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Poetry should “make the visible a little harder to see” (Wallace Stevens), and should provide “a bombardment of proofs that the world is one” (Richard Wilbur). This much is obvious, but there are more subtle services poetry should provide. It should afflict alike the comfortable and uncomfortable; shock in a sudden,...

Among books of spiritual direction, that are short, and in English, my favourite is probably The Cloud of Unknowing — written in Chaucer’s day by some anonymous cleric, perhaps a Carthusian. He is not without personality, so that once we notice it we realize that a second treatise, The Book...