Cast of Valor, The

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Preface by Patricia Buckley Bozell, 144 pages, 5½" x 5½", introduction

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Cast of Valor, The

Lasseter, Rollin A.

In stark and bracing contrast with the signature narcissism and self-pity of contemporary verse, The Cast of Valor is not “feeling verse,” nor is it confessional or even personal. This is true poetry, communal in the greater Christian tradition and anchored in universal human experience. Traditional English verse is employed by the poet in meter and rhyme, but the subject matter is far from archaic in theme and perspective. This poetry is universal in its consideration of historic parallels in individual, personal lives. Born in Nashville, Tennessee, and educated at Vanderbilt and Yale, Rollin Lasseter formed his poetic imagination half a century ago by his mentors in faith and verse – Donald Davidson, Cleanth Brooks, Dorothy L. Sayers, Charles Williams, and W. B. Yeats – and accompany the author into the religious challenges of the millennium. The modern soul is exiled from religious certainties and conventional understanding. It must either reconcile to permanent exile from the disorder of modern culture, or find the connection to Faith that would allow a permanent home in God’s order.

The modern touch of jarring or unsettling images raises the central questions of modernity – how is humanity to find meaning in this technological age? In nature’s order? In historical tradition? In familial love? In religious Faith? What is the human being’s true nature? How does human suffering and pain lead to God? What do human loves give the soul for nourishment? And above all, how is the modern soul to find God? The poet points the way to heaven through the relationships and moments of Grace given in this world. Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses in history and contemporary life, the soul can see God’s hand in both the great and little experiences of our time – papal wisdom and intimate human revelations.

Rollin A. Lasseter retired in 2003 from the English faculty of the University of Dallas. He is currently general editor and primary writer for a series of history textbooks for jr. high and high school students, the Catholic Schools Textbook Project. His poetry has won several awards over the years.