Interview: Luci Shaw Wants to Open the Windows

In Reversing Entropy, the 95-year-old poet looks lovingly at creation.

Luci Shaw is a legend in Christian literary circles. Her many volumes of poetry—named for rivers and clay, the color green, the glint of seaglass—speak to the beauty of creation and the generosity of the Creator. She has written on faith and art, the Christian imagination, and prayer, including a few books co-authored with her friend, Madeleine L’Engle. Shaw is also a beloved teacher, serving as longtime writer-in-residence at Regent College.

Speaking with the poet about her latest collection Reversing Entropy (out this spring from Paraclete Press), I understood how she has served as an inspiration for generations of students and readers. She’s gentle, curious, and wise. Her way of seeing the world is wondrous—everything from lichens, to a shivering little lake, to “jewel dew” in the grass, is significant. All the world inspires praise.

Reversing Entropy doesn’t just look around; it looks ahead. Luci Shaw is 95 years old, and this collection is understandably full of endings. Leaves fall; ripe apricots drop from a tree; her brother passes away. There is “the inevitable decay / the leaving and the dying.”

But there’s also hope. From the collection’s final entry, a long, tumbling prose poem that Shaw says “poured out” of her “like a gift”:

Give praise, now, to our God, the Quickener, the One who stirs us into such new life that we, and all creation, may wake to the sound of a fresh music, and start to sing again the songs of love, and longing, and refreshment. …Come Springtime, that most beneficent of seasons, all, everything, every thing, will be thawing, rising, joyful, laughing, tuning up for the evermore, and in every green …

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