Dear Catholic poet:
The average Catholic doesn't read poetry very often. That's a shame for several reasons.
Beauty is one of the primary entry points for the faith. As Bishop Robert Barron has said, "Once hooked by the beauty of the faith, people will be more receptive to the idea that such beauty is inextricably connected to a way of life." That has been my experience. Poetry is a great entry point to deeper faith.
A significant amount of Scripture is poetry and metaphor. This makes the reading of Scripture more difficult for people with no experience of poetry. Exposure to poetry helps people read Scripture in a new way.
There was a time when poetry regularly appeared in newspapers and magazines. Today there are many excellent literary journals that carry poetry but few places where Catholics without a literary inclination will bump into a poem.
To help solve this problem, I asked Deacon Mike Bickerstaff, Editor-in-Chief of IntegratedCatholicLife.org, if he would be interested in a weekly Catholic poem as an addition to his site's editorial content. Not poems from a single poet, but rather a range of poems written by both current Catholic poets as well as Saints and other deceased poets. Deacon Mike thought it was a wonderful idea and so we're off and running with the Catholic Poetry Room, a weekly feature on the site.
We accept both new and previously-published poems as long as they are accessible to the average Catholic and show a strong connection between faith and everyday life, or break open Scripture in a new way for the reader. My hope is that readers will be intrigued enough to read more from the poets featured on the site. Many readers will not have read any poetry since high school. 1 Corinthians 3:2-3 keeps coming to mind as I search for the best Catholic poetry: "I fed you milk, not solid food, because you were unable to take it." As you consider poems that might fit on the site, consider them through the eyes of someone new to poetry.
There's no compensation for poetry published on the site, although we will include a 200-word bio that includes a link to your website. We can also include attribution for where the poem was originally published. I'm not getting paid to be the editor but am passionate about making poetry more accessible. Perhaps sharing your work will help you sell a few more books. The reach and readership of IntegratedCatholicLife.org is significant, as can be seen from the stats in the sidebar.
If you're interested in having your poetry considered for the site, send 2-4 poems along with a 200-word bio to Tim AT CatholicPoetry DOT org. I look forward to hearing from you!
Tim Bete, OCDS
Poetry Editor, IntegratedCatholicLife.org
Recent poems in the Catholic Poetry Room