Poetry lovers worldwide appreciate the French poet Eugène Guillevic (1907–1997). However, most criticism on him emanates from France, the United Kingdom, and Canada, where his canonicity is self-evident, especially given recent conference proceedings and posthumous poetry collections. Are there singularly American perspectives through which we reach, to paraphrase a translation of Guillevic by the Anglo-American poet Denise Levertov, the “live coal’s core” that animates beings and things? How do poets make us experience this “noyau de braise” that enlivens matter, sparks connections between the human and nonhuman worlds, and allows us to see even rocks as spurred on by an inner dance? The present study of poetry and the sacred places works by the American poet-essayist Wendell Berry (1934–) alongside Guillevic’s to explore traits that in the USA can make these writers, paradoxically, at once canonical and less critically noticed. With Guillevic as its point of departure, this study discusses how the sweet ripening, inward clarity, and shared growth these poets depict attune us to the sacred that pervades the natural world and to dialogue with ourselves and our surroundings. Foregrounded for analysis are Trouées and Motifs, alongside Berry’s New Collected Poems and Sabbath Poems Collected and New.

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