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Songs from an Empty Cage
Poetry, Mystery, Anabaptism, and Peace

Summary: In accessible, lyrical prose, Jeff Gundy takes on poetry, peace, heresy, martyr stories, music, metaphor, and more in this sequel to his award-winning Walker in the Fog: On Mennonite Writing. Is there a tradition that is at once rebellious, deeply communal, wildly individual, and truly peaceable? If we recognize and create it, Gundy insists, the answer is yes.

"Time was that American writing was intent upon entirety. Language was pilgrimage, and cadence kept the rhythms of a motive faith. It was a time of outrageous piety (whose upper register is poetry) and joyful critique (whose upper register is poetry)—the time of Thoreau's Week and Whitman's Specimen Days and Henry Miller's Air-Conditioned Nightmare. I am pleased to say that, in Gundy's Songs, that time is now." —Donald Revell, Author, Pennyweight Windows: New and Selected Poems

"With his lively prose and inquiring spirit, Gundy woos us into his poetic exploration of theology, a fertile journey through the complications of belief, desire, and mystery, which leads to an open table of love, generosity, beauty, and hope. This book feeds the soul." —Jean Janzen, Author, Entering the Wild: Essays on Faith and Writing and many poetry volumes

"Yeats once said: ‘We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry.’ Gundy’s rich, evocative book shows how Mennonite writers have made poetry out of their lover’s quarrel with the Anabaptist tradition. In his graceful exposition we see how tradition and transgression are intertwined in one generative, ongoing story." —Gregory Wolfe, Editor, Image 

"Reading Gundy’s Songs, I smiled in delight and satisfaction at a writer whose deep soul is simultaneously Romantic, Anabaptist, and Transcendental." —Scott Holland, in the Foreword

Market: Scholars, professors, and graduate students; anyone—from writers and poets through lay readers and academic critics—interested in the intersections of poetry with Anabaptism, Mennonites, mystery, and peacemaking.

Shelving:  Shelving: Literature—Anabaptist-Mennonite; Poetry—Mennonite; Fiction; Criticism; Cultural Studies. BISAC: Literary Criticism and Essays; Poetry; Religion. RTM: 495 Literary Criticism;  640 Poetry; 690 Religion

The Author: Jeff Gundy, Bluffton, Ohio, teaches English at Bluffton University and has published five books of poems and three of prose; his latest book of poems, Somewhere Near Defiance, is forthcoming from Anhinga Press. Author of the pathbreaking Walker in the Fog: On Mennonite Writing, he has been a major organizer of the Mennonite/s Writing conferences. His work appears regularly in periodicals including The Sun, The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review, Image, Mennonite Quarterly Review, and Conrad Grebel Review.

Publisher: Cascadia Publishing House LLC
Potential Copublisher: None
Publication date: November 2013
Tentative Pages: 296
Format: 6 x 9" trade paper
Prices: $23.95 US/Can. ISBN 13:  978-1-931038-97-3; ISBN 10: 1-931038-97-X


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