Harps Unhung: Praising God in the Midst of Captivity is a recently released poetry project by Eileen and Vicki Anderson. The mother/daughter team authored 150 poems based on the 150 Psalms using 150 unique poetry forms. The result is an artful and powerful journey into the beauty of the Psalms through the lens of their own laments and praise.
The vision for the project came from Eileen who completed 75 of the Psalm poems before she died of ovarian cancer in March 2013. That’s when Vicki picked up the project, pursued the world of poetry, and persevered to honor her mom, while dealing with her own scars and surgeries.
The title comes from Psalm 137:1-3 (NIV):
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars we hung our harps,
for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
In the preface Vicki explains their work in more detail:
Our vision for this book of poetry is that hurting, hopeless saints, in the very midst of the furnace of affliction, would, despite all perceived silence from God and feelings of abandonment, believe that just above their heads, seen only by the eyes of faith, is an unfurled banner, flapping wildly in the storms of heartache and suffering, it’s embroidered letters spelling out, “Love! My banner over you is LOVE!”.
I’m highlighting their book because I know many who are hurting and struggling with their own life circumstances, and I hope this will be a resource that ministers healing and encouragement. I also like how the authors urge readers to read the poems and the Biblical Psalms side by side to gain a deeper perspective.
Another reason I purchased Harps Unhung is because it’s a good reference for those who write poetry as they give a helpful index of the 150 poetical forms used. One of my personal goals is to write a song or hymn for all 150 Psalms, so this work is near my heart as well.
Have you considered authoring your own creative writing project based on the Psalms?