Prayers of a Secular World
Release date 1 October
Edited by Jordie Albiston & Kevin Brophy
Jordie Albiston has published eight poetry collections. Two of her books have been adapted for music-theatre, both enjoying seasons at the Sydney Opera House. Jordie’s work has won many awards, including the 2010 NSW Premier’s Prize. She lives in Melbourne.
Kevin Brophy has published thirteen books of poetry, fiction and essays. He teaches poetry and short fiction in the Creative writing program in the School of Culture and Communication at the University of Melbourne. In 2009 Kevin was awarded the Calibre Prize for an outstanding essay. He lives in Melbourne.
David Tacey is an independent scholar and public intellectual who has written extensively on spirituality, religion, youth experience and mental health. David grew up in central Australia alongside Aboriginal cultures, and has a life-long interest in indigenous issues. He is the author of fourteen books, including Edge of the Sacred, Re-Enchantment, and The Spirituality Revolution.
A meditation on living in a post-religious world, this little book is packed with big ideas about doubt, faith and redemption for the ‘delicate formation of faults’ that runs through human nature.*
Reading these droplets of insight about everyday life is a practice in mindfulness offering the opportunity to lift the veil and gaze at eternity.
‘A mantra that will keep us in one piece’, as the poet Kim Cheng Boey writes, this book allows us to dwell in uncomfortable ideas.
Prayers of a Secular World is a compendium of meditations from over eighty poets including the well-loved Cate Kennedy, Judith Beveridge, Chris Wallace-Crabbe and Mark Tredinnick, award-winning poets such as Christine Paice, Lisa Jacobson, Debbi Hamilton and Lesley Lebkowicz.
There seems to hover a sense of uneasy things these days: a lack of kindness; a narrow-mindedness; a fear of the other. [editing this book] helped me believe in goodness again. It helped—by way of poetry—redeem humanity for me. —Jordie Albiston, talking to The Big Issue February 2016
From their personal experience of our contemporary world, poets such as Ron Pretty, Robyn Rowland, David Brooks and many more have created a language of encounter that is universally resonant. Their blessings and epiphanies, insights and concerns, are the prayer that lives in all of us.
Exquisitely finished with gold foil, this is a book of wonder and wondering, of faith and doubt, signs and epiphanies, of blessings and longing will lift you through the darkness.
Poetry carries big ideas. It can make you think about the complexity of faith and the meaning and mystery of life. These are issues I was hoping to explore with Prayers of a Secular World. —Donna Ward, publisher, The West Australian 9 February 2016
*the phrase ‘delicate formation of faults’ is from the poem ‘Christmas Island’ by Renee Pettitt-Schipp
Available in all bookshops from 1st October 2015
We are distributed by NewSouth Books.
Praise for Prayers of a Secular World
The feel is more of magic than of prayer, as the poems incant, describe, and name what there is and dismiss what is not, in a very pre-Socratic way, with all the imagination and terrible beauty that implies.
—Peter Kenneally, Australian Book Review
Lamenting and celebrating the world and its inhabitants, the mysteries of their strengths and flaws, Prayers of a Secular World captures this perfectly. It is a book of uncommon yet powerful prayer.
—Marie O’Rourke, Westerly Magazine
This reviewer began by irresponsibly turning down the corner of poems from which he might later quote but had to give up when almost every second page was being mistreated.
—Geoff Page, The Australian
I felt as though I was standing before a perfect portrait in a quiet gallery, seeing the sacred mountains.
—Karenlee Thompson Book Reviewer
Prayers of a Secular World is a warm and wonderful rest along the way to the new secular liturgy.
—Bob Brown, former leader of The Australian Greens
An inspiring collection. Offers us immediate glimpses of what it is to be one of the creatures in a world that never ceases to surprise us simply by being there, both outside us and within.
—David Malouf, Earth Hour
A great sadness descended on the Western spirit when the Church announced that God had been exiled to heaven. But the truth which doctrine denied, poets still proclaimed. This collection represents a wonder full embodiment of poetry’s ancient immersion in earthly grace. Thank God for secular prayers.
—James Boyce, Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World
This is a book for the bedside table, the garden bench, for a train journey overnight. It is a book to savour. Look and you will find the verse that lingers, the line that stops you in your tracks, the poem that will become a friend; and in its pages white as silence, you will find space in which to dream.
—Arnold Zable, Violin Lessons
‘The imperfect is our paradise’, wrote Wallace Stevens. This volume, a beautiful series of secular prayers, honours the idea that the only heaven we will know is the one we make ourselves. Our Eden is in these pages, tended by some of our finest gardeners—the kind who dig with words.
—Geordie Williamson, literary critic, The Australian
What leading industry magazine Books+Publishing said:
Prayers of a Secular World is a collection of poems that explores the idea that modern life demands modern forms of worship; that there is something within the human spirit that cannot stand meaninglessness.
This anthology is big, unweildy and ambitious—it demands no religious sensibility of the reader, but delivers an abundance of speculation and wonder.
—Hilary Simmons, former assistant editor at Books+Publishing
and a freelance reviewer and journalist.