The Best Spiritual Writing

Philip Zaleski, Editor, Philip Zaleski, Preface by, Patricia Hampl, Introduction by
Philip Zaleski, Editor, Philip Zaleski, Preface by, Patricia Hampl, Introduction by HarperOne $15 (326p) ISBN 978-0-06-251566-7
Reviewed on: 12/01/1981
Release date: 12/01/1981
In her introduction, essayist Hampl aptly characterizes both our age and the need for this anthology: ""We are a people who cannot get enough of self-help books (the sermon literature of our day), of meditation guides, accounts of spiritual journeys, and spiritual autobiographies."" Zaleski (Gifts of the Spirit) satisfies the appetite for sustenance in this smorgasbord of tantalizing spiritual morsels. Collected here are 38 essays and poems drawn from 23 different periodicals, as well as some pieces published here for the first time (including Madeleine L'Engle's paean to God's power and love, ""Into Your Hands, O Lord, I Commend My Spirit""). Selections represent spiritual traditions ranging from Judaism and Christianity to Buddhism and Hinduism. While many of the writings arise from a writer's deep involvement with a particular religious tradition, some essays, like Rick Bass's ""The Heart of a Forest,"" and Reynolds Price's poem, ""A Long and Sizable Farewell,"" teach us eloquently that the spiritual inhabits our quotidian world and imbues it with meaning. The anthology contains a ""who's who"" of modern writers, ranging from novelist and essayist Andre Dubus and essayist Joseph Epstein to novelists Gretel Ehrlich and Cynthia Ozick. The book includes a list of ""Notable Spiritual Writing of 1997."" Zaleski's keen eye for high-quality spiritual writing makes this a significant addition to the spiritual literature of our time. (Nov.)
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