Review: Compass of Affection

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You know that moment before you sneeze? How the tickle gets worse by incremental degrees up to the point where you swear a static-charged horsefly is flitting against the walls of your nostril. You experience that last expectant moment of complete torture only to finally explode your face off, rocket out the microscopic irritant that couldn’t be borne any longer.

Paraclete just sent me a copy of Scott Cairns’ newest book of poetry, Compass of Affection. I’ve read many of the poems now and felt a growing sense that these are bits of life, my own life, the common experiences I’ve not had the time or ability to reflect upon as thoroughly. And if only I had the insight and the words Scott does.

Beautiful. Deep. Inspiring. True. I don’t know if life can be lived fully without such reflective art. We live in our skin so tragically unaware sometimes. Yet this is what it is to be rocketed into the life around you, tapped in to the physical experiences of a spiritual reality, existing all around us, yet somehow just beyond the realm of expression. Scott Cairns gets it. Gets you. Gets us. Read it. Absorb and grow.

“Setting Out” appears on the back cover. I recommend you do too.

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5 thoughts on “Review: Compass of Affection”

  1. Oh, Mick! You’re leading me into temptation. I just used Amazon’s “Search Inside” feature (thank Heaven for that) and fell in love with another book. And the thing is, I’ve bought too many this week already.
    I’ll just have to wait till next payday.
    The poem titled, “Adventures in New Testament Greek: Hairesis” blew me away. And “Hesychia” was most definitely me.

  2. As this pilgrim began to progress, she left one behind, his name was hopeless…
    Ah, to be reminded of the journey at hand. Thank you. Lovely poem. The excerpt was really nice too.
    Thank you for sharing. I’ve been doing a lot of complaining here lately and need to be about my Father’s business.

  3. It’s easy to underestimate the power of poetry, especially, it seems, Cairns’. The simplicity and raw beauty here is carrying me through a rough patch of my novel right now…

  4. Got the book today. Ripped open the box, sidled next to my (very handsome, very cool) husband, turned to the first poem and blindly charged ahead–out loud.
    “Or the woman you love
    Could decide you’re ugly.
    Maybe she’ll finally give up
    trying to ignore the way
    you floss your teeth as you
    watch television. All I’m saying
    is that there are no sure things here.”
    **sigh!**
    Now I’ve got to talk fast. Maybe all night.

  5. hey, you read poetry. go figure.
    it’s getting around. yes. the bug. let it infect you completely. and when i sneeze it’s like a bomb went off. kablooie!
    hurts my husband’s ears.
    ah well.
    these are the abcs of me baby.

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