Winner of the 2014 Vassar Mill Prize in Poetry
In his debut collection, Jordan Windholz recasts devotional poetics and traces the line between faith and its loss. Other Psalms gives voice to the skeptic who yet sings to the silence that “swells with the noise of listening.” If faith is necessary, this collection suggests, it is necessary as material for its own unmaking.Without a doubt, these are poems worth believing in, announcing, as they do, a new and necessary voice in American poetry.
As though finding in Simone Weil’s theology of divine absence a reason to sing, in the opening poem, ‘Invocation,’ the singer of Other Psalms discovers a vocation: to sing, perversely, eloquently, of and to silence. Ambitious and exigent, these poems are refreshingly alert to all of the formal necessities of contemporary poetry, recognizing the inadequacy of any single measure to encompass the human longing for presence -Averill Curdy, prize judge and author of Song and Error
Jordan Windholz’s Other Psalms harmonizes reverie and reverence. This poet recognizes ‘journey and wanderings//as stemming from the same seed.’ Thus the musically dense disciplines of his poems balance an irony and occasional irreverence that make Other Psalms vivid and not simply beautiful. In other words, this book harmonizes human and holy -Elizabeth Robinson, author of On Ghosts and Blue Heron
There is a lushness and sonic abandon in many of these poems that reflects their devotional aspirations, ‘to cradle divinity by flutter or buzz.’ There is also a wryness, even causticity, completely in keeping with the apophatic side of the tradition. The paradox of religious writing, or any writing for that matter, carried out across a life’s changes in circumstances and temperament, requires both extremes in order to stay vivid. A difficult balance to keep, a dangerous tightrope to walk—Other Psalms does it thrillingly. -Nate Klug, author of Rude Woods and Anyone