Faith and Doubt

An Anthology of Poems

Henry Holt
2007 | ISBN
0-8050-8213-1 | ISBN-13 978-0-8050-8213-5
Faith and Doubt

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” 
—Martin Luther King Jr.

What do you believe in? What makes you doubt? Acclaimed anthologist Patrice Vecchione finds the struggle between faith and doubt in many places–from religion to politics and war, to love, to the act of writing itself.

How to Order

From the Introduction

Just what are you going to believe? What your mother believes? What your father does? What the muscle-y guy down the street or the girl who carries her schoolbooks on the top of her head has faith in? Your best friend knows where his faith is located, or so he says. The minister at church sounds convincing. The rabbi has a confidence that’s enviable. Your teacher claims to know what’s worth believing in. Ancient Greek philosophers said one thing. Confusious another. If the president tells you what to believe, do you automatically believe it? Does his or her faith sway you? . . .

The kiss is as invisible as air, yet you inhale its magic over and over again. Twenty years from now, will that kiss still make you swoon? Will it hold your faith . . .

Life has sucked my belief out of many things But in poetry, my faith remains mostly whole. Often my poems hide from me throughout a whole winter. They hang out below the ground, groveling with earthworms, but I can’t believe that. My faith in writing falters, until spring calls it back. A bell in my heart rings, reminding me of poetry. My faith in writing falters, until spring calls it back. . . . The earliest poem in this collection comes from 600 B.C.E. The most recent one is merely a few months old. People have been grappling with questions of faith and doubt since the very beginning of time. You may find that your own questions lead you to paper and pencil too.


“Vecchione is a master at anthology.”

“Just what are you going to believe?… What gives you strength?¡± Vecchione asks in her spirited introduction to poems that explore themes of faith and doubt…. Appended biographical notes will point teens to more works by the poets featured in this stirring collection. Booklist For her intelligent anthology, Vecchione has chosen poems-the longest of them barely three pages and most only one page–that address questions of faith and its mirror shadow, doubt, in the broadest possible manner. They turn the concept like a faceted gemstone, the light changing with the slightest move. Her reach is deep….”

“As she did with Revenge & Forgiveness (2004) and Truth & Lies (2001, both Holt), Vecchione explores weighty topics in a wide-ranging anthology. . . It¡¯s a diverse collection, balanced by both the insightful introduction and the brief but interesting biographies of the poems, which touch on the topics at hand.”

“Vecchione has gathered an extraordinary collection of poems that explore the many aspects of faith and doubt. From religion and politics to love and war, the poets who share their feelings are in agreement on one thing — the struggle between faith and doubt can be difficult for anyone regardless of his or her age, culture, or the time in which the individual lives.”

Read an Excerpt

God Says Yes to Me

I asked God if it was okay to be melodramatic
and she said yes
I asked her if it was okay to be short
and she said it sure is
I asked her if I could wear nail polish
or not wear nail polish
and she said honey
she calls me that sometime
she said you can do just exactly
what you want to
Thanks God I said
And is it even okay if I don’t paragraph
my letters
Sweetcakes God said
who knows where she picked that up
what I’m telling you is
Yes Yes Yes

Kaylin Haught

“Doubt Thou the Stars Are Fire”

Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love.

William Shakespeare