How shall one preach given the lateness of the hour? This question forms a haunting refrain in Richard Lischer’s book, which is based on his Lyman Beecher Lectures at Yale Divinity School. Like the title of the book, the question has more than one meaning.
This academic satire is about two professors and their families. Howard Belsey is a white secular liberal, a specialist in Rembrandt, who is engaged in ideological warfare with a visiting professor, Monty Kippes, a conservative Christian scholar from Trinidad. Each character in the story is undermined by his or her self-deceptions.
This is a satisfying sampler of Robert Siegel’s work: scenes from farm life; stories from scripture; a series of poems about fishing; poems about bats, turtles, alligators, mussels, rats and moles; the best poem that has ever been written about the poetic line; and a long poem recapturing memories of his father—all in inimitable Siegel style.