A Thank-you, and a Plan!

'The Temple of Peace' where I do most of my writing.

'The Temple of Peace' where I do most of my writing.

Well, we have come to the end of quite a long intense sequence of ‘High days and Holy days’ stretching from the beginning of Advent through to Candlemas, during which I have been posting my ‘seasonal’ sonnets almost every week! We have a bit of a ‘breather’ in the Church Calendar now until things start again in earnest with Ash Wednesday and Lent. I thought I’d take advantage of this ‘space between the seasons’ to fill you in a little more on the whole ‘sacred sonnets project’ and how the sonnets you’ve been reading fit in to my larger plan for a new book, to be called “Sounding the Seasons.”

But first, a big thank you to everyone who has subscribed, and follows this blog, its very encouraging to know that readers around the world are finding the poems and reflections here sufficiently helpful to choose to ‘follow’ the blog.  I am currently sending a proposal out to publishers to turn the poems on these pages into a little book and the more subscribers I have to the blog the more I can show publishers that there is a market and a potential readership for something as unusual as a 21st Century Sonnet-Sequence!

Secondly, I have only recently discovered that WordPress have been placing advertisements, (for I know not what goods and services!) on my blog! They don’t appear in my browser so I didnt know they were there. I have been using WP as a free service but I have found out that by paying a subscription I can remove all ads, so from today I will be doing that.The only thing ‘on sale’ on these pages therefore will be my own modest little poetry books and cds, and if anyone who doesnt have them feels like buying them to help me defray the small expense of running the blog, that would be great. The links for poetry are here, and for the cds here. You can also get the music on itunes.

Now let me tell you about the Plan for all these sonnets!  My plan is to complete a sequence of seventy-five sonnets to be called ‘Sounding the Seasons’,  which could be read for pleasure or devotion by individuals, but which would also provide a liturgical and worship resource for churches and church groups, in which individual sonnets would reflect not only the theme of festivals and saints’ days, but also pick up and develop themes and language from the lectionary readings. The idea is that the sequence would not only take you on a journey through the Church Year but also through the life of Christ, the mysteries of the faith, and a journey, in Christian life, from the font to the altar, from the cradle to the grave which has become for us, the gate of heaven. So the overall cycle, Sounding the Seasons, will be divided into three sections as follows:

I The Year’s Journey:

A sequence of sonnets that takes the reader on a journey through the Church Year from the longings of Advent, through the Incarnation, Presentation, Baptism, Temptation, Transfiguration, Death and Resurrection of Christ, on to the Ascension, Trinity Sunday, and Pentecost, finishing at last with the feast of Christ the King.

II The Company of the Saints:

This section of the cycle would celebrate the saints, as the great cloud of witness who accompany and encourage us on the journey, starting with Mary and each of the Four Evangelists, including Mary Magdalene, Saint Peter and Saint Paul, and going on to some well-known extra-biblical saints such as Saint Francis, and ending with a ‘gathering poem’ for the feast of All Saints itself.

III The Household of Faith:

The third and final sequence within the whole cycle is focused on the life the Church lives now, and comprises another kind of journey, from the Font at the West door towards the Altar, which is also the journey of the individual Christian through life. These sonnets aim to reveal the inward and spiritual through the outward and visible, so there are sonnets about the Font, the Lectern and the Communion Table, but also sonnets on Marriage and Renewal of Vows, on receiving Communion, and the sequence ends with a sonnet on the glimpse of Heaven revealed in listening to the Sanctus at a Requiem.

So that is he plan, and the whole sequence is now nearly complete. In my next post I will share with you a sonnet called ‘Sounding the Seasons’ which I have written to open the whole sequence and set out the heart of what its all about. Let me know what you think and thanks again for following me thus far!

Malcolm

I pause for a pipe in the temple of peace, for a little mid-sonnet inspiration Thanks for the photo Lancia Smith:

kindling a little inspiration in the Temple of Peace!

kindling a little inspiration! (Photo by Lancia Smith)

28 Comments

Filed under imagination, literature

28 responses to “A Thank-you, and a Plan!

  1. Well I am loving the sonnets – keep them coming! I hope there will be a day when I can get them all wrapped up in a book! Thank you Malcolm for sharing your gift with words!

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Nadine, I’m nearly finished, and hoping for good news from one publisher who’s shown an interest, if not I have another in mind!

  2. Margot Krebs Neale

    Malcolm, I would love to become one of your followers but (this is going to be embarrassing but maybe I am not the only one) I struggle every time I try and never seem to get there. Is it in fact simple?
    Would smoking incense help?
    Of course you know how much I like your sonnets and this idea of sounding the seasons, but it would be nice to increase the number of subscribers to your blog.

    • Emilee

      Hello–the friend above who wants to subscribe to the blog–I believe it’s as simple as entering your email right above the button on the top right of this very page, “Sign Me Up”, and then clicking “Sign Me Up”. The new posts Malcolm puts on the blog should then be delivered to your email address. I hope that helps~

  3. Emilee

    This is wonderful news, Malcolm! So happy you will complete the sonnet cycle soon. It is an ambitious project, and I resonate with it myself–at the end of college I had blithely wanted to publish a sonnet cycle myself–and here you are, undeterred by the century we find ourselves in, and doing that very thing! Liturgy, walking with Christ, and poetry (writing and reading it) are an interwoven passion for me, so to find you and your wriitng has been an inspiration and frequent encouragement. Blessings on the work and you!

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Emilee, glad there’s someone else out there with an ambition to write and publish a sonnet cycle, a wonderful genre that surely needs revival! Thanks also for helping my friend Margot to subscribe! I had help initially setting up this blog and though i can maintain it now i still often fail to vlivk the right button!

