Mercy's Face Summary

Overview (Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

David Craig was born in 1951 in Berea, Ohio. His variety of experiences growing up and making his way through the world led him to a revitalization of faith and a dedication to writing as a means of expressing it. His early jobs, such as driving a taxi, gave him solid experience for his first works. He received his M.F.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Bowling Green State University and took a position teaching creative writing at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Along with his poetry, Craig has written essays and novels, all of which center on his Catholic faith.

This collection provides a selection of Craig’s earlier work and adds a section of new poems. His introduction clearly states his theme: “What seems to hold [these poems] together is an underlying awareness of God’s mercy, that and, to a lesser extent, the joy which so often accompanies Presence.” These strikingly original poems provide new insights into Christian views of mercy and grace. They are simultaneously traditional and experimental; their definition of Catholicism is traditional, but their forms, images, and syntax explore the possibilities of language in new ways.

The bulk of the poems in Mercy’s Face were selected from The Sandaled Foot (1980), Psalms (1982), Peter Maurin, and Other Poems (1985), Like Taxes: Marching Through Gaul (1989), Only One Face (1994), and The Roof of Heaven (1998). The last section of the book, “Road Work,” consists of new...

(The entire section is 623 words.)

Mercy's Face Bibliography (Literary Essentials: Christian Fiction and Nonfiction)

Sources for Further Study

Craig, David. The Cheese Stands Alone. Oak Lawn, Ill.: CMJ Marian, 2003. Clear and inspiring novel by the poet shows another view of his way of applying faith to life and provides an entry into the poems.

“David A. Craig.” Contemporary Authors Online. Farmington Hills, Mich.: Thomson Gale, 2007. A brief description of the poet’s life and works.

Impastato, David. Upholding Mystery: An Anthology of Contemporary Christian Poetry. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Craig’s poetry is placed among top American religious poetry in this anthology, which also provides a good introduction to the subject.

McCann, Janet. Review of Mercy’s Face. St. Anthony Messenger 19, no. 10 (March, 2002) 52-54. A review/analysis of Mercy’s Face, especially in regard to its Christian themes.