For half a century and more a debate has ensued about the so-called eternal conflict between scientific evolution and creation spirituality. Herein enters a new voice in the conversation, Marci Nelligan, who writes poetry integrating Darwin’s Origin of Species and the Bible into poetic verses such as “…We are brought into life/anticipated on the same/division, instruments/that briefly play./So wholly, so slightly/insufficient, we believe/as we endeavor/this continual instinct/for being, or to be.” Add to the mix the wonder of desire, “…if you circumcise desire/existence becomes difficult/- the perfect elaboration of chance…” To Nelligan the memory of our origin is lost and becomes the religious feeling that says yes to constraints, which is what we eventually become. But knowing that both co-exist is the freedom this remarkable poetry offers, a new beginning, a unity of the sacred and secular.
Deborah Schoeneman, is a former English teacher/Writing Across the Curriculum Center Coordinator at North Shore Hebrew Academy High School and coeditor of Modern American Literature: A Library of Literary Criticism, Vol. VI, published in 1997.
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