Mark OakleyA selection of his famous secular poems, many of his religious poems, and extracts from twenty-five sermons.
Reviewed together with Henry Vaughan by Anne Cluysenaar.
Here are two volumes from a new series - 'The Golden Age of Spiritual Writing' (the seventeenth century). They provide us with a window into the spiritual pilgrimages of two men; their doubts, meditations and ecstasies. 'John Donne' is a selection of his famous secular poems (in the vein of Song of Solomon), many of his religious poems, and extracts from twenty-five sermons (on Easter, Christmas and a funeral for example). 'Henry Vaughan' focuses on poems dealing with death, suffering and bible verses. They are hallmarked by his concern for nature. The books therefore present highly charged and deeply moving insights from two idiosyncratic poets. Vaughan writes of Sunday as 'transplanted paradise 'God's walking hour' and 'a gleam of glory after six-days-showers'. This writing from the past challenges us today. Both volumes have an introduction. Mark Oakley talks of using Donne quotations in his sermons. Maybe a brief commentary on each of the texts would have helped the reader to unpack the meaning and facilitate earthing the high voltage of poetic power.
Reviewed by Eric Leese
'Henry Vaughan' focuses on poems dealing with death, suffering and bible verses; hallmarked by his concern for nature.
Church History - Biography