Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

Devotional Songs

This semester, I'm taking a creative-writing workshop on devotional poetry. I've worked with the instructor, Josh Bell, before, and I'm incredibly excited to be working with him again.

Assignment zero for the workshop was "For fun, start thinking about songs (I'm of course talking pop songs, but interpret this how you'd like) which are in the devotional mode. Then send me links to those songs. And I'll start sending those songs around to this list."

I had a lot of fun exploring several of the possible dimensions of "devotional" with this exercise, especially when I asked my friend Leah for suggestions and she introduced me to several incredible songs that I'd never heard (of) before. And when I was done, I figured that I'd share the ten that I ended up submitting here, just in case any of my readers were interested.

To be clear, I compiled this list for a very specific purpose, and plenty of songs I like a lot got cut in late stages because I felt they fit insufficiently well with the assignment specification. But I still think that the ones that made it all explore (distinct) modes of imagining oneself in relation to some divine entity, which I believe is a useful exercise, whether or not you believe that any such exist.

(Hat-tip to Leah Libresco for recommending "How Glory Goes", "Lot's Wife", and "Stronger". I also first found "The Summons" in one of her old blog posts.)

If you've got other suggestions to add to the list, drop them in the comments below, or mention them to me directly. If I get a quorum of submissions, I may consider compiling them into a sequel post.