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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review of A Prayer For Everyone by Tomas O'Leary

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti… et vobis fratres. Yes, I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned exceedingly well in thought, word, and deed by reading and enjoying way too much blessed Tomas O’Leary’s sacramental poetry text, A Prayer for Everyone.  And, indeed, in this collection of prayers, sermons, homilies, psalms, parables, confessions, and meditations on the curiosities of religious rites, O’Leary demonically and wittily serves up something for every appetite with sometimes skewed, sometimes laugh-out -loud humor. That is not to say that the poet does not have a serious bent. He does. He confronts “heaven’s vacant lot” and life’s “cannibal convention” with due Kierkegaardian dread. The difference is that he responds with exhilarating wonder and glee—a holy glee.  

The title poem, A Prayer For Everyone, appears as the first poem in the book and establishes the poet’s comic view of life and his all- encompassing philosophy. The poem takes the biblical form of the beatitudes from Christ’s all important Sermon on the Mount and with a twinkling eye expands on them. O’Leary’s version begins this way,

Blessed are the absent, for they are not here;

Blessed are the near at hand, for they would

            seem to be;

Blessed are the saved and the damned, for both

            are born to blessing;

Blessed are the best and the worst, the wisest,

            the most foolish…

This way of looking at the world is comic not in a satirical sense, but rather in a Shakespearean sense. O’Leary unflinchingly accepts the world as it is and prays only for the blessings of inertia.  For more of my review of A Prayer For Everyone go here:  http://dougholder.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-prayer-for-everyone-poems-by-tomas.html

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