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The Poems of Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams

Cover of The Poems of Rowan Williams
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Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century, British, Christianity, Translation, Welsh
Imprint: Carcanet Poetry
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Available as:
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Apr 2014)
9781847774521
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eBook (EPUB) Needs ADE!
(Pub. Apr 2014)
9781847775382
£9.95 £8.96
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  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Reviews
  • 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.
    Rowan Williams was born in 1950. He was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury (2002-2012). He spent much of his earlier career as an academic at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford successively. Williams stood down as Archbishop of Canterbury on 31 December 2012 and became Master of Magdalene College at Cambridge ... read more
    '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 'By his own account, Williams would wish to be "a poet for whom religious things mattered intensely". This handsome, electrically charged collection confirms the truth of his aspiration...a poet attentive to language's precise and disconcerting magic.'

    Rachel Mann, Church Times

     'These are poems of great contraries: they are stark, yet there is great hope in their bleakness; they are scholarly, yet there is simplicity beyond their scholarship; they come from head and heart. Not the priest, but the poet, bids you find comfort in their uncomfortable words. We badly need the gift of these poems.'
    Iain McGilchrist
    '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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