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Showing posts from August 27, 2023

Rowan Williams reads Poetry: some Observations from Philip Harvey of ‘A Century of Poetry’

  An anthology of 100 poems written in the past 100 years, with readerly responses on each from Rowan Williams, is a kind of autobiography of the archbishop’s roving mind. Titled ‘A Century of Poetry’, the book’s subtitle gets to the point with the claim that we are “searching the heart.” This is not a best-of or my-favourites collection, but one where poems “open the door to some fresh, searching, and challenging insights about the life of faith.”   The English poet Michael Symmons Roberts opens ‘A New Song’: Sing a new song to the Lord, sing through the skin of your teeth, sing in the code of your blood, sing with a throat full of earth To which Rowan asks, why do we praise? Then answers, “praise is as inescapable as lament in the human world. The singing evoked here is not a full-throated self-indulgent performance; it is what manages to escape from choked and knotted insides because it can’t be contained; and it names or at least points towards what can’t be named.” H

"L was a light which burned all the night ..." -- Edward Lear

  [L]   L was a light which burned all the night and lighted the gloom of a very dark room.   L was Lear who wrote without fear inventing new words strictly for the birds.   L was for London all of a sudden that in a fit said it’s best to flit.   L was landscapes, large romantic shapes sympathetic, with parrots alphabetic.   L was laureate, to whit counter-laureate his In Memoriam a pea-green gloriam.   L was for limerick, simple trick that in a stroke makes a million jokes.   L was Liguria, curious curiouser departed alone but by all, well-known.       The image is Edward Lear’s watercolour of the red-sided parrot ( Eclectus Roratus Polychloros) made circa 1830-32. More history about this painting is here: