Monday, November 22, 2010

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams is a Welsh poet, born of Welsh-speaking parents. He has recently become internationally known since he became the Archbishop of Canterbury in December of 2002.

In 2009 he gave an address on poetry — speaking primarily of favourite poets associated with the south bank of the Thames — Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Keats and Blake — having an actor read several of their poems. Rowan Williams said:
--------“There's an element for every poet of necessity in
--------what he or she says...[T]he poet doesn't simply say,
--------‘you might say it this way’ or ‘here's a thought’.
--------The poet says, ‘I can't not say this.’ And that, ‘I
--------can't not say this’ is where the pressure, the
--------integrity of poetry comes from. Poetry loses its
--------integrity when it's either trying to be clever or
--------trying to get a message across with a capital ‘m’.
--------That doesn't mean that poetry is uninterested in
--------morality... [T]here's no more moral poet in the
--------English language than William Blake. But as soon
--------as poetry becomes a rhyming version of good advice
--------it loses its energy. It loses its sense of necessity.”

He has published several collections of poetry, including, Headwaters: Poems of Rowan Williams. He has also translated poetry from Welsh and Russian.

Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf's fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud's folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like child.

This is the first Kingdom Poets post about Rowan Williams: second post.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. He is the award-winning author of the poetry collections Poiema (Wipf & Stock) and So The Moon Would Not Be Swallowed (Rubicon Press). They are both available at: