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Poetry and dogma

Thanks to English friends who posted the link on Facebook, I recently had a chance to hear a remarkable episode of the BBC Radio 4 program Start the Week. It was Remembrance Day, November 11, and the host, Scottish journalist Andrew Marr, was still recovering from a major stroke, which gave the occasion added gravity but also an undertone of solemn gaiety. On the air with him were John Drury, chaplain of Oxford’s All Souls College and author of a new George Herbert biography, the novelist and memoirist Jeanette Winterson, and Sir John Tavener, the mystical composer who had also recently suffered a close brush with death. Avowedly not religious, Marr spoke feelingly of finding solace since his stroke in George Herbert’s and T. S. Eliot’s Christian poetry and in Bach’s cantatas.


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