Carol Gilbertson’s chapbook, From a Distance, Dancing (2011), was a finalist in Finishing Line’s Open Chapbook Competition. She received the Donald Murray Prize and the Flyway Sweet Corn Prize. Her poem “Night Rising,” inspired composer Philip Wharton’s “Nightrising” for flute, oboe, and strings and became the text of his choral piece “Night Rising.” She wrote the libretto for “Birdsongs,” Wharton’s song cycle for mezzo-soprano. Gilbertson has written five hymn texts and co-edited Translucence: Religion, the Arts, and Imagination. An Emerita Professor of English at Luther College, she held the Dennis M. Jones Distinguished Professorship and was founding director of the Lutheran Festival of Writing.
I am primarily a secular poet, but many of my poems explore theological issues or work with biblical texts and stories. I also write hymn texts. I find that writing a poem is significantly different from writing hymn texts. A poem creates an individual voice describing a unique experience which can resonate and signify universally. A hymn text requires a representative believer-speaker and a message which believers, individually or collectively, will feel comfortable voicing.
Website: Gilbertson Webpage
Affiliations: ELCA, Luther College