This issue is a collation of works from Australian poets who were not only concerned with the spiritual or religious dimensions of life, but those whose work was among the best this country has to offer. There are practitioners here from various Christian traditions, as well as from Jewish, Hindu and Buddhist backgrounds. There are also several who would describe themselves as agnostic but for whom a concept of the spiritual life is essential.
So what is it about poetry which makes it so instructive for our spiritual existence? Geoff Page and this issue's editor (John Foulcher) discuss this in a conversation recorded in this issue, while Kevin Hart discusses in his essay the connection between prayer, the poetic impulse and religious practice in the creation and appreciation of poetry. Judith Beveridge considers the ways in which the components of poetry incarnate spiritual impulses, and, in his own personal gospel of writing, Mark Tredinnick looks at the nature of poetry itself and reflects on its intrinsic value in enhancing all human endeavour. Each of these writers comes at the question from different angles, and each uses poetry as a doorway into firmer understanding of life beyond—or embodied— in the material.