How to Write a Hymn
by Anthony Esolen
In my May/June "Illuminations," I had the pleasure of dismembering a few contemporary hymns, if they can be said to have possessed sufficient coherence for dismemberment in the first place. But now I'd like to appeal to Christians who have an ear for verse and music, a heart for Scripture, and a sense of liturgical propriety. What has been done before can be done again. There's no good reason why we cannot have new hymns that work well as poetry, music, Scriptural meditation, and acts of worship. But they don't happen by good will alone. Let me make three recommendations for those who would write new hymns:
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Anthony Esolen is a professor and writer-in-residence at Magdalene College of the Liberal Arts in Warner, New Hampshire. His many books include Sex in the Unreal City: The Demolition of the Western Mind, Life Under Compulsion: Ten Ways to Destroy the Humanity of Your Child, Out of the Ashes: Rebuilding American Culture, and The Hundredfold: Songs for the Lord. He is a regular contributor to Chronicles, Crisis Magazine, The Claremont Review, Inside the Vatican Things, The Catholic Thing, and American Greatness. He has translated Dante's Divine Comedy. He is a Roman Catholic and lives with his wife in New Hampshire. He is a senior editor of Touchstone.
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