chapter  4
Poetry as Immanence: How Language Informs Reality
ByJay Parini
Pages 10

A starting point for the present analysis of the musical triangle of prayer, poetry and silence, the author have chosen the crucial moment of Shakespeare's Hamlet when the murderer kneels down to pray while the avenger rejects the ill-timed chance to settle accounts. The Pharisee and Claudius share precisely this predicament, which may be expressed in other, terms as the result of a lack of hospitality towards the divine other. The Pharisee's prayer betrays his inherent resistance to the dialogue with this other. Jesus' example of ineffective prayer may thus be interpreted in the light of Jean-Louis Chretien's project of 'hospitable listening', which in this philosopher's account becomes also the foundation of true communion based on generosity of spirit. Marion's phenomenology of donation thus helps us understand the paradoxical constitution of George Herbert's poetic persona, whose main task is not to preach the word of God, but to make ready to welcome the arrival of Love.