Peggy Rosenthal, author of Praying Through Poetry: Hope for Violent Times, is the compiler of this inspiring collection of poems. It should prove to be an invaluable resource for peacemakers to use in rallies, vigils, and prayer services. In the preface, she notes: "Poetry is language with its heart and ears held open. Its heart opens to take in human suffering and to pulsate to the beat of human desires and hopes." For her, this medium of communication is ideally suited to nonviolent peacemaking since it is dedicated to truth-telling, conscious of the fragility of human understanding, and open to "the imagination's freedom at the core of its soul."

The paperback is divided into chapters on The Feel of War, The Feel of Injustice, Celebrating Life in the Midst of Violence, The Nonviolent Spirit, Poems about Protests, Poems for Rallies and Vigils, Poems for Prayer Services and Other Gatherings, and Poems to Refresh the Activist Soul. Pax Christi, an organization dedicated to nonviolent spirituality and action for social change, has dedicated this volume to the many poets who have put their gifts at the service of our era's shared horrors and hopes.

There are so many memorable poems in this excellent collection. We were moved by Karen Choate's "Villanelle for the Morning Sky" which conveys the terror of the U.S. bombing of Iraq in March of 2003:

Women and children — they wail and cry,
mourning doves perched in sad array.
The Tigris and Euphrates flow slowly by.

We have grown far too used to war. That is the message of Wislawa Szymborsaka's "The End and The Beginning":

"After every war
someone has to tidy up,
Things won't pick
themselves up, after all."

War takes many forms and Chilean poet Teresa de Jesus in "All of a Sudden" describes the heartbreak of those related to the 2000 citizens who disappeared under the Pinochet dictatorship of the 1970s.

What is it with these people-swallowing streets
all of a sudden?
They've become cannibal streets
all of a sudden
these straight, commonplace streets
groomed every hour
with the blue cream of an everyday smog.

And then there is Billy Collins catching the hostility and impatience that fuels violence in "Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House," Barbara Kingsolver at a candlelight protest vigil in "Deadline," and Denise Levertov expressing her activist sympathies in "Protesters." Other poems to savor are by Daniel Berrigan, Wendell Berry, Mary Lou Kownacki, and Alice Walker.