this now, only here for a moment, is brief. i hope to notice it. this now is like a tiny poem, the pace, the chances, the moods, the mystery, the turns, the endings. though brief, each now can, if we choose to notice, remind us more about ourselves: pain we feel, hurts being held, more pain we hide, more hurt needing healing. for me, writing poetry is prayerful therapy for more than survival. it opens my eyes and ears to see and hear this now, which, though brief, is bringing me an opportunity to love again, to live again, and to breathe, slowly, with curiosity and nerve and hesitation, cherishing the wonder nearby. i ask you to join me. together, in this poetic stride called life, let us embrace the now, this very brief, very real, very brilliant now.
“There are some truths only poetry can teach, some places within us that only poetry can reach. Chris Maxwell has taken such pains with this excellent poetry that it can reach into the places of our own pain and dislocation and offer healing words and liberating truth. Seamus Heaney once said that the best poetry offers us “phrases that feed the soul”: this collection is full of excellent ‘soul food.’” —Malcolm Guite Priest, Poet “Chris Maxwell is the only person in my book who pens poetry I want to sip, slurp, and guzzle; then pour another glass by turning to the next page!” —Michele Pillar GRAMMY-nominated singer, speaker, and author of the book, Untangled, The Truth Will Set You Free “With this second volume of poetry, Chris Maxwell has found a new rhythm. The words flow more confidently, more boldly, while the voice is less restrained, less tentative. Chris has gained greater fluency in poetic language, and it now seems like his native tongue. Emotions, ideas, experiences, encounters, seasons, scenes – he captures their essence and distills them into concentrated poetic form. Another beautiful book.” —Russell Board Regional Director for Continental Asia IPHC World Missions Ministries
Dr. James Rovira Multigenre/multimodal freelance writer, scholar, and poet –
Chris Maxwell’s second collection of poems, embracing now: pain,
joy, healing, living continues Chris’s honest meditations on the trials
of being simultaneously both a caregiver and a sufferer of viral
encephalitis and, beyond all of that, a man living an everyday life.
His honesty about his trials throughout lends sincerity to his affirmations
of belief and ultimate embrace of hope. Rather than producing
a collection of predictable pieties, Chris works in the tradition of
the psalmists, whose honest feelings permeated their ancient poetry
alongside their very real doubts and their ultimate expressions of
faith. As before, Chris’s poetry is highly accessible to those unused
to reading poetry but still engaging for those who read it regularly.
Everyone who has ever lived and struggled, meaning everyone, can
find something in these poems that will bring hope to their everyday
Dr. Doug Beacham General Superintendent International Pentecostal Holiness Church –
embracing now: pain, joy, healing, living is an appropriate title for
health. There is good pain and there’s bad pain. Some forms of pain
are part of the journey to death. Other forms of pain are pathways
to life. Chris Maxwell takes us on this journey through stages of life,
everyday experiences, and insights into the Bible. Poetry is not fluff
reading. It’s an invitation to reflection, thought, meditation. This
collection will help you heal.
Ron White, Ed.D. President, Emmanuel College –
Chris Maxwell has done it again. Poetry that arrests, that stops us in our tracks, that makes us think and wonder, makes us weep, makes us smile. I love Jesus and a platform: “. . .and all tribes seemed to merge: when have tax collectors, priests, teachers, prostitutes, and children all mingled beside military might waiting for the sight of
One claiming to be a Savior?” Chris makes us think about Jesus and
his character—not bending to godless culture. Jesus and his methods—
never exploitive or self-serving. Jesus and his love—always up
close and personal. “Jesus, surprising the culture, was walking away.
. .but a lonely lady finally felt loved for the first time in her life.” So
good. Thanks, Chris.
C. Tracy Reynolds VP for Student Development Emmanuel College –
Chris Maxwell’s second book of poetry, embracing now, is just what
the doctor ordered if you are struggling to connect the dots of your
faith with the contours of life this side of Eden! Continuing in the
tradition of Chris’s former writings, embracing now draws upon the
life experiences, musings, lessons, devotional inspirations, and daily
interactions covering the entire gamut of emotions. Rich in theological
truth, Chris openly and intimately shares his questions, emotions,
insights, and nuggets of wisdom learned in the heat of the
battles of life itself. I thought his last book was his best, but Chris
simply continues to astound with his command of language, nuance,
cleverness, and brilliant imagination. I found myself engaging with
each poem at a variety of different levels ranging from tears, laughter,
smiles, head nods, and simply shaking my head in amazement at
the profound gift of exquisite communication God has placed inside
Chris. To the extent you allow yourself to enter the journey with
him, you will receive more than you bargained for in this collection.
Bob Bennett, Singer-Songwriter –
There is surely a part of us that knows and understands that healing often involves discomfort and endurance. We nod our heads and agree that it might need to get worse before it gets better. But, honestly, nobody really likes that program very much. And that knowledge doesn’t seem to help us very much when we’re right in the middle of it all. In embracing now, Chris Maxwell shares personal stories that make us feel less alone in our weaknesses. He creatively
describes things that are, by definition, hard to name, and encourages us to keep faith even when unbelief might seem like the easy way out. As you get to know how he thinks and feels, poem by poem and page by page, you may find yourself wishing you could sit across the table from this interior tour guide to talk it through. Unless and until that happens, this extended letter from a friend-not-yet-met will have to do!