Promoter, promote thyself! Amanda was so enthusiastic about Robert Miola’s piece that she forgot to direct readers to her own thoughtful and elegant review of Paul Mariani’s Gerard Manley Hopkins (subscribers only):
Absent a biblical understanding of sacrifice, a biographer would be left to scorn or pity the poet. Mariani probes deeper. Without trying to plumb the mystery of Redemption or our participatory role, he knows that no gift of love is futile, and he sees this truth manifest in the poet: There is something in Hopkins that keeps fighting his own extraordinary creativity, keeping it under adamantine compression so intense that it has even affected his physical well-being. Fire burns, even the fire of love. Yet the flame of sacrifice, he adds, left behind a scattering of diamonds to be lifted from the ashes of time.
That is the secret of Hopkins life: not the passion of Cupid but the passion of the Cross, not the Song of Myself but the Song of Songs. Three decades after his quiet deathI am so happy, I am so happy, were his final wordsthe power of his verse, with its striding meter and tumbling imagery, would break into the literary world with lasting impact. But the inspiration at its core is somethingsomeoneno creative-writing department can explain.