The Incarnation of the Poetic Word

Theological Essays on Poetry & Philosophy • Philosophical Essays on Poetry & Theology

Michael Martin

Foreword by William Desmond

Afterword by Therese Schroeder-Sheker

In The Incarnation of the Poetic Word, Michael Martin brings together the worlds of theology, philosophy, and literary studies through the introduction of agapeic criticism, a method of inquiry characterized by reverence and attention, exploring what truly lives in the written word.

Praise for The Incarnation of the Poetic Word

“Michael Martin is one of those rare modern scholars who allows his speculative, artistic, and imaginative gifts to enliven and enrich his scholarship without any sacrifice of rigor.”

— DAVID BENTLEY HART, author of The Experience of God and Atheist Delusions

“Michael Martin is a poet, a theologian, and a person of philosophical inclination—all of these roles diversely, and all of them communicating with each other in his rich writings. This, his plurivocal vocation, is given expression in The Incarnation of the Poetic Word.”

— WILLIAM DESMOND, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; Villanova University, USA

“With its persuasive emphasis on recovering the contemplative, Michael Martin’s The Incarnation of the Poetic Word, by turns prophetic, rapt, practical, and delightfully irreverent, plays adroitly at the frontiers of literature, philosophy, and theology—all in a poetic idiom. Martin’s is a manifestly original voice that calls unabashedly for a posture of wonder, gratitude, and attention.”

— JENNIFER NEWSOME MARTIN, University of Notre Dame

“Michael Martin’s The Incarnation of the Poetic Word is a glimpse at the vision of one of the most exciting and creative scholars of our age. These are essays in phenomenology and criticism, but for me they are much more about cultivating the habits of intellect and affect that will leave us open, make us receptive, to the shining-out of Wisdom in the world around us. Martin summons us to move from the fist-clenched management of knowledge-production to the open-palmed receptivity that shares in Sophia’s generative light.”

— KEVIN L. HUGHES, Villanova University

“In Michael Martin’s The Incarnation of the Poetic Word, we encounter a uniquely Sophianic confluence of philosophy, theology, and poetry, not as objects of study, but as transparent, so that we can see as if for the first time what shines through them. Savor this challenging and valuable book.”

— ARTHUR VERSLUIS, author of Theosophia and Wisdom’s Children

“The world needs Michael Martin’s The Incarnation of the Poetic Word; it is a transformational work of rare artistry, intelligence, prayerfulness, and depth.”

— THERESE SCHROEDER-SHEKER, The Chalice of Repose Project

The Incarnation of the Poetic Word reminds us that, to the integrated human person, Knowing and Being cannot be separated, and consequently that Poetry, Philosophy, and Theology are like facets of a single diamond, because the Truth is One. The book breathes an air of St. Thomas’s claritas, the intrinsic unity of aesthetic and intellectual contemplation. Triviality, bathos, studied meaninglessness, skill without purpose, craft without Patron, verbal warmaking without just cause, are definitively ruled out as having any place in the art of poetry. May they never return.”

— CHARLES UPTON, author of What Poets Used to Know

About the Author

Michael Martin

Michael Martin is a biodynamic farmer, philosopher, theologian, poet, and musician. He is the author of The Incarnation of the Poetic Word: Theological Essays on Poetry and Philosophy/Philosophical Essays on Poetry and Theology and The Submerged Reality: Sophiology and the Turn to a Poetic Metaphysics as well as other works. He edits Jesus the Imagination: A Journal of Spiritual Revolution and can be reached at