Richard St. John’s books of poetry are described below. Ordering information is at the bottom of this page.

Each Perfected Name cover

Each Perfected Name — Truman State University Press, 2015. Paperback $16.95

The poems in Each Perfected Name are about many things: seeing the sacred in the ordinary, recalling the beloved fragility we all carry with us, and wondering what we should do in the world with the stories and symbols that shape us. These meditative, conversational, yet carefully-crafted poems are about Odysseus, Aristotle, and the G-20 Summit; planets, quarks and stars; urban landscapes, the problem of the soul, and more.

“There is a gentleness to Richard St. John’s new book, and it permeates the thought, observation, and expression of the poet, who is constantly noticing how one thing breathes into another.  In these poems St. John’s presence is everywhere, and he takes in the world with gratitude, attention, and a tender scrutiny that moves the reader into his or her own “trapped divine” where objects, people, ideas and reverence, jostle and settle into new relationships.  St. John is a careful guide and his words trace the workings of an open heart.” – Frank X. Gaspar, author of Late Rapturous

The Pure Inconstancy Of Grace, cover

The Pure Inconstancy of Grace, Truman State University Press, 2005. Paperback $16.95

The Pure Inconstancy of Grace was selected by Diane Wakoski as first runner-up for the 2004 T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry.

Here are some reactions to the book:

“Richard St. John is a master craftsman who eloquently illuminates the human condition in surprising and profound ways. He finds genuine grace in the midst of suffering and despair, as well as in mundane moments of daily life. These are powerful poems with clear-eyed empathy and uncanny insight.” – Maurya Simon, University of California-Riverside

“What remarkable, original, and intelligent poems these are – without an echo of imitation or lingering indebtedness. Above all, these are poems of felt intelligence – a quality one associates with Richard Wilbur or John Donne and too few others. Richard St. John is among the select few. This book ranks among the best recent books of poems I have read, and I mean every word of that.” – Samuel Hazo, International Poetry Forum

“Everywhere St. John looks — a painting, a woman walking her dogs, a carafe, a skull – he sees possibility, “these works of grace – incongruous / and unexpected. And yet, undeniably, here.” St. John has crafted a volume that rewards the reader with its wisdom and its frankness, its meditations on the universality of human experience.” – Poet Lore

Shrine, cover

Shrine, 2011. Paperback $14.00

This long poem, which grew from an 8-day visit to Hiroshima and other cities in Japan, was published as a chapbook in 2011.

“This is a stunning poem, nuanced and complex and beautifully crafted so that each section builds and turns back to the previous and points to the next. It’s impossible to do it credit. Through the alchemy of St. John’s voice, passion, and imagery, we are shown not only the “unequal losses” but also the miracles and shrines of our own worlds – a gift we’re seldom given in contemporary poetry.” – Jo McDougall

“This is a moving, social as well as deeply personal poem.” — Judith Vollmer


Each Perfected Name or The Pure Inconstancy of Grace can be ordered in any of these ways:

Shrine can be ordered by clicking here.

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