The Poet and the Fly

Art, Nature, God, Mortality, and Other Elusive Mysteries

The Poet and the Fly

Art, Nature, God, Mortality, and Other Elusive Mysteries

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Flies are the most ubiquitous of insects: buzzing, minuscule, and seemingly insignificant, they've been both plagues and minor annoyances for millennia. Rather than ignore these incredibly mundane and seemingly insignificant creatures, poets spanning centuries--from the seventeenth to the twentieth--and continents--from North America to Asia--have found that these ordinary bugs in fact illuminate deep spiritual mysteries.

In this revelatory book, Robert Hudson considers seven poets, each of whom wrote a provocative poem about a fly. These poets--all mystics in their own way--ponder the simple fly and come to astounding conclusions. Considering Emily Dickinson, William Blake, and several other poets, The Poet and the Fly brings together the poetry, the flies, and the poets' own lives to explore the imaginative, and often prophetic, insights that come from the startling combination of poetry and flies.

Ultimately, the message each poet offers to us through the fly is as relevant today as it was in their own time: the miracle of existence, the gift of mortality, the power of the imagination, the need for compassion, the existence of the soul, the mystery of everything around us, and the sacramental, grace-giving power of story.


"In this marvelous series of meditations, Robert Hudson draws us into the felicity of attending to the fleeting that nonetheless teems with glory. Like its subject, Hudson playfully alights from poets to nature, from creation to creators, from art to science and back. But the flight pattern of this book takes us to the depths of what matters: meaning, mortality, and our hope in the divine."

James K. A. Smith, Calvin University, editor-in-chief of Image journal and author of You Are What You Love and On the Road with Saint Augustine

"The Poet and the Fly--marked on every page by the breadth and depth of Robert Hudson's extraordinary reading--is one of those books that reminds us why art is so important. It vividly demonstrates how poets can wake us up--and in a culture that works so hard at numbing us into sleep, Hudson's work is no less than a blessing."

Gary Schmidt, Newbury Honor and Printz Honor winner, author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars

"Robert Hudson's delightful The Poet and the Fly revealed to me depths in poems I thought I knew and riches in poems I'd missed or foolishly dismissed. It is a pleasure you will not want to deny yourself."

Andrew Hudgins, poet, professor of English, author of The Joker: A Memoir and American Rendering: New and Selected Poems


"As Hudson deconstructs each composition, he weaves in his own wonder and faith in knowing he has much more to learn. This judicious treatment of introspective poetry and literary history is a real treat."
—Publishers Weekly

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506457284
  • Dimensions 5.25 x 7.25
  • Pages 200
  • Publication Date July 28, 2020