Item #: 0977-3
St Pauls Price: $14.95
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Description 

Loren G. Smith
Copyright: 2005
First Printed: 10-19-2005

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) is regarded as one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language and among the greatest mystical poets of any language. Drawn to the contemplative life, he joined St. Teresa of Avila in her reform of the discalced Carmelites. John considered his poetry to be the most authentic expression of his theology and his ineffable mystical experience.

St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) is famous for her extraordinary accomplishments in the reform of the Carmelite order and the founding of new monasteries, for her prose writings on the spiritual life, prayer and contemplation, and for her extraordinary sanctity. Her poetry has not received the same acclaim and attention as John’s. But like him, she used poetry as a way of expressing the ineffable — the divine flame of love which consumed her.

In preparing these translations, the primary emphasis has been placed on accurately preserving the meaning of the original poems, while retaining their rhyming schemes and utilizing meters as close to the original as possible. Each page of English translation faces the original Spanish text of the poem.

Book: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 0-8189-0977-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8189-0977-1
Prod. Code: 0977-3


Reviews

 

Flame of Love is a selection of poems by St. John of the Cross (1542-1591) and St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582). It is actually a bilingual text, with each page of English translation facing each page of the original Spanish text of the poem. Thoughtfully translated and beautifully laid out by Loren G. Smith, the book is a selection of fourteen poems of John of the Cross and thrity-one poems of Teresa of Avila. As the author notes, "The objective in preparing these English versions has been to provide the most accurate possible translation while retaining the original rhyming schemes and utilizing meters as close to the original as possible. Preserving the meaning of the poems has been given priority over aesthetic considerations" (xvi). The English translation is beautiful and, as a person with a background in French rather than Spanish, I also found that though I could not understand the Spanish, reading through the poems in their original Spanish had a certain beeauty and rhythm that was pleasant and prayerful. While John of the Cross is considered by many to be one of the greatestSpanish poets, and one of the great love poets of all time, St. Teresa is a joy to read as well, truly a poet of the people and of the sacred in personal experience. Two contemplative Carmelites, two Doctors of the Church, two mystical and experiential theologians whose poetry is a form of prayer and theology; above all, two poets of love, desire, and the search for God in the ineffable. This was a really enjoyable book and one that I will turn to again and again in prayer and reflection and for sheer aesthetic delight.Flame of Love would make a great gift, and deserves a place on the bookshelf of every retreat house! I know that John wrote many of his poems while imprisoned, and I know that most of his later theological writings were commentary on the poems, but I would have found useful a small introduction or context for each of the poems of St. John and St. Teresa in this lovely book. --Lynn M. Browne in Catholic Library World, September 2006

St. John of the Cross (1542-1591), a Doctor of the Church, is widely recognized as one of the greatest poets of the Spanish language and among the most sublime mystical poets of any tongue. He regarded his verse as the most authentic expression of his theology and mystical experience. St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582), another Doctor of the Church, was St. John's spiritual director and close friend. Her poetry has not received the same recognition as John's, nor has it attracted as much attention as her prose writings. But as this bilingual collection of poems from the two Carmelites demonstrates, she, too, could express the inexpressible through poetry. Their words are jewels of spiritual wisdom and beauty. --The Catholic Answer, April 2006

In preparing these translations, the primary emphasis has been placed on accurately preserving the meaning of the original poems, while retaining their rhyming schemes and utilizing meters as close to the original as possible. Each page of English translation faces the original Spanish text of the poems. --Bookviews: Theological Book Service, March 2006

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