Survival Is a Style: Poems

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Product Details

Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publish Date
5.7 X 0.6 X 8.3 inches | 0.5 pounds
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About the Author

Christian Wiman is the author of several books, including two memoirs, My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer (FSG, 2013) and He Held Radical Light: The Art of Faith, the Faith of Art (FSG, 2018); Every Riven Thing (FSG, 2010), winner of the Ambassador Book Award in poetry; Once in the West (FSG, 2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist in poetry; and Stolen Air: Selected Poems of Osip Mandelstam. He teaches religion and literature at the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and Yale Divinity School.


[Survival Is a Style] rings with hard-wrung truths . . . These poems, which vary widely in their forms, are held together by the poet's sensibility, each word sparking joy in its sound and texture . . . Wrestling with the self, skepticism, and faith, this collection is a radiant addition to Wiman's oeuvre. --Publishers Weekly

Wiman's greatest asset is his taste for simplicity . . . But these simple melodies are not without deep resonance and even occasional dissonance, as themes of spiritual doubt and physical illness recur throughout the book's four sections . . . So thoroughly charmed was I that I failed to notice I had boarded the wrong train, hopping off just before it tore out of Manhattan--though I would have indeed welcomed a moment more in Wiman's musical company. --Elinor Hitt, The Paris Review

In this new collection, his poetry takes us, once more, on a metaphysical trip through the essential 'aloneness' of Being and its endless manifestations. Wiman's art is concerned with holding mirrors up to our (seemingly) godless existence, searching for hidden divinity in everyday reflections . . . there is great virtuosity and variance of subject to be found within -- but above all it is a struggle, a struggle for faith, for understanding, and for acceptance. --Ryan Asmussen, Chicago Review of Books

This slim book of poems reads as if it were the husk of a magnificent novel. This is partly the effect of Wiman's style, which has deepened--allowing for some of the lighter touches that admirers of his memoirs will recognize . . . Wiman accomplishes a single narrative arc through the idiosyncrasies of a poetry that will always honor the word over the message. That word is mortal, its survival a style. --Arthur Willemse, World Literature Today