In his new volume Reading God's Handwriting Philip Kolin has once again heard the whisper of God's word with the ear of his heart and given poetic expression to the timeless value of that word. His writing reflects a sense of reverence that seeks to distill the Divine Word of God and assimilate it into his very being. In the monastic tradition this process is called lectio divina. Such words take up their dwelling and have meaning only in the repetitive process of a hearing that leads to a listening, a pondering, and then, after assimilation, is given expression in the life and activity of the individual. As if praying, Philip has taken it one step farther and given expression in poetic words of profound insight and readability. One who has familiarity with the Bible, the Word of God, will read his poems with delight and will relish the sense of oneness between the writer and the word he has written. His poems offer a treasure of insight and could easily be used as a resource for personal prayer and lectio.

--Abbot Cletus Meagher, O.S.B. St. Bernard Abbey, Cullman, Alabama


In Reading God's Handwriting: Poems, Philip Kolin has hammered out for us a bracelet of tight, hard gems like one of those old rosary bracelets, the solid nub of each bead prompting thoughts and prayers and spiritual insights. These are solid, shining poems, each one a jewel and stopping point in contemplation of this curious world in which the human and divine so strangely overlap.

--Joseph Bottum


What a singular pleasure this book is! Reading God's Handwriting espies the word of God in everything and translates it into beautiful and wise poems whose precise images often startle us into thought. John the Baptist has an unshaven voice. The Divine wears a smile of many colors. Faith is the love affair / between your soul and God's will. We the people are adjectives [s]eeking the only noun that counts, the Word. These are poems that reimagine and revive, that seek to rescue the world.

--Kelly Cherry, author of The Retreats of Thought: Poems


Philip Kolin's new collection of poems, Reading God's Handwriting, is a work of deep faith. Drawing on Scripture as well as the cycles of the liturgical year, these poems give voice to biblical prophets and saints while also celebrating the impact of prayer in the lives of ordinary folks, including monks in Lectio Divina and an aged Russian woman in Praying the Icons, two evocative portraits among many. Reading God s Handwriting grants a vivid sense of the poets great desire to find God in all spiritual experiences and in the many lives and moments that mirror His creation.

--Stella Nesanovich, author of A Brightness that made my soul tremble: Poems on the Life of Hildegard of Bingen and Vespers at Mount Angel: Poems


Philip C. Kolin is the University Distinguished Professor in the College of Arts and Letters at the University of Southern Mississippi where he has taught for the last 38 years. Kolin has published several books of poetry, including Deep Wonder: Poems (Grey Owl Press, 2000); Wailing Walls: Poems (Wind & Water Press, 2006); and A Parable of Women: Poems (Yazoo River Press, 2009). In addition, he has published more than 200 poems in such journals and magazines as America, Saint Anthony Messenger, Christianity and Literature, St. Austin Review, The Cresset, Christian Century, Michigan Quarterly Review, Spiritus, Theology Today, and the Penwood Review which awarded him "The Editors Choice" for his poem Praying the Icons. Kolin has also published more than 30 scholarly books on Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, African American women playwrights, and Edward Albee as well as the widely used textbook Successful Writing at Work, now in its 10th edition with Cengage/Wadworth. He is the editor of the Southern Quarterly and the publisher/editor of Vineyards: A Journal of Christian Poetry. Kolin has been a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for three and a half decades.


  • Hardcover: 122 pages
  • Publisher: Kaufmann Publishing (August 15, 2012)
  • ISBN-10: 098485813X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984858132