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re/VIEW: Barbara Kingsolver

A New Look at a Long Time Favorite

Barbara Kingsolver

Evan Kafka

“I find comfort in my work, because when I walk into my office and close the door, I completely leave my own life. In some ways I’m shouldering the human condition, which is a lot of weight there, but when I’m writing, when it’s going well, I have completely forgotten myself.”

Barbara Kingsolver once wrote that “a novel is like a cathedral, it knocks you down to size when you enter into it.” She should know. The 65-year-old is the author of eight acclaimed novels, including The Poisonwood Bible (1998) and Flight Behavior (2012), as well as eight other books. Her latest publication is a collection of poetry, How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons). If a novel is like entering a cathedral, what is a poem like? “It’s far less intimidating,” she observes. “Still, I walk into a poem with the same sense of awe and humility. I love poetry and in many ways consider it to be the finest distillation of my art, the writing art, because of the craft involved. Every word has to carry its own weight. A novel is vast; a place of wonder that takes a long time to build. Entering a poem is like entering a clearing in a forest and hearing one bird sing and thinking, ‘This is a perfect place. I will do my best to earn my place here, to be a part of this grace.’” Her new collection of poems “is far and away my most spiritual work I’ve published,” she says. “I carry my spiritual beliefs very …

About the Author

Kathryn Drury Wagner

Kathryn Drury Wagner is based in Savannah. She’s been a contributor to the magazine for many years, and she loves sharing ways to build a healthy, mindful, and sustainable lifestyle.

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