*** DEBUG END ***

The Paraclete Poetry Anthology: Selected and new poems by Mark S. Burrows

24 November 2017

Richard Lamey on an anthology that seeks God in everything


THIS collection is a wonderful doorway into a secret garden of delights. Mark Burrows has chosen ten poems from each of 13 poets whom he has edited at Paraclete Press, which is based at a Benedictine ecumenical monastic community on Cape Cod. Several poems are so striking that they would work well in worship and public prayer. Many more repay deep attention and demand time.

Burrows’s selection includes four women, two monks, and a rabbi. Some are already well known; others are making their name. Some seem to find it easy to meet God; others wrestle in the darkness with the Unknown One. Three poets are translated into English. Ten of them are still alive and still writing.

It is not just the selection of the poets which impresses: it is the way in which Burrows paints a unified world with the particular poems he has chosen. This book is built on a confident certainty that God is found around us in everything — in the tradition of the Church, in the words of scripture, in the struggles of life, and in the created world. It is built on the belief that we come to understand more of who we are and where we belong when we pause to look around and to breathe.

It is a clear response to those who argue that poetry is too slow a form of writing in a hectic world. The range and variety of these poems is extensive. SAID translates Psalms with immediacy, Scott Cairns is conversational and personal, and Phyllis Tickle finds beauty in the landscape in which she is set. Some poems repay deep attention, like “He Sleeps” by Fr John-Julian. Some leave the reader breathless at the magic that the poet is doing in front of us, as in “I did say yes” by Paul Mariani, which has Mary’s Yes echoing down the centuries to fill our ears today.

What poetry can do with time is impressive throughout this wonderful collection. These poems kaleidoscope time until there is only the living present, in which we are brought face to face, in a breathtaking epiphany of recognition, with our timeless God. This book urges us to slow, to stop and to see.


The Revd Richard Lamey is Rector of St Paul’s, Wokingham, in Berkshire.


The Paraclete Poetry Anthology: Selected and new poems
Mark S. Burrows
Paraclete Press £15
Church Times Bookshop £13.50

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Church Times Bookshop

Save money on books reviewed or featured in the Church Times. To get your reader discount:

> Click on the “Church Times Bookshop” link at the end of the review.

> Call 0845 017 6965 (Mon-Fri, 9.30am-5pm).

The reader discount is valid for two months after the review publication date. E&OE

Forthcoming Events


Church Times/RSCM: 

Intercultural Church for a Multicultural World

28 May 2024

A Church Times/Church House Publishing webinar

Tickets are FREE


Church Times/Modern Church:

A Political Faith?

Monday 3 June 2024

This panel will explore where Christians have come to in terms of political power and ask, where should we go next?

Online tickets available


Church Times/Modern Church:

Participating in Democracy

Monday 10 June 2024

This panel will explore the power of voting, and power beyond voting.

Online tickets available


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Church Times/Canterbury Press:

Festival of Preaching

15-17 September 2024

The festival moves to Cambridge along with a sparkling selection of expert speakers

Early bird tickets available



The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times


To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)