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date: 14 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter traces ways that the special affinity between religion and poetry has been expressed through the ages and across cultures. The ancient scriptural texts of all major religions are in poetic form. Poetry in the West became religious in the Middle Ages with Dante, then internalized religion during the Reformation. Beginning with Romanticism, poetry supplanted religion, leading to the secularism that dominated Western poetry and culture for most of the twentieth century. But since the 1980s, religion—along with a generalized spirituality—has again become foundational for poets.

Keywords: Christianity and poetry, metaphor, poetry, post-modernism, religion, religious conversion, sacramental, sacred texts, secularism, spirituality

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