The Penwood Review (ISSN 1092-5155) was established to embrace high quality poetry of all kinds, and to provide a forum for poets who want to write intriguing, energetic, and disciplined poetry as an expression of their faith in God. We encourage writing that elevates the sacred while exploring its mystery and meaning in our lives.
Poet and author, Madeleine L’Engle, once said, “The underwater area of the artist is incarnational and religious whether the artist’s conscious mind acknowledges it or not.” L’Engle implicitly observed that God gives gifts to whomever He pleases, whether or not they choose to acknowledge Him as the giver. The Penwood Review has been established for those poets and authors who want, among other things, truly to understand their faith—honestly and vigorously examining its reality and symbolism.
At its most integral level, poetry is deeply spiritual because it distills meaning from the temporal events in our lives. It is a natural companion to the spiritual life. Poetic imagination hints at something of the divine because it attempts a connection between our consciousness of eternity and that which is experiencing continual decay. T. S. Eliot expressed it well: “[Poetry] may make us from time to time a little more aware of the deeper, unnamed feelings which form the substratum of our being, to which we rarely penetrate; for our lives are mostly a constant evasion of ourselves, and an evasion of the visible and sensible world.”
It is to facilitate more of these moments of awareness and connection that we have created this journal. If poetry can pervade our being and slow us down enough to find significance in our lives, that is reason enough to read it. And, as would all lovers of poetry, we contend that poetry should not be peripheral to human existence but rather one of the fullest and best expressions of it.
plunge the substratum