'If I say ...': Poetry ‘after God’ in Times of Eco-social and Ecclesial Trauma

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


This essay focuses on ways poetry is a corporeal making that answers the undoing of worlds – economic, political, social, ecclesial – occurring as a consequence of and concurrent with global crises of climate change and pandemic, and their eco-social, intergenerational, racialized and gendered traumas. Two interrelated tropes – first, breath and its relations to air, atmosphere and spirit, and second, the material sacred – form interpretative keys for considering poems by five contemporary Australian poets: Rose Lucas, Andy Jackson, MTC Cronin, Claire Gaskin and Anne M Carson, as uncertain answers to this crucial time of un-worlding and re-worlding. The focus is on settler poetry in a context of First Nations’ sovereignty. The essay centres on MTC Cronin’s God is Waiting in the World’s Yard and that collection’s enactment of poetry as theology and prayer in a counter-religious society. In reading the poets’ engagements with breath, bodies, trauma, grief and theodicy, the essays highlights tensions between a sense of a material sacred and failures of institutional religion at a moment when the late capitalist consumerist imaginary of human sovereignty over things has shown itself to be a dangerous falsehood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImagination in an Age of Crisis
Subtitle of host publicationSoundings from the Arts and Theology
EditorsJason Goroncy, Rod Pattenden
Place of PublicationEugene, Oregon
PublisherPickwick Publications
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9781666706888
ISBN (Print)9781666706888
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Australian poetry
  • Theological inquiry
  • MTC Cronin
  • Claire Gaskin
  • Andy Jackson
  • Rose Lucas
  • Anne M Carson
  • Breath
  • Trauma
  • Theodicy
  • the material sacred

Cite this