Finding the World’s Fullness
On Poetry, Metaphor, and Mystery
Forty years as a poet has kept Robert Cording looking at the details of everyday experience. That long labor has brought him face-to-face with the inescapable complexity of a world that is full of suffering and injustice. And grace. This journey has convinced him that, as Czeslaw Milosz puts it, "poetry embodies the double life of our common human circumstance as beings in between the dust that we are and the divinity to which we would aspire." Cording's task has therefore been to evoke what he calls "the primordial intuitions of Christianity": that we live in a world we did not create; that God's immanent presence is capable of breaking in on us at every moment; that most of the time we cannot "taste and see" that presence because we live in a world of mirrors; that only by attention can we live in the world but outside of our existing conceptions of it. The reflections in Finding the World's Fullness--comprising not only thoughts on metaphor but also close readings of poets ancient and modern, including George Herbert, Robert Browning, Elizabeth Bishop, and Stanley Kunitz--suggest that, as Richard Wilbur puts it, "The world's fullness is not made but found."