John F. Deane & James Harpur at Manchester Cathedral

Date: Wednesday 11 July 2018 (6pm to 8pm)

Please join us for the launch of two new remarkable collections from Irish poets John F. Deane and James Harpur, introduced by the Cathedral's Poet in Residence, Andrew Rudd.

With 'Crocus: a brief history', John F. Deane sets his Dear Pilgrims in motion, a series of brief histories of time, a time that is rich in incident and in redemption. In a decisively secular age, Deane's is a poetry of Christian belief. It explores renewal, alive with and to the kinds of witness he has learned from George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins and R.S. Thomas. His 'I', like theirs, makes space for a reluctant 'us'. Dear Pilgrims includes actual pilgrimages. The poet moves through England (East Anglia in particular), Israel and Palestine, disclosing a 'new testament' that revisions the Christian faith through the eyes of an unknown female disciple of Christ. He vividly adapts the Middle English poem Pearl and realises it for our time. He is also a master of the sonnet as an instrument of love, doubt and faith. The poet's voice, perhaps because of the timeless wisdom it carries, is vital and contemporary. It is no surprise that the founder of Poetry Ireland and Dedalus Press is a poet of wide reading and vision. The clarity of his verse and purpose makes his voice unique. Rowan Williams celebrates his 'Music, a stony, damp and deeply alive landscape (both Ireland and the Holy Land), a passionate and searching engagement with God'.

At the heart of James Harpur's The White Silhouette is a meditative poem inspired by the Book of Kells - a poem that follows threads into themes such as the nature of the divine, the efficacy of sacred art, and the way of silence. The title poem - described in the TLS as a 'compelling spiritual memoir' - is a haunting journey of 'missed encounters' in the landscapes of Wiltshire, Tipperary, and Patmos. Elsewhere, Harpur writes about pilgrimage, the Perseids, mystical experiences, and icons and iconoclasm - from Rublev's golden images to decapitated angels in Galway. He complements his explorations of the sacred with more directly personal poems, including elegies and elegiac translations from Homer and Horace. Harpur's poetry is distinguished by its lyric grace and mythohistorical resonance. The musical texture of his lines conveys the warmth, clarity and intimacy of a voice exploring the mysteries of natural, human, and metaphysical worlds. The White Silhouette is the richest summation of his spiritual journey to date.

This is a free event & refreshments will be served. For more information and to to register your attendance, click here.

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Venue:
Manchester Cathedral