The Catholic Culture Podcast: Ep. 81 – Love Like a Conflagration


Jul 17, 2020

From 1981 to 1993, Jane Greer edited Plains Poetry
, publishing poets who were reviving the traditional
tools of “rhyme, meter, alliteration, assonance, painstaking
attention to diction” which had been abandoned in favor of free
verse. (These poets included names you will be familiar with from
the Catholic scene today, such as Anthony Esolen and Mike
Aquilina.) Then, as they say, life happened, and Greer didn’t write
a single poem for almost thirty years.

But God’s ways are unpredictable. After three decades of
silence, Greer was suddenly struck with a poem while sitting in a
New Orleans café. This began a steady stream of output resulting in
her new collection, Love Like a Conflagration (which also
includes the poems from her only previous book).

Greer’s poetry is musical, fiery and accessible, and has
received high praise from many of today’s foremost Catholic poets,
including past podcast guests Samuel Hazo, James Matthew Wilson,
Anthony Esolen and Mike Aquilina. Hazo writes: “There is not a poem
in this remarkable book that will leave you unchanged or be
forgotten … Each of these poems is as permanently current as it is
consummate. [Greer] puts on the page the passion long absent
from American poetry. I’ve never read a book as poetically and
beautifully frank as this.”


[2:57] Style and intended audience of Jane’s work

[3:53] The introductory poem to Love Like a

[9:00] Structure of the collection

[12:22] “Her Green Desire”

[16:19] Jane’s 30-year hiatus from poetry and providential

[23:13] “At the Cafe Pontalba”, Jane’s first poem after 30 years
of silence

[25:27] Jane’s beginnings as a self-taught poet and early

[30:30] “Because God Wanted It”, a poem about unmerited

[34:28] The relationship between Jane’s spiritual life and her

[38:12] Dealing with lust in “Song of the Passerby” and

[45:08] Jane’s work founding and editing Plains Poetry

[50:27] “Bourbon, Neat” and pure play with language

[55:34] The immersive musicality and force of Jane’s poetry

[57:50] “Feminist Androgyne”

[1:03:15] “The Haunting”

[1:05:09] “Twice Betrayed”, a poem in Lazarus’ voice

[1:10:49] “In the Pool at the Bourbon Orleans”


Read “Micha-el”

Love Like a Conflagration

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