The Color of Prayer: Poems on Rembrandt Painting the Bible
by James Green
16 poems, plus 16 color plates (Rembrandt) and introductory essay ~ 55 pages
Price: $13.95
Publisher: Shanti Arts Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-947067-79-0
To Order:
or, from the author at


The Color of Prayer: Poems on Rembrandt Painting the Bible is a collection of ekphrastic poems featuring Rembrandt’s paintings of scenes from The Bible. Each poem is paired with the painting that is the poem’s origin. While Rembrandt was not religious in any conventional sense, his paintings reveal a thorough knowledge of The Bible and a depth of understanding that can only come from ardent study of how the stories speak to humanity’s relationship to God. These poems attempt to complement Rembrandt’s search for how the stories speak to us.


A rich collection of ekphrastic poetry … James Green’s theology and approach to scripture and art are sophisticated but the poems are accessible … thought provoking.
–Wilda Morris, author of Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby Dick

Green elegantly complements Rembrandt’s Biblical paintings … with scholarly attention to detail, Green documents Rembrandt’s beautiful baroque scenes with sparse language, leaving readers with the bliss of paradox and blessing of light.
–Caroline Johnson, author of The Caregiver

Throughout the collection, Green is quiet and calm, reverential, almost as if in prayer himself. His erudition and care in expression bring the reader closer to Rembrandt … vividly depicting light and shadow in his poems, Green reminds of similar contrasts in Rembrandt’s paintings.
–Mardelle Fortier, author of Moon Fire


James has worked as a naval officer, deputy sheriff, high school English teacher, professor of education, and administrator in both public schools and universities. Recipient of two Fulbright grants, he served as a visiting scholar at the University of Limerick in Ireland and at the National Chung Cheng University in Taiwan. His academic publications included three books, as well as scores of articles in professional journals–all on various topics in education. Since retirement he has turned his attention to poetry and has published five poetry chapbooks, with individual poems appearing in literary journals and anthologies in the USA, UK, and Ireland. Awards for his poetry include numerous first prizes in contests sponsored by state poetry societies, as well as nominations for Best of the Net and the MLA Conference on Christianity and Literature Book of the Year. He makes his home in Muncie, Indiana.


The Color of Prayer,
after Rembrandt’s Last Self-portrait

by James Green

The aged faces that you paint all wear
a hard-won peace much like the one of yours
you painted right before you died. The lines
of self-recrimination that you etched
into the brow are softer than the ones
six years before and yet you paint regret
into the eyes. One looks into the light,
the other hides behind the shadow-side.
You pray with lines and light instead of words,
illuminating layered darkness more
with shading than with detail, more with texture
than with proverbs, feathering into
the fertile shadows nuances, into
the stories paradox.


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