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On the Cross
Devotional Poems
DreamSeeker Poetry Series 1

Dallas Wiebe
Illustrations by John Leon, based on crosses by Paul Friesen

Summary: As Paul Friesen has written in regard to crosses he created for the United Methodist Church of Hesston, Kansas, the poems in On the Cross are "not decorations, but for provocative meditation, inviting you to confront Him who is Life, Light and Love."

These poems—augmented by John Leon’s line drawings of the Cross based on Paul Friesen’s crosses—fit into a long tradition of meditations on the Cross articulated in poetry, prose, painting, music. Some of the most famous of the literary meditations are those of St.John of the Cross, George Herbert, John Donne and Paul Gerhardt. The poems in On the Cross reflect these earlier meditations as well as cite paintings by Matthias Grünewald, El Greco, Salvador Dalí, and Giacometti. Music— Bach, hymns, gospel, folk—also enters the volume as a kind of meditation.

Readers are invited to read these devotional poems and then engage in their own meditations. The poems in this volume are but the beginning of an approach to a symbol that leads up to the spiritual life that begins in the teachings of Christ.

Comment: "Dallas Wiebe's On the Cross is powerful, vivid, and astonishing. As we might expect of a first-rate poet who protests that ‘artsy-craftsy people have made Christ into a fashion statement,’ here are no stale, lip-service pieties. Wiebe writes a moving elegy for his wife, contemplates a cross-shaped scar left on his chest by surgery, frankly confronts the hard demands of cross-bearing. He makes a large contribution to devotional poetry in our time, one that deserves to last far into the future."
—X. J. Kennedy, Author, The Lords of Misrule: Poems, 1992-2001

"Dallas Wiebe offers us a rare gift—poems which require a fresh and painful examination of our relationship to the cross. In poem after poem he walks us steadily into glaring light, daring us to look and be changed. His words are wounds, raw and open. Yet in the center is the glow of glory. These are poems for the journey, and I am grateful."
Jean Janzen, Author, Tasting the Dust

"’There’s no escaping what it means,’ Dallas Wiebe writes—speaking of both the Cross and the cross-shaped scar from his heart surgery. These reflective, ingenious, urgent meditations lead us ever more deeply into both the physical and spiritual worlds of despair, pain, hope, and grace. Wiebe’s fierce honesty, literary craft, and hard-won knowledge make this an unforgettable book."
—Jeff Gundy, Bluffton University, Author, Walker in the Fog

Market: Anyone open to poetry that blends high craft with subtle devotional spirit.

The Author: Dallas Wiebe, Cincinnati, Ohio, taught literature and writing at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) 1960-1963 then moved to the University of Cincinnati until retiring from teaching in 1995. His publications include the Mennonite novel Our Asian Journey (Mlr editions canada, 1997), a book of minimalist poems called The Kansas Poems (Cincinnati Poetry Review Press, 1987), and four books of short stories. He has also had many short stories and poems released in various journals.

Quote: It’s not easy to find.
It’s somewhere in the vast waste land
between you and God.
Many have failed in the journey.
Many have died along the way.
Many have sat down and wept
because they can’t see the tiny light
that radiates from the axletree
over beyond the borders of darkness.
—Dallas Wiebe, excerpted from the poem "Going to the Cross"

Shelving: Poetry; Anabaptist-Mennonite literature. BISAC: Poetry; RTM: 640 Poetrys.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House
Imprint: DreamSeeker Books
Copublisher: Herald Press, Scottdale, PA
Publication date: April 1, 2005 (copies available)
Pages: 96
Format: 5.5 x 8.5 trade paper
Prices: $12.95 US, $18.95 Can.
ISBN: 1-931038-27-9

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Copyright © 2005 by Cascadia Publishing House