Church Grammar by Bruce Meyer

Stepping from the church to the outer world, Bruce Meyer’s Church Grammar is a collection of poems examining spirituality, from a traditional church setting to finding meaning in nature. The first section, titled “A Gift for Ourselves,” deals with religion in a formal, Anglican setting, while subsequent sections broaden to spirituality and religion in the broader world, finding moments of God in tree branches and sunlight. Additionally, Meyer weaves in the way organized religion is often treated in our daily lives, and how the significance of religious holidays can overlay with happenings in our lives. Meyer is in communication with other pieces of art dealing with Christianity throughout this collection, and it’s a reminder of the long tradition of art and religion coming together to shape much of our cultural touchstones – and this is of course not limited to Western Christianity.

I’m not a religious person at all – I would describe myself as culturally Catholic, at best – but my experiences with religion and spirituality were well represented in Church Grammar. But more importantly, I appreciated the ways in which Meyer introduced other religious art into his poems, turning analysis into additional art. But I was most taken with the spirituality related to nature. Here, Meyer’s poems shine.

Church Grammar is a lovely little collection, with an incredible amount of depth and vivid imagery inside its poems. Meyer’s poems resonate with any of us who have tried to find something bigger and found those moments outside of what we thought was the “correct” setting. Church Grammar sees that and reminds us that meaning is wherever we want it to be, not just in the rituals of organized religion.

Bruce Meyer is the author of sixty-seven books of poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and non-fiction, including three national bestsellers (The Golden Thread, Portraits of Canadian Writers, and the anthology We Wasn’t Pals that he co-edited with Barry Callaghan). He lives in Barrie, Ontario and teaches at Georgian College and at the University of Toronto. 

To purchase a copy of Church Grammar, please visit the St. Thomas Poetry Series website here.