NUMBER 1 - THE GIFT OF WORDS
with thanks to our secretary, Claire Hutt, Hopkins Society members have been contributing to a regular "Gift of Words" shared with other members via our secretary, Claire Hutt ....
1. Hopkins Society Steering Group member Lance Pierson has contributed a translation exercise, translating a couple of Hopkins' poems into everyday language -"Hopkins in your own words: A valuable exercise" - see the Resources page 2.1 for the link to the exercise
2. New member Tony Stroker contributed the attached poem recently:
As Kingfishers Catch Fire
As kingfishers catch fire, dragon-flies ditch in the drink.
As tumbled-over-rum Jolly Jack Tar sings,
Each plucked string pings; boat sinks; nun yells; bell rings:
(With all this row, it’s very hard to think!)
Each mortal thing does one thing: shows its flaws,
Lets slip that cockeyed-Charlie lurks indoors,
Selves – goes itself; ‘Myself’, it doth avouch,
‘What I do is me; for that I came. Ouch!’
What is all this juice and all this jam?
Breakfast! Have, get, before it scram!
Before it vanish, Lord, and, curdling, drop
Down all the deep-down stairs to pantry slop.
‘Prize peas and gammon ham for lunch at one, eh?
Dessert, my dear? Gosh, cold zabaglione!’
© Tony Stroker, 2011
(With apologies to Gerard Manley Hopkins)
3. Contribution from Stephen Roe - and this is what he said in his email to the HS Secretary: "here is a leaflet I have just put together, a collection of poems on the subject of death (a favourite Victorian subject!) with a contribution from each of GMH's friends." see attached file ...
4. And here we have Steering Group and Hopkins Journal Editor, Jill Robson';s response to Stephen's contribution .... see attached file .....
Philip Healey has circulated to the Steering Group the following ..... "My mobile phone, which has a mind of its own (or of some very deep algorithm!), has just brought up a very fine reading of ‘Felix Randal’ in Carol Rumen’s poem of the week (24 August) in the Guardian. It’s certainly worth reading ....... www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2020/aug/24/poem-of-the-week-felix-randal-by-gerard-manley-hopkins
the comedian Frank Skinner has posted an analysis of 'The Windhover' on his poetry podcasts - well worth listening to …
Hopkins Society Steering Group member Lance Pierson has his own poetry podcasts and his aim is to read the poems and to help them to be heard ..... and he too has his favourite GMH poem on a recent podcast ... this time "Epithalamion" ... getting hold of what the words means is challenging so footnotes are included ... see ...... thepoetrypodcastwithlancepierson.com/
....... there is also the podcast in audio at www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9aS9n2xfnI
Spotted in the Times Jul 25 2020, in the Review section under "my culture fix" an extract by the writer Jimmy McGovern on Hopkins ... reproduced here .....
"The Poem/song that saved me
Gerard Manley Hopkin's The Windhover is a magnificent sonnet. It perfectly captures a bird of prey in flight. Many have tried to do it since - Ted Hughes for instance - but have failed to get close. Hopkins, a Jesuit priest, was a horrible human being, being blind to the plight of poverty-stricken people all around him. But even a horrible human being can be a great poet."
As you might imagine this generated some discussion from Steering Group members ... one member pointed out that McGovern has written several dramas about RC priests - most recently "Broken" which gave a very depressing picture of a priest in Liverpool and his parish. The light and hope finally break out in the last episode - but the priest as a little boy writes an essay on "The Windhover". The priest in charge of the class does not believe he has written it himself and gives him a wallop. The member thinks McGovern's own experience of the church has colored his writing and perhaps judgement. And yet "The Windhover" must have moved him - as it moved the priest in the drama.
The Steering Group President wrote to Jimmy McGovern, and although declining the offer of membership of the Society he included in his reply that "Hopkins was a truly great poet .... so clear about a hawk in flight, so blind to people all around him"
Matthew Higgins has forwarded a wonderful short nature video, capturing the Beautiful Australian Nankeen Kestral as it effortlessly soars and miraculously hovers while hunting. On the soundtrack is a recitation 0f "The Windhover" by Hopkins, written in 1877
Kestrel Windhover - YouTube
Another letter in the Times of August 8 2020.....
A letter on seeing shapes in clouds from Graham Chaney in Brighton .....
"No one rivals GMH for elaborate descriptions of clouds..He sometimes noted their changing appearances several times in a single day. In 1968 standing on a Swiss glacier he noted their "fine shapeless skins of fretted make, full of eyebrows or like linings of curled leaves" while in a poem of 1888 he writes "Cloud-puffball, torn tufts .... in gay-gangs they throng"
2018 NUMBER 1 2018
Very interesting email sent to the secretary, Claire Hutt Sept 3 2018
'Dear Ms. Hutt,
You may have heard that a Hopkins poem was read at the funeral service for Senator John McCain in Washington D.C. Hearing this prompted me to republish my autobiographical essay about the significance of the poet in my life. Members of the society may be interested in my recollections published here:
https://dispatchesfromtheforme rnewworld.com/2018/09/03/my- love-affair-with-gerard- manley-hopkins/
Rita Byrne Tull'
Dispatches From the Former New World