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Dancing on the edge of death ...

Although I'm also in recovery from a Southern Baptist childhood, it was not Wiman's departure from and return to church that resonated most for me in this interview; rather, it was Wiman's reflections about how his feelings about poetry changed as he faced the nearness of death. As he spoke of his need for concrete poetry that evoked the material world, I found myself thinking of Mary Oliver's work, and how I value it for that very reason: that its very materiality pulls me out of my cognitive stew and back into the real and present moment, in all its beauty ... and pain.