Glory in the Margins: Sunday Poems (Hardcover)
New York Times bestselling author and poet Nikki Grimes explains, “A study of scripture reveals that Jesus spent a lot of time with people in the margins. As an African American, I live in the margins, and I can tell you that it's a place most of us would rather not be. And yet, I know there is always glory to be found in the margins because of the Lord’s presence in, and with us. As Poet Laureate of my Grace Brethren Church in Southern California, it’s my job to distill the heart of the weekly sermon into a poem. I dive into each week’s chosen scripture, viewing it from my own perspective as Black, as woman, as poet, always a little left of center, and looking for the glory to be found in the margins of life, and of the text. Of course, those of us who live in the margins are not what anyone expects, and the very notion that God might speak through us, through me, may seem a bit wild. But he does. ‘I will pour out my spirit on all flesh,’ said the Lord. God’s busy in the hearts of all who call on him.”
Glory in the Margins is published under Paraclete Press's Iron Pen imprint. In the book of Job, a suffering man pours out his anguish to his Maker. From the depths of his pain, he reveals a trust in God's goodness that is stronger than his despair, giving humanity some of the most beautiful and poetic verses of all time. Paraclete's Iron Pen imprint is inspired by this spirit of unvarnished honesty and tenacious hope.
“‘What is there / to recommend this world?’ Nikki Grimes asks, a universal question any human being who has ever suffered has posed. “One honest piercing look around / and there are tears enough / to wash away the world,” the poet acknowledges. The constant drum of sorrow, ‘Drought famine / murder and mayhem / night terrors breaching / the brightness of day’ all have the power to drive us to desolation. And yet, in the midst of her despair, the poet stops to listen and hears the answer to her prayer: ‘God whispers in our ear / Look, to me! Look here!’ Again and again in these poems, each of which serves as a powerful short homily and biblical exegesis, as well as poetic utterance, Grimes finds the grace she—and we—need to move forward and to do what Flannery O’Connor urges all people of God to do, to love the world even as we struggle to endure it. By turns celebratory and sorrowful, these hundred poems honor the movements of the restless human heart and offer a place of repose, bringing us finally to the joyful Good News that we need to be constantly reminded of: ‘The secret’s out: / the kingdom of God is here,’ and we are in its midst.” —Angela Alaimo O’Donnell, author of Andalusian Hours: Poems from the Porch of Flannery O’Connor and Love in the Time of Coronavirus: A Pandemic Pilgrimage
“These poems of Nikki Grimes are like sermons in the standard sense, but also in the original Roman sense of ‘conversations’—clear, colloquial talk that is reverent about God and often gently irreverent about our failures to live lives of faith. The language of Glory in the Margins: Sunday Poems is clear and fresh, and the book’s messages based on the Bible will be insightful and consoling for readers of all ages and backgrounds.” —A.M. Juster, poet, author of Wonder and Wrath
“Nikki Grimes is my big sister in the faith, and the poet laureate of Madison Street Church. Sunday in and Sunday out, with a raucous love for Jesus and a quiet intimacy with the English language, she humbly accepts the invitation, and takes the holy scalpel of God’s Word to our small church community. She combines the truth and grace of scripture with a surgical use of Spirit-led words that cut away our pretentious, cauterize our fears, and call our souls to hope. Her poems, shared at the start of every sermon, constantly conspire to make me a better preacher, a better pastor, and a better person.” —Rev. Jeff Wright, pastor, Madison Street Church, Riverside, California
“Nikki Grimes has written many, many books of poetry during her esteemed career. But in this one, you hold more than just a book: you hold a sanctuary.” —Sarah Arthur, author, speaker, and editor of the Literary Guides to Prayer