  4. I am very excited about the idea of your new book. Incidentally I saved up for Faith, Hope and Poetry, went to Amazon to buy it and discovered a much cheaper paperback is coming out. That was a nice surprise (although I wish I didn’t have to wait!) and I shall keep some of the difference to one side so I can buy your sonnet sequence too!

    • malcolmguite

      Oh thanks Joanna, I have only just got the news myself that the paperback is coming out, I believe it will be out in April and at a much more reasonable price. I was very embarrassed by the cost of the hardback which i think was probably mainly aimed at libraries. I’ll post a bit more about the PB on these pages soon!

  5. Margot Krebs Neale

    Thank you Emilee, “Congratulations, you are now subscribed to the site Malcolm Guite and will receive an email notification when a new post is made.” is what i got to this time!
    I felt I deserved the congratulations and you did too 🙂

    • malcolmguite

      That’s great Margot, and thanks to Emilee for coming to the rescue, I’m not sure that I would have known how to give the right instructions myself!

    • Emilee

      Margot–So glad it worked this time! I have struggled many times, so it’s nice now that I might have a bit of familiarity to help others who get tangled up as I did. Smiles to you–Emilee

  6. Ken Carlson

    Again, thank you Malcolm. I find the sonnets inspiring and insightful in the flow of seasons in which my life of faith is lived. I look forward to the whole’s completion, and adding that to my collection of your works, both from the web and your book on poetry and faith. Blessings on your temple of peace. Ken Carlson

  7. What a great idea Malcolm. I’m now trying to envisage a similar project for the two religions I practise (Wicca and Unitarianism) – separate poem cycles, obviously. I have already written a poem about the Wiccan circle, and several about the Wiccan festivals, so that’s a start!

    I also love the idea of commenting on the liturgy and supplementing it, and the idea of poems for the “great cloud of witnesses” (always liked that phrase, it’s very evocative).

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks. Yes i also find the ‘clouds of witness’ phrase very evocative and alluded to it in my ascension sonnet, as well of course as the All saints one. The whole idea of the circle of the seasons is itself so powerful, and as you say very much part of all human spiritual life and development, the festivals of light and darkness, winter and spring, death and renewal. There was a point when Christianity, at least protestant Christianity seemed to be losing touch with that, but thankfully the liturgical seasons help to keep us grounded so that we can both marvel at nature and revere the Light that comes to us in and through, behind and beyond, the created cosmos 🙂

  8. I’d been avidly collecting the sonnets in case they’d suddenly not be available anymore and am relieved to hear about the plan for the book!
    Thank you for these wonderfully inspirational gems.
    Marika

  9. What a gift to the world you and your words are, Malcolm. I look forward to purchasing ‘Sounding the Seasons’ when it is published. All being well, Andrew and I plan to visit England this Christmas. I hope we can find a way to visit you and Maggie. God’s Peace.

  10. Lynn Severance

    As others have shared their delight in the news that your wonderful sonnets – that chime in the sequencing of the seaons fo the Church year – are to be published ( in faith, I stand with you for that ), I rejoice!

    They have nourished my soul all these months. Thank you, Malcolm.

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Lynn, I am indeed going forward in faith so your prayers for the completion, and publication of this project would be much appreciated.

  11. Sally Phalan

    Hi Malcolm, I love the lay out you describe for “Sounding the Seasons”. I also note your reference to a “little book”. I’ve been envisioning a BIG gorgeous book with beautiful illustrations: an art, poetry and prayer book all in one. Between Margot’s stunning photographs, and the beautiful reproductions of Old Masters and other illustrations you have already put out, you are so well on your way! Before Christmas you gave us a link to the glorious Grace Episcopal Church O Antiphon document. I would love your book to have that kind of quality of text and colour. Regarding the text, would you consider including the relevant passage of Scripture (perhaps even the St James and a modern version side by side as people can have strong preferences?) followed by your commentary followed by your sonnet? What a feast it could be for eyes, mind and heart, and what a resource for meditation! One can only dream!

    • malcolmguite

      Thanks Sally, that’s a timely comment. My original proposal to the publisher was simply for the poems almost as a pamphlet but they have since written saying would I be happy to include further reflections or liturgical material, so they might be open to this. I haven’t suggested illustration myself as they might be concerned about expense, but I’ll let them know that there might be a demand for something a little fuller and more sumptuous? I would love the book to be presented as beautifully as possible!

      • Sally Phalan

        Well your sonnets to me are like jewels and deserve a proper setting. Also the visual materials you have gathered are bang-on as well as lovely in their own right. I wonder if you can’t get a publisher to take the whole thing on what you might be able do in terms of publishing it online? At least one could pull up a beautiful page at a time. You will want it in proper book form though – I am quite ignorant about this area but have heard of people self-publishing ebooks – but if a publisher takes it on then you won’t be able to do that, I suppose. Just musing..

  12. Pingback: Sounding the Seasons | Malcolm Guite

  13. serena

    I’m late to the party (as ever) but so glad to hear that you’re thinking of a book of the sonnets! It would be lovely to be able to keep them to hand in a book. Thank you EVER so much for your poetry.

  14. Kah ;tree nah is how you pronounce it

    Terrific photo , real and yet full of the look of a story about to happen

  15. This is such an inspiring project. I was on the point of asking you if you had consider a sequence for Holy Week- but now my prayers are answered. Thank you.

    • malcolmguite

      Dear Sister Miriam, thanks for this encouraging note. The whole sequence is now complete and i will be posting sonnets for lent and holy week each on their appropriate day. but if you would like advanced copies for use in prayer or liturgy, just send me an email mg320 ‘at’ cam.ac.uk and ill send you a soc. with the complete run from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day.

  16. Pingback: Ash Wednesday | Malcolm Guite

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