Before he was killed in World War I—tragically, just days before the Armistice—the poet Wilfred Owen wrote these words as preface to the book he never got to hold in his hands: “The poetry is in the pity.” One could make the case that Owen’s assessment applies to all great poetry that bears compassionate witness to human suffering. It certainly applies to the poetry of Daniel Berrigan.
In Prayer for the Morning Headlines: On the Sanctity of Life and Death, photographer Adrianna Amari responds to selected Berrigan poems with her remarkable photographs of statuary in aging Baltimore cemeteries. In a sorrowful time of war—our own time—Amari’s photography is a gift to the weary peacemaker. For here the poetry is indeed in the pity, seemingly inexhaustible, embracing the saints who have suffered and died, as well as the witness who turns the pages.