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Poetry in Motion

by glynch — last modified 19 Mar, 2018 03:57 PM

Hymns Ancient and Modern and Sarum College announce new poetry festival in Salisbury

The first ever Church Times Festival of Poetry, with Sarum College, will be held in Salisbury on Saturday 5 and Sunday 6 May 2018.

Poetry has long featured prominently in religious life. Priest-poets have a long tradition in the Church of England (and elsewhere) and names such as John Donne, Gerard Manley Hopkins, R. S. Thomas and George Herbert are still revered in church and secular life.

The festival programme will bring together an illustrious collection of poets, some of whom are also priests, to celebrate and applaud poetry. 

Highlights include Michael Symmons Roberts in conversation with Mark Oakley (St Paul’s Cathedral, London); Rachel Mann (Manchester Cathedral) asks why we would read 'The War Poets' in 2018; Malcolm Guite reflects on the twin vocations of poet and priest; and Jeremy Davies speaks on the poetry of public prayer.

Jenny Monds from Sarum College said, “Salisbury seems a fitting place to hold the first Church Times poetry festival. The famous seventeenth-century devotional poet George Herbert was ordained and worshipped at Salisbury Cathedral, and was Rector of Bemerton, on the edge of Salisbury, at the end of his life. We are looking forward to bringing together poets from around the UK in what should prove to be a very special weekend.” 

Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times commented, “The words that we use in worship and prayer are as important as the language we use to the people we love. We are in debt to poets down the ages who have taught us how to use words with care. What could be better than a weekend of poetry – listening to it, discussing it – in a city with such a strong literary tradition?” 

The full programme is now available online at – early bird tickets are on sale.

The festival also has a Twitter account at @CTpoetryfest and is using the hashtag #CTpoetry18.

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