Cover image for The best spiritual writing, 1998
The best spiritual writing, 1998
Zaleski, Philip.
First edition.
Publication Information:
[San Francisco] : HarperSanFrancisco, [1998]

Physical Description:
xxv, 326 pages ; 21 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS509.S62 B47 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Essays, articles and poems that represent the best voices in various spiritual traditions. With work from both renowned and new writers, this remarkable volume will help spiritual seekers distill the riches of all the great religions.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Zaleski, an author and editor of Parabola, has created an anthology of the best of the year's spiritual writing, which he describes as "poetry and prose that addresses, in a manner both profound and beautiful, the workings of the spirit." Surely many more poems qualify for inclusion than the outstanding few collected here, including a stunning tribute to Simone Weil by Edward Hirsch, but the prose selections are so poignant and fresh that there are no grounds for complaint. Rick Bass, Gretel Ehrlich, and Barry Lopez write about nature as an inspirational fount, and Natalie Goldberg reports on the revelations associated with a dog bite. Andre Dubus, Reynolds Price, Rick Moody, and Francine Prose offer resonant personal experiences and are joined by two dozen other superb writers, each with a unique and stirring interpretation of the sacred. --Donna Seaman

Publisher's Weekly Review

In her introduction, essayist Hampl aptly characterizes both our age and the need for this anthology: "We are a people who cannot get enough of self-help books (the sermon literature of our day), of meditation guides, accounts of spiritual journeys, and spiritual autobiographies." Zaleski (Gifts of the Spirit) satisfies the appetite for sustenance in this smorgasbord of tantalizing spiritual morsels. Collected here are 38 essays and poems drawn from 23 different periodicals, as well as some pieces published here for the first time (including Madeleine L'Engle's paean to God's power and love, "Into Your Hands, O Lord, I Commend My Spirit"). Selections represent spiritual traditions ranging from Judaism and Christianity to Buddhism and Hinduism. While many of the writings arise from a writer's deep involvement with a particular religious tradition, some essays, like Rick Bass's "The Heart of a Forest," and Reynolds Price's poem, "A Long and Sizable Farewell," teach us eloquently that the spiritual inhabits our quotidian world and imbues it with meaning. The anthology contains a "who's who" of modern writers, ranging from novelist and essayist Andre Dubus and essayist Joseph Epstein to novelists Gretel Ehrlich and Cynthia Ozick. The book includes a list of "Notable Spiritual Writing of 1997." Zaleski's keen eye for high-quality spiritual writing makes this a significant addition to the spiritual literature of our time. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

In the tradition of popular annual anthologies such as The Best American Short Stories 1998 (LJ 10/1/98), this volume introduces the first in a series of yearly collections of writing that, as editor Zaleski (senior editor of Parabola magazine) says in his preface, "meets the twin criteria of literary merit and spiritual insight." Zaleski exercises his own challenging insight by pulling together prose and poetry (most previously published in a variety of periodicals ranging from First Things to Yoga Journal to the New York Times Magazine) by the likes of Rick Bass, Cynthia Ozick, Huston Smith, and other well-known and unknown writers. In her fascinating introduction, author Patricia Hampl discusses the prevalence of spiritual literature in today's culture, asserting that "it is precisely our deep sense of not knowing that makes ours an age of great spiritual inquiry." Recommended for public libraries.‘Rebecca Miller, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.