The Best American Spiritual Writing 2004 by Philip Zaleski

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It is said that we live in a secular age, yet religion and spirituality, belief and practice, are ever more powerful forces in contemporary culture, shaping both personal lives and world events. The newest addition to the acclaimed Best American series reflects this trend, bringing us the year's finest writing about faith and spirituality from a rich array of traditions sure to enrich the lives of all readers.
Included is the work of some of our finest poets -- Mark Doty, W. S. Merwin, Philip Levine -- and most original essayists. Spiritual insight comes in both expected and unexpected places: Thomas Lynch writes of his work as an undertaker, Sallie Tisdale witnesses the miracle of an elephant's birth, and Patricia Monaghan finds consolation in Heisenberg's theory during a period of intense grief.
In his introduction, Jack Miles writes, "American spiritual writing at its best is, in sum, a pluriform, multifarious acknowledgment of discomfiture and an opening of exits into a wider world . . . The reader is led to this volume, I imagine, by the question: 'There must be something more. Where can I find it?' The contributors to this volume answer, in effect: 'You will find it when it finds you.'"

About Philip Zaleski

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No Bio He has been a Regents Lecturer at the University of California & a professor of humanities at Claremont Graduate University. He is currently senior adviser to the president of the J. Paul Getty Trust. He lives in Pasadena, California.
Published October 14, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 304 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Horror. Non-fiction

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With approaches ranging from Seyyed Hossein Nasr's philosophical argument for the primacy of consciousness to Mark Doty's ecstatic vision of "fire [calling] its double down," the collection includes household names like Natalie Goldberg and Oliver Sacks alongside newer authors.

Sep 27 2004 | Read Full Review of The Best American Spiritual W...

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