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Lent poetry podcast: Mark Oakley on ‘Paternoster’ by Jen Hadfield

23 February 2023

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We are pleased to present a new poetry podcast for Lent, in association with Canterbury Press.

This week, Canon Mark Oakley reflects on “Paternoster” by Jen Hadfield. “Paternoster” is published in her collection Nigh-No-Place (Bloodaxe Books, 2008), which won the T.S. Eliot Prize. We are grateful to Bloodaxe Books for giving permission to play a recording of Jen Hadfield reading the poem. bloodaxebooks.com.

The material in this podcast is taken from Mark Oakley’s book The Splash of Words (Canterbury Press), winner of the 2019 Michael Ramsey Prize for Theological Writing.

“‘Paternoster’ is, to my mind, one of her most beautiful poems,” Mark says. “It is a prayer of a draughthorse in which she reworks the texture and rhythm of the Lord’s Prayer through the horse’s heart. . . If you want a glimpse of the beauty of a prayerful, intimate litany from a tired but hopeful heart then I recommend you listen to it as well as read it. Hadfield’s poems are mesmeric and are meant, as are all poems, to be heard.”

Canon Mark Oakley is the Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Click the play button above to listen to this podcast. You can also listen to the Church Times Podcast on the Church Times app for iPhone and iPad, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and most other podcast platforms. 

Artwork by Emily Noyce


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