"The Gambrels of the Sky"—wonderful line! It is from Emily Dickinson's poem beginning "I dwell in Possibility..." and I am reading it in the introduction to this book I have just bought:
The Splash of words: believing in poetry by Mark Oakley.
I have only just skimmed the introduction but I know already that I will love this book. (And wish I had written it). Oakley conveys his enthusiasm with such brio; he wants to light up something for a reader who has neglected poetry or who has never read it much. If you have read quite a bit of poetry, there is also much richness here. The book is a collection of poems, some of them my own favourites, which makes me love the book more, and some new to me. A short essay follows each poem in which Oakley responds to it.
In the introduction, Oakley says: "when we start talking about poems we are talking about a soul-language, a way of crafting words that distils our experience into what feels like a purer truth."
He looks at the connection between poetry and religious faith. As I read on, I want to quote so much. But I'll end with this:
"Attentiveness, said Malebranche, is the natural prayer of the soul. Poetry is a form of attention,a literal coming to our senses, a turning aside from convention and memory. Our attentiveness will make us more alive by the time we die."