Recently, Wipf and Stock sent me Callid Keefe-Perry’s latest book: Way To Water: A Theopoetics Primer. I have long since been interested in both the concept and practices of theopoetics, after reading Catherine Keller’s work for years. In Callid Keefe-Perry’s Way To Water: A Theopoetics Primer, the reader is met with a robust history of theopoetics that creates new pathways for understanding how the theo-logic can be transformed with the theo-poetic. Attention to the overwhelming reality of experience in formulating theological frameworks brings the poetic into clearer vision; the reader is seduced into an experience of theopoetics and in turn begins to taste theology differently.
Poesis is an important category in thinking through and about theology for Keefe-Perry. It is not just rhythm and rhyme that motivates the theology of theopoetics, but rather the experience of tasting theology with all of one’s being. Theopoetics is an embrace of the sensual, the relational, and the experience of God coming close. It is perhaps why, when I read Keefe-Perry’s book, I am drawn to thinking about both theopoetics and queer relationality—a way to becoming materially queer, as I see it. The materially rich book mobilizes not only a call to rethink and re-map theology, but also a way to rethink the ways in which our theological relationality is impacted. I see this as part of a materially becoming queer relationality. I cannot minimize the materially rich discourse that Keefe-Perry uses. There is a materiality of language that permeates the entire book. The language is alive, materially so, and ignites new contours for thinking about becoming and queerness.
As I think about theopoetics, I also think about queer relationality & the reality that both of these concepts & realities holds open the khôra, a radically generative space–opposed to certainty–that becomes primary. Way to Water is a way to becoming materially queer in that leaning into a future that is radically queer, it is primarily about the intentionality of embracing the khôra, that radically generative space of possibility that becomes a place of shared queerness, a mutual place of compulsion toward radical social change.
Theopoetics is about tasting the language in material ways. Relationality is about participating in the perichoretic dance whose articulations are incarnations of an advent-horizon, never receding but rather striving for hope and change. The way to water is one such path to embracing the contours of possibility that are native to becoming materially queer.