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The Splash of Words: Believing in poetry Paperback – 29 Jul 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canterbury Press Norwich (29 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848254687
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848254688
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 14 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'This beautiful and wise meditation centred around Mark Oakley’s anthology of the ‘soul language’ of poetry opens new windows in the shared house of both poetry and belief.' (Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate)

‘A very moving book, opening all kinds of doors into a more compassionate, more truthful understanding.’ (Rowan Williams)

'A wonderful exposition of the relationship between faith, poetry and struggle.' (Shami Chakrabarti, The Guardian)

About the Author

Mark Oakley is Canon Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral, London, and is well known for his interest in poetry and the arts. He is a regular columnist for the Church Times and The Tablet and frequently broadcasts on BBC Radio 4.


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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful book - I really didn't want to reach the end, and know already that I will in due course reread it and find a whole lot more in it. It's not a book to pigeonhole - I learnt a lot more about some poets I thought I knew, discovered poems I hadn't read by well-known writers, and some of the poets were entirely new to me, but I'm really glad to have been introduced to them. Each poem expands as Mark Oakley writes; he is interesting and perceptive about each poet, and what they were doing with the poem, but then he takes this further, a bit like talking to a friend, to think about the implications - how it touches the important things in the world, and why he cares about it. I thought it was an immensely courageous, generous and compassionate book - there is no skirting around difficult subjects, far from it, and he tells us a lot about some of the things he has found difficult himself, so it is not at all preachy. It is also very funny - excellent jokes, of the very best gentle and witty sort - so I read it with huge enjoyment, and the sense that the deep waters into which he goes are challenging but not perilous. I feel expanded by having read it, and am still thinking about some of the things I read. And I gave it as a Christmas present to some of the people I most care about, and am delighted to find myself having conversations with them about it. It's a multidimensional book of the very best sort - I'm so glad to have found it.
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This is a great and wonderful book, a true expression of the very best of what Anglicanism can be. The author however is something of an enigma because in his other writings he is so very churchy in the worst of all possible ways. I can well imagine that he is set on the road to becoming a bishop or a dean, and therefore becoming part of the establishment, which would be a great pity. He has far more to offer than that.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Each chapter of this book consists of a poem followed by thoughts by Mark Oakley. Most of the poems are likely to be unfamiliar to the reader, and all are good. Janet Morley has produced books with the same structure, but Mark Oakley’s approach is a bit different. Where Janet Morley relates her thoughts closely to the text of the poems, with a lot of close reading of them and explanations of how they work as literature, Mark Oakley generally focuses less on literary criticism: there is some brief biographical information about the poets, but to a large extent he uses the poems as springboards into wider reflections, often including extensive quotes from other poems and often referring to his own experiences. The reflections are deep, with much to meditate on. There is a long preface discussing how to read poems – and how to read the Bible in a similar way, opening ourselves to the resonances of the text and Bible imagery and the possibility of widely varying interpretations. Mark Oakley argues against literalist reading of the Bible, and frequently in the rest of the book advocates a religion that is open rather than prescriptive. It is almost worth buying the book for the preface alone.

This is a book to take slowly, no more than a chapter a day. I loved it, and expect to return to it frequently.
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Format: Paperback
I don’t usually like poetry but this book does a kind of lectio divina on a varied selection of poems and likens scripture to poetry- you can’t exhaust its meaning unless you’re a wooden fundamentalist.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellently packaged. I am realy enjoying this beautiful book...read slowly to appreciate its riches.
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Insightful, always challenging, his priestly perspective give does not dominate, and thus his vision is open and loving and a joy.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mark Oakley is a wonderful communicator and his introductions to the poems really elucidate and help.
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