June 21st - 23rd, 2018
University of Roehampton, Conference to celebrate the Centenary of the First Edition of Hopkins' poems
Further explanation and reviews to follow; however an early email from Lesley Higgins to the secretary read that 'The Hopkins Society presentation at the conference was excellent - informative, entertaining, and very spirited. The dramatization of the letters was fascinating …..'
One further snippet from Lance Pierson received Sept 19: "The conference to celebrate the centenary of Hopkins’ poems first being published was held appropriately at the college in Roehampton where he trained for the priesthood. Although this is in England, the conference was planned and administered from Regis University in Colorado. Sensing an opportunity, with the world on our doorstep, we asked for a table and display space to publicise ourselves and our wares as the UK Hopkins Society. A month before the conference I had an email from the Chairman, threatening to take away our space, as only 2 of our members had by then booked to attend. I pleaded with him and corrected his maths, and he relented; in the end 9 of our members made it. We managed to sell £70 of our merchandise: particularly popular was the colourful poster of the poem ‘Peace’, produced for the earlier centenary of GMH’s death. But I had to find cardboard packing tubes for people wanting to stow it in their luggage back to the States.
Our pitch was well placed at the foot of the stairs up to the main meeting room. I stuck a large card announcing UK Hopkins Society on the side of the staircase, and promptly got into more trouble. The college archivist / historian gave us a guided tour of the historic building. When we came to the stairs she shrieked, ‘WHO has polluted the beautiful iron railing with blutak?!’ Only on promise of washing all traces of it off did I calm her down!"
"Nothing is so beautiful as Spring" ........On Saturday April 7, some 16 members
of the society visited St Bueno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre. Hopkins lived here from 1874 to 1877, studying theology in preparation for the priesthood. These were some of his happiest years and he wrote some very inspirational poetry here with God and the welsh language and scenery as the background. Indeed it was here that the rector at the time inspired Hopkins to start writing poetry again, after a self imposed ban to better concentrate on his vocation, when the rector commented that someone ought to write a poem based on the wreck of the Deutchland ship in 1975.
The first session on "Preparing to read the poems aloud" was led first by Wyn Hobson and we looked at "Thou are indeed just, Lord", a poem in iambic pentameter form with five stressed syllables in each line. Unlike later poems, this poem is not written in sprung rhythm, a form invented by Hopkins. Wyn helped us to work our way through unstressed and stressed syllables, even finding some that are only half stressed. Lance Pierson took up the mantle and the group analysed the poems of "Spring" and "Hurrahing in Harvest", remembering that Hopkins in his letters to Robert Bridges stressed that his poems worked best when read aloud, and he often included stress marks on his poems. Lance finished by reading "Spelt From Sybil's Leaves, a poem that even many Hopkins enthusiasts find difficult to read and understand but which became all the clearer with the notes that Lance provided and his reading of it, in the way Lance interpreted that Hopkins intended .....
The group experienced an excellent contemplative silent lunch amongst the current retreatants, but due to the misty, drizzly weather and the very muddy state of the local footpaths, the planned guided walk around Moel Maenefa and the welsh countryside that Hopkins so loved was postponed and the group had a walk in the grounds of St Bueno's instead. (photograph below) ...In summary the members left inspired to better read Hopkins poetry aloud in future ....
Hopkins Society Day exploring the origins of Gerard Manley Hopkins and of his most famous poem 'The Wreck of the Deutschland.' Hopkins was born in Stratford (Essex, not upon Avon!) in 1844. In addition to the Society's AGM, we visited the sites of his childhood home and church, and heard about the members of his family. By a strange coincidence the nuns drowned in the German ship ‘Deutschland’, about whom he wrote in his most famous poem, were brought to rest in Stratford and are buried in neighbouring Leytonstone; we visited their graves.
Gladstone's Library, Hawarden, Clwyd, North Wales.
June 17-18 Gladstone's Library is a research and conference centre within reach of St Beuno's and Holywell, where Hopkins trained in the 1870s, and which we shall visit. Our speakers will be a panel of top Hopkins scholars, including Kelsey Thornton, Lesley Higgins and Noel Barber.
We met at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire, the Jesuit boarding school where Hopkins taught in 1878 and 1882-3. We held our AGM; had an excellent lecture from Fr Joe Sweeney, Parish Priest of Rochdale, on Hopkins and Duns Scotus, the medieval philosopher whose influential writings he discovered at Stonyhurst; had a tour of the school; and heard the five poems that Hopkins wrote at Stonyhurst.
In the 19th century Roehampton was a village in Surrey where the Jesuits had a seminary at Manresa House. Gerard Manley Hopkins studied there twice, for his novitiate and his tertianship (stages of preparation for priesthood). He also taught rhetoric there for a year. We try to hold Hopkins Days at places associated with him, and this was our first visit to Roehampton for many years. Today the house is the home of Whitelands College, part of the University of Roehampton in the suburbs of South-West London. This event was organised jointly by the Hopkins Society and Whitelands College and spread over two days. On the Thursday evening David Harsent, the University’s Professor of Creative Writing, gave their annual ‘Hopkins Lecture’ on ‘The Raw Truth of Poetry’. This was followed by a Hopkins Society dinner at which our President, Michael Burgess, told amusing stories of eccentric clerics. On the Friday Gilly King, the University’s archivist, gave us a historical tour of the building; Fr Noel Barber SJ, editor of the forthcoming OUP volume of Hopkins’ sermons and devotional writings, told us the history of Hopkins’ times at Manresa; and Lance Pierson of the Society’s Steering Group gave us a virtual tour of the other places in London where Hopkins lived at different periods of his life.
The Society's 25th annual meeting was at Balliol College, Oxford where as an undergraduate Hopkins read classics and was acclaimed as 'The star of Balliol.' We met for a tour of College, a reading of his undergraduate poems and a viewing of the manuscript of Binsey Poplars. After dinner in College, annual Hopkins lecture was given by Prof Lesley J Higgins of York University, co-editor of the current Oxford University Press publication of Hopkins's Complete Works; her subject ‘Please not to read’ – Gerard Manley Hopkins's Private Texts.
We finished with a visit to St Aloysius' Church where Hopkins ministered, and heard more of his Oxford poems read.
WORKSHOP SPRING 2015
Julia Wilson Dickson the celebrated voice coach was unfortunately unable to be with us because of other commitments. So we coached each other in reading favourite Hopkins poems. Then we went on a short walk celebrating the countryside Hopkins knew and loved and heard the poems he wrote about the landscape. We then walked to Ffynnon Fair (St Mary’s Well) near St Beuno’s, and heard GMH’s Journal entry about his first visit there in 1876.
HARVEST WALK 2014
The Hopkins Society on Saturday 30 August 2014 was a success We met near the Salusbury Arms to enjoy a walk Hopkins will have know (although with less tarmac!) Wyn Hobson recited Hopkins' Hurrahing in Harvest' as we looked over the harvest landscape Gerard Manley Hopkins knew. If you would like to come on future walks as a walker or as a driver, please contact Chris Proudfoot: email@example.com
ANNUAL LECTURE IN LIVERPOOL
Professor Nicholas Sagovsky gave the 2014 annual Hopkins Lecture on Saturday 18 October 2014 at the Creative Campus, Liverpool Hope University. Professor Sagovsky is a former Canon Theologian at Westminster Abbey and Professor at both Liverpool Hope and Roehampton Universities . He spoke on Hopkins as theologian and poet. Afterwards Society members visited the adjacent St Francis Xavier's Church where Hopkins spent time as a curate.
Gladwys Mary Coles delighted us with some history of the Church including Hopkins' experiences and her own memories of worshipping in the Church as a child. Lance Pierson and Wyn Hobson read poems and sermon extracts.
The 2005 Annual Lecture 'The Self in Hopkins' Poetry' delivered by Dr Rowan Williams is now published by the Hopkins Society Press and available at £2.50 plus postage. Copies are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hopkins Society members enjoying the gardens at St Buenos on the study day April 7 2018
Images from the Society's 'Hopkins in Liverpool' day October 2014 held at Liverpool Hope University -which has a 'Hopkins Garden' and in St Francis Xavier's Church.
Images from 'Hurrahing in Harvest' - our August 2014 Hopkins walk in the countryside around Tremeirchion.