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    Paperback

    $14.95

    ISBN : 9781931112499

    November 2005

    96 pp.

    6x9"

The Pure Inconstancy of Grace

Richard St. John
Categories: Poetry

Richard St. John eloquently illuminates the human condition in surprising and profound ways in this collection of poems. He finds genuine grace in the midst of suffering and despair as well as in mundane moments of daily life. These are powerful poems with clear-eyed empathy and uncanny insight.

 

Beautiful voice and measured use of cultural allusions give this book dignity and maturity.... A very melodious and inspirational writer.

—Diane Wakoski, 2004 T. S. Eliot judge

What remarkable, original, and intelligent poems these are—without an echo of imitation or lingering indebtednesses. Above all, these are poems of felt intelligence—a quality one associates with Richard Wilbur or John Donne and too few others. Richard St. John is among the select few. All you have to do is read “J. Paul Getty at Forest Lawn,” “Circling Walden Pond,” “Walking with the Lady with Three Dogs,’” “This Light” and the poignant “The Chokeberry and the Mower: A Valediction” to be convinced. This book ranks among the best recent books of poems I have ever read, and I mean every word of that.

—Samuel Hazo, International Poetry Forum

The Pure Inconstancy of Grace is a terrific book. Each poem compels our attention. Richard St. John’s work is characterized by precision of language, compassion, and a sense of the sacred writ both large and small. These narratives and homilies will stay with you long after the book is closed. You’ll go back and read them again.

—Michael Wurster

Whether revisiting the legend of St. Julian the Hospitaller or speaking (aptly enough) as John the Baptist’s head upon a plate, these poems exhibit a masterful use of tone and formal elegance (see, for example, the delightful twist on rime royal in ”J. Paul Getty at Forest Lawn”). But for all their structural intricacies, these are poems whose true grace lies in their ability to see inside the world, to get at “the black and lapidary heart of things.” St. John’s voice makes a most welcome debut in this moving collection of poems, a gift to the art of poetry.

—D. A. Powell, University of San Francisco

Richard St. John is a master craftsman who eloquently illuminates the human condition in surprising and profound ways. He finds genuine grace in the midst of suffering and despair, as well as in mundane moments of daily life. These are powerful poems with clear-eyed empathy and uncanny insight.

—Maurya Simon, University of California-Riverside
 

A reflective essay that mentions Pure Inconstancy

St. John has crafted a volume that rewards the reader with its wisdom and its frankness, its meditations on the universality of human experience.

––Poet Lore
A compilation of free-verse poetry distinguished by the naturally elegant patterning of words and concepts. Both mundane and spiritual topics are touched upon, in the course of bemusing life’s greatest mysteries.

The Midwest Book Review

Acknowledgments

Heidegger’s Pear
     Heidegger’s Pear
     Banding
     Praying in the Dark, Age 50
     All Saints Eve
     Epiphany at the Dennis Public Dump
     J. Paul Getty at Forest Lawn
     Two Stories
     A Baptism
     From the Plate
     Photographs, Circa the Present
     Circling Walden Pond


The Way the Spheres Must Move
     The Darkened Mosaic
     L’Anima Semplicetta
     The Way the Spheres Must Move
     A Largo
     The Bird in Our Garage
     Walking with the Lady with Three Dogs
     The Amazing Wireless Receiver
     Nighthawks
     The Sainthood of St. Julian


This Light
     This Light
     For a Friend Turning Thirty
     The Grecian Urn Responds
     Upstate New York, in Difficult Times
     Meditation for a Wedding
     The Chokeberry and the Mower: A Valediction
     All Souls Flight
     Annunciations
     Christmas Requiem


Notes
About the Author

 

Richard St. John is executive director of Conversations for Common Wealth, a program of the Community House Learning Center where he also serves as associate director.