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The Poems of Rowan Williams
ISBN: 978 1 847774 52 1
Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, Anglican, British, Translation, Welsh
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Published: April 2014
211 x 132 x 10 mm
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Also available in: eBook (Kindle), eBook (EPUB)
Digital access available through Exact Editions
Outside an absence. While they learned and slept,
It had drawn off behind the sky’s stone face.
The world between their bodies and their palms
Is left to turn. The silence calms.
The morning’s news is plain: the centre space
Is empty. Under the trees where he once stepped
It is for you to go.
from ‘Great Sabbath’
‘I dislike the idea of being a religious poet. I would prefer to be a poet for whom religious things mattered intensely.’
In the poems collected in this book, Rowan Williams writes of many things. He visits the Holy Land, commemorates the deaths of parents and close friends, explores elements of ancient Celtic culture; poems are inspired by works of art, landscapes rural and urban, and historical figures from Tolstoy to Simone Weil. What connects poem to poem is the poet’s vividly sensual language, his formal mastery, and how he can address, specifically and particularly, what matters most intensely. ‘Earth is a hard text to read’, writes Welsh poet Waldo Williams in a poem translated here. For Rowan Williams, this very reading is the task of the poet.
'His poetry opens windows on a rich and restless imagination.'
Boyd Tonkin, Independent 'Reading this poet, at such a period in our history, is like feeling the first drops of rain after a long season of drought.'
A.N. Wilson, Daily Telegraph
'It's serious, craftsmanly writing on faith, history and mortality - it's the real thing.'
Sean O'Brien, Independent
Praise for Rowan Williams 'The handful of truly successful poems here marry [Williams'] terse precision with an unwavering search for the truth, whatever it is, however elusive it might be' - 'While the dark melts''
Times Literary Supplement 18.12.2015
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