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Poem of the New Creation, A
Four Volume Poetry Gift Set - your choice of 4 hardcover volumes from the Kaufmann Publishing page on our site
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Also by Fr. Milward:
A Commentary on the Sonnets of G.M. Hopkins - paperback
A Lifetime with Hopkins - paperback
God - hardcover
The Enclosed Garden - hardcover
Then in the prayer of the Virgin Mary
Appeared the angel Gabriel
Descending as if from distant ages
Bearing the promise long awaited
Now at last fulfilled within her
At first glance, though the verse is not rhyming and the meter throughout this book irregular, one wonders why this counts as poetry. It’s because poetry, even when not rhyming or clearly metrical, is at least an attempt to reflect the barely expressible through words that are ordered and structured, this very order and structure reflecting the ordered and structured nature of the poem’s subject.
In this case, there appears to be nothing hard to understand in these few lines, but think about what Fr. Milward is saying. Read the poem backwards for a moment—fulfilled within Mary is the promise long awaited borne by the angel Gabriel, who appeared in the prayer of the Virgin. It is Mary’s prayer that brings this about, her prayer that preceded her fiat, her yes to God. The poet is telling us that before the offer and the acceptance, before the fulfillment of the promise that became the Incarnation, the field is prepared by prayer, by Mary’s longing for the Lord, by her talking to Him in her heart, by her relationship with Him. What does this tell us about the importance of prayer? Does God simply work automatically without us and without our calling out to Him, our yearning for Him, our desire to unite with Him in our deepest and most silent places?
So these few words “Then in the prayer of the Virgin Mary” imply what it just took me a paragraph to spell out. This is part of what poetry does. -- KEVIN O'BRIEN, Theater of the
Word Incorporated. Copyright 2008, Gilbert Magazine.
As a Jesuit filled with the poetic Muse it is tempting to compare Fr. Milward with his great Jesuit forebear, Gerard Manley Hopkins; it is, however, better to compare this poetic tour de force with T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets. Like Eliot, Fr. Milward pierces the cloud of unknowing with the light of grace-filled mysticism, aglow with Christian orthodoxy. --Joseph Pearce, biographer, writer-in-residence and associate professor of literature, Ave Maria University
Peter Milward's A Poem of the New Creation is like a fusion of Dante Alighier's Divine Comedy and Chesterton's Orthodoxy ... The spirit of God's love for mankind permeates the poem, with a powerful, realistic and unsentimental reverence for humanity ...[I]ndeed a new creation at once traditional and original, a fresh revelation of how the dark confusions in mankind's temporal condition can be transfused though the voice of Christian grace and prophecy from its sorrowful tragedy into the joyous comedy of redemption.
In its lyrical intensity, its mastery of literary techniques and artistic structure, so rich in many perceptive allusions to biblical, theological, historical and literary sources, it is indeed a "new creation:" at once traditional and original, a fresh revelation of how the dark confusions in mankind's temporal condition can be transfused through the voice of Christian grace and prophecy from its sorrowful tragedy into the joyous comedy of redemption. —PETER J. STANLIS, Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Emeritus,
Further comments from an accompanying note from Stanlis to Kaufmann: "Delighted with the poem and glad you are publishing it... should be read by Christians of all faiths, as well as non-believers, and it would do much good in dissolving the weaknesses and moral depravities that bring such evil to contemporary society."
About the Author
Born in London on October 12, 1925, the Year of the Ox, Peter Milward SJ attended the Jesuit school of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, and joined the Society of Jesus in 1943. After studies of the Classics and English at Oxford, he arrived in Japan in 1954, and from 1962 onwards has been teaching English with special attention to Shakespeare at Sophia University, Tokyo. Fr. Milward has authored some 350 books, most of them published in Japan. His academic books on Shakespeare and Hopkins have attracted readers in England and America. He now lives in retirement at the age of 87.
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