poetry

Michael Symmons Roberts (l) and Michael Rosen (r) at St Beuno's
Celebrated author, and Professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths,  University of London, Michael Rosen, recently visited St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales to rediscover how Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ created his new style of poetry.He was joined by award-winning poet and fiction writer, Michael Symmons Robert. The visit to St Beuno’s was for a new radio programme called ‘The First Jazz Poet’, in which BBC Radio 4 listeners will hear both Rosen and Symmons...
A man holds a loaf of bread
I think I know how John the Baptist must have felt when everywhere he went people kept asking him “Are you Elijah – come back from the dead?”. Everywhere I went in Guyana, people always used to ask me: “Are you related to Bryan O’Reilly?”To which I had to respond: “only as brothers in the Lord”. It seemed to disappoint them hugely. One couple came to see me from three hundred miles away in Brazil because they had heard that Fr O’Reilly was back in the Amazon and were so disappointed that my...
Window into garden
‘Reading Alice Oswald’s poetry in the middle days of Lent feels like stopping in a place of spiritual lushness,’ suggests Nathan Koblintz as he spends some time in the fertile landscape that emerges from the words of the award-winning poet. Traditional Lenten concerns of conversion, renewal, and watching and waiting all find new expression in her poems, which entice us to see and contemplate change. One of Alice Oswald’s poems is called ‘For Many Hours there’s been an Old Couple Standing...
“Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures … [It is] the unique ability of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind.” (United Nations’ World Poetry Day website).The British Province of the Society of Jesus can count many poets among its members. In previous ‘From the Archives’ blog posts we have already celebrated the verses written down and often beautifully decorated by philosophy students in the...
Drawing of Daniel Berrigan Sj
American Jesuit Daniel Berrigan died on 30 April 2016. As well as being an influential anti-war activist, he was a celebrated poet, and Emily Holman has relished having the opportunity to ponder Berrigan’s words in recent months and reflect on ‘the closeness of poetry and life’ that he communicated so creatively. In his poems we journey into and through darkness, are challenged by encounters and, above all, are guided by the hand of God. Death can be serendipitous. I hadn...
Robert Southwell SJ
On 1 December, the Society of Jesus celebrates the feast of a number of English Jesuit reformation martyrs, among them Saints Edmund Campion and Robert Southwell.  Southwell is perhaps best known for his poetry, to which Brian McClorry SJ offers an introduction here. How does Southwell’s poetry open up a space for Ignatian conversational prayer? Clive James once provocatively remarked that poetry is ‘any piece of writing that can’t be quoted except out of context’. If poetry drowns in...
‘Before we embark on this showcase of memory at this centenary of appalling violence, it is a good thing to ask: What are we about to do? What is a correct orientation to all of this?’ Nathan Koblintz uses the poetry of Edward Thomas, who wrote during, but rarely about, the First World War, to think critically about the act of remembrance.  The words of an Ignatian prayer offer us a spiritual ideal for remembering the War – how does Thomas’s poetry come close to...