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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A major literary achievement, 13 Dec 2012
This sonnet sequence is a major literary achievement - it is powerful on every level, from the individual sonnets (which are marvelous) to the arc of the whole sequence, in which the seventy sonnets are part of one deeply moving whole.

Each of the seventy individual sonnets shows Guite's tremendous gifts as a poet: clear, fresh language and vivid images that carry, on re-reading, more and more levels of meaning. These are poems that are delightful on the first read and get better on every re-reading. Part of Guite's gift is his ability to write with total honesty about pain and sorrow (the "Stations of the Cross" sequence is worth the price of the book by itself) in such a way as to go through, not around, the darkness. Because of this honesty, Guite's sonnets that express themes of hope and joy are authentic and moving. There isn't a false word or shallow sentiment anywhere to be found here.

The achievement of the whole is much more than the sum of the parts. These poems originally appeared in draft form on Malcolm Guite's blog; in Sounding the Seasons, they have been re-arranged, selected, and in many cases substantially revised to create a powerful sequence as a whole. The structure and sequencing of Sounding the Seasons amplifies and deepens the effect of each individual sonnet, as it is read in context with the others.

The book also contains an interesting introductory essay by Guite in which he discusses the literary forerunners of the sonnet sequence, and discusses his aims in writing poetry that is both richly meaningful and accessible to the ordinary reader, as well as various useful appendices such as an index of Scriptural references.

Sounding the Seasons is, in short, not to be missed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 17 Dec 2012
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Michael Ward (Oxford, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The heart of the book is the 'Stations of the Cross' sequence, where Guite's poetic and theological gifts come together most perfectly and movingly. I predict that this section of the work will become a regular feature of Good Friday liturgies in churches round the world and in due course come to be regarded as a classic. It's quite brilliant. The rest of the sequence has less intensity, but is still full of great things. The poetic register, while remaining deeply suggestive, is always accessible, and the doctrinal presuppositions are very much in the Lewisian 'Mere Christianity' tradition, meaning that almost all Christians should find that they are able to gain spiritual nourishment from what is on offer. In addition to the poetry itself, the volume is richly furnished with supporting apparatus, including an excellent introductory essay, two helpful appendices, a couple of user-friendly indexes, et cetera. All told, a gem.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About the liturgical year and about the reader, 3 Dec 2012
This review is not about the book, which I am looking forward to buying for Christmas, but about the poems as published on the blog. Each poem is about God's presence witnessed in the liturgical year but also about the reader. Each sonnet whether about a biblical character or an event in the life of Jesus echoes the moments and questions that matter in our personal lives. They express something deep about being human, our questions, and the response others gave and those we can give.
In the sonnet for the feast of the Transfiguration, Malcolm writes:
"The Love that dances at the heart of things
Shone out upon us from a human face.
And to that light the light in us leaped up"
Reading the sonnets something in our depth, leaps up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poems to burn pockets, 9 Jun 2014
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Whether a 'believer' or not, these poems illuminate the ground where human existence encounters Divine Love. That ground may be rocky and tearstained: Malcolm Guite's work therefore approaches it with compassion and forensic assessment. The sonnet form for the poems is a method of pain-management, making the unbearable bearable enough to be examined and reflected upon. All this might sound too elevated to be attractive: instead, the craftsmanship of George Herbert meets the radicalism of Wordsworth. These poems are acceptable to all intellects, and can move all hearts.
Why do I make such a claim? Well, I heard a section of them performed in a large public venue recently: grown men and co-performers wept. And went away feeling enriched and respectful.
The volume is quite slim and travels well. If 'reflective time' matters to you, take it with you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uplifting sonnets, 23 May 2014
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I came to know Fr. Malcolm at the Palm Sunday service in St. Ed's this year and was inspired by his words about the meaning of this feast, about the King who offers his crown to his people and how He gently comes to us and will never stay away from us, in the beautiful and less so moments. This is true poetry, he elevates the little things that can make the difference and links them incredibly to the big ones. He invites us to celebrate so many of the events of the Bible in our daily life and human condition, and makes them meaningful. Truly a work that lets my heart be on high.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Sonnets from Malcolm Guite, 25 Sep 2013
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This is a beautiful collection of sonnets for occasions through the Christian Year, inspired by writers like John Keble and John Donne, but bringing a fresh, vigorous contemporary idiom to a classical form. Malcolm Guite's theological imagination and acutely sensitive use of words come together in compositions which have already proved their potential to be part of an act of worship, as well as a reflection on Christian themes. It deserves to be widely commended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars, 28 Jun 2014
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A beautiful resource of poetic reflection into the Christian year.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome gift, 21 Oct 2013
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Bought this for my wife, who has found in it a remarkable set of writings, particularly the stations of the cross.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really lovely book with consummate poetic skill. I am using it at a poetry evening next week. Thank you...Christopher Hewetson, 20 Sep 2013
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See above for my opinion. How delightful to weave the poems into the liturgy. The sonnet is a perfect vehicle for each different poem
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5.0 out of 5 stars intuitive, inspiring, beautiful writing, 2 Sep 2013
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I am not normally a poetry-lover and bought this book for a colleague and therefore looked at it. The themes, the pictures evoked, the thoughts brought to mind and the insights it gave are wonderful and I heartily recommend it for personal use, for meditation and reflection and possibly for a small group. A wealth of resources.
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