The Splash of Words
Believing in Poetry
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Winner of the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing
For those who know they enjoy poetry, and those for whom it is just a memory from schooldays, here is a rich feast that enables us to rediscover poetry's power to startle, challenge and reframe our vision. Like throwing a pebble into water, a poem causes a 'splash of words' whose ripples can transform the way we see the world, ourselves and God.
The Splash of Words argues that belief in poetry is vital for understanding that God is in the world as poetry is in a poem. It includes 40 poems from contemporary poets, as well as poems from earlier generations. Each is accompanied by a reflection, based on a deep understanding of poets and their art, which explores why poetry is vital to faith and how scripture, liturgy and theology are all poetry in motion.
‘It's extremely unusual to meet anyone who isn't a specialist who has such a subtle feeling for language as he does.’ - Sir Andrew Motion
'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
'Some writers have the gift of simply letting you know you can trust them. Mark Oakley has this gift in abundance: in this book we read in his company a succession of very diverse poems; we listen to his honest, careful, demanding reflections on them; and we recognise that this is a deeply authentic voice that can be relied on not to give us either clichés or indulgent ramblings. 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