Man’s art takes the humble materials of creation and allows them to reflect the spirit.
Evangelicals tend to lament the lack of skillful writers brought up and nurtured in evangelical Christendom, who, in later life, remain faithful in their art to the Christian vision. But to emphasize our shortcomings may hinder the recognition of writers and other artists who are doing good work. It is thus fitting and important to celebrate the accomplishments of Robert Siegel.
Two of Siegel’s books were published this fall: Alpha Centauri, a fantasy novel (an excerpt is on page 30), and a volume of poetry, In a Pig’s Eye (Univ. of Florida Press). These follow The Beasts and the Elders, a collection of poems that prompted the London Times Literary Supplement to remark: “To meet the unpretentious versatility of Robert Siegel after the single-mindedness of other poets is like returning to the mainland after a tour of the islands.” Of Alpha Centauri, Madeleine L’Engle says: “Absolutely fantastic! Has all the qualities of classical fantasy.” My own reading of the second volume of poetry confirms the opinion of Poetry’s associate editor that, “In short, though still relatively young, [Robert Siegel] has demonstrated his mastery of the most difficult of artistic forms … he has already fulfilled much of his promise.”
A warm and radiant Christian faith informs Siegel’s work. Readers of Alpha Centauri will enjoy the superb way the narrative’s young heroine comes to embody the precept: Perfect love casts out fear. As a poet, Siegel draws from the best of the trinitarian romantic and neo-Platonic traditions within Christianity and crafts a poetry that urges the reader toward the place where “the fire and the rose are one,” where natural images reveal ...1
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