness, calling us to embrace poetry of beauty, goodness, and the mysterious truths of Christian faith. For years her poetry selections for Christian Century have both made manifest what good poetry should be, and have nourished the poets writing it. She obviously knows poetry, and her latest collection From Shade To Shine continues to demonstrate her vison and mastery as a poet. Here, she takes us on journeys back to her ancestral Cuba, to the horrors of Nazi-crushed Poland, to the earliest days of life beyond the garden with Eve and her family, to the ancient and rugged coast of Scotland’s Orkney Islands, and to current-day America. She converses with diverse poets―even out-smarting Christopher Smart with her dog Maddie usurping the place previously held by a cat named Jeoffrey. Perhaps Baumgaertner’s richest gifts to us, though, are in her liturgical poems. How wise church leaders would be to draw these poems into the life of their communities.” —D.S. Martin, author of Angelicus, and Poet-in-Residence at McMaster Divinity College

"A lyrical travel guide from Lent to Light, Jill Peláez Baumgaertner’s From Shade to Shine also is a welcome companion for each season of the Church calendar. Infused with music, liturgy, struggle, and hope, this new collection is a “blaze against the dimming season,” with the author “both mourning/and celebrating/what [she] did not yet know.” With honesty and wise insight, the poet takes us beyond familiar Biblical and literary interpretations, as well as across the difficult terrains of doubt, displacement, grief, concentration camp terrors, and the history of the Orkney Islands. In between, we witness the perspective of the Magdalene and listen to the songs of Mary, a duet between Christ and Soul, and more. Come. Open the pages and be transformed." —Marjorie Maddox, author of Begin with a Question  


Product Details
ISBN: 9781640605985
ISBN-10: 1640605983
Publisher: Iron Pen
Publication Date: April 12th, 2022
Pages: 96
Language: English