Did Christian Wiman’s commencement address arouse your curiosity? Why was this particular poet chosen? What’s his story? The answer lies within the covers of Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet, recently acquired by Oesterle Library. According to the book jacket:
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet is a collection of stirring personal essays and critical prose on a wide range of subjects: reading Paradise Lost in Guatemala, recalling violent episodes from the poet’s youth, traveling in Africa with an eccentric father, as well as a series of penetrating essays on poets, poetry, and poetry’s place in our lives. The book concludes with a portrait of Wiman’s diagnosis with a rare cancer, and a clear-eyed declaration of what it means – for an artist and a person – to have faith in the face of death.
If his address left you wanting to read more of his poetry, check out Every Riven Thing, Hard Night, and The Long Home. These books are shelved on the new books shelf in the library’s reference room.