All tagged poetry

Poetry and Lent: During Wind and Rain (Thomas Hardy)

I first came across this poem many years ago. I’ve never been a devotee of Hardy. As an undergraduate I tackled Tess of the d’Urbervilles; I found it utterly compulsive, emotionally exhausting, but slightly mechanical—at every key moment in the story, Tess has a decision to make, and after a while you get the idea that she’s not going to make the right one. A few years later I tried Jude the Obscure; after about a hundred pages I figured out that things were going the same way, and decided to quit while I was marginally ahead. But what can be wearing about Hardy’s novels can sometimes be astonishingly powerful in his poems.

Poetry and Lent: Descending Theology (Mary Karr)

Mary Karr writes that ‘Poetry and prayer alike offer . . . [an] instantaneous connection—one person groping from a dark place to meet with another in an instant that strikes fire’. Poetry is akin to prayer, perhaps a form of prayer, as it turns us outward. Language itself does this, moving us beyond ourselves to connect with another. […]

George Herbert: Priest and Poet

When the great Tractarian leader John Keble died in 1866, he was best known as a poet. His volume, The Christian Year, received something like ninety printings in his own lifetime. The obituary published in The Times of London tackles his reputation head on, and concludes that he should probably be thought of as England’s greatest priest poet. Among those who are dismissed as less deserving of the accolade, the writer lists ‘the poet of Bemerton’, one George Herbert (1593-1633).