Phyllis Tickle: A Life

Jon M. Sweeney. CPI, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-0-8192-3299-1
Sweeney, executive editor of Ave Maria Press and coauthor with Phyllis Tickle on The Age of the Spirit, paints an exemplary, intimate portrait of Tickle (1934–2015), the prolific writer who founded PW’s religion department in 1992. Sweeney begins by describing Tickle’s early life and hometown of Johnson City, Tenn. She fell in love with poetry as a child—the result of her father reading poems to her—and also expressed religious interest at an early age, and Sweeney quotes liberally from her writings composed during high school and college to track her spiritual evolution. Tickle spent most of her life in Tennessee, teaching in Memphis and moving to the “Farm in Lucy” outside of Millington in 1977, which became the setting for many of Tickle’s poems, stories, and essays. Though Sweeney sketches the outline of Tickle’s publishing career (which spanned over 40 books), he mostly concentrates on Tickle’s evolving sense of spirituality, which was reflected in her inspirational classics The Divine Hours and The Great Emergence, and how it was influenced by her near-death experience after taking an experimental miscarriage-prevention drug, the violent death of her fifth child only weeks after birth, and formative experiences with other religious writers such as Jack Spong. This loving biography impressively captures the grace Tickle demonstrated during a long, dedicated life. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 02/15/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 288 pages - 978-0-8192-3300-4
Paperback - 298 pages - 978-1-64065-131-9
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