Festival and Ferial

by Anna Rist

Here is a true poet, in whom reason is unusually (for our postmodern times) and superbly wedded to rhyme, assonance and alliteration. She has an exceptional ear for the music of words, reminiscent of no other poet so vividly as Gerard Manley Hopkins. What is more, hers is, like his, purely religious verse in the best (pace TS Eliot) meaning of the word, both as festival and as ferial. And, what is even more, it is followed by an ingenious prose play on the Religion of Shakespeare in the moment prior to his leaving Stratford for London. In brief, the lady author leaves nothing to be desired, in leaving the reader with a potpourri of poetry and prose. --Peter Milward, SJ, Professor Emeritus, English Literature, Sophia University.

Few modern collections of verse encompass alongside each other devout exploration of the Catholic Church s ritual year, tender celebration of married love, and explicit satire of the phallocentric sexualising of twenty-first century western culture. Whether celebrating the mysteries of adeeply felt faith, commemorating loved places and people, or turning a scornful eye on the absurdities of her times, Anna Rist s strong intelligence and love of language inform this remarkable book. --Eamon Duffy, Professor, History of Christianity, University of Cambridge; Fellow and former President, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge

The poems in this collection represent the distillation of a lifetime of profound reflection on faith and family, learning and society. Intelligence, wit and humour are evident in abundance, and well served by a wide variety of poetic form and a freshness of language that delights in finding new contexts for familiar words and even new words, if need be, to deliver a salutary jolt. How refreshing to find a Catholic who not only appreciates her faith, but revels in it. The feasts of the year pass by in all their splendor in the first section Festival while the second part Ferial chronicles the personal and societal history of the poet in trenchant analysis of what we human beings have made of ourselves over the decades leading up to the present. The Catholic theme continues in a one-act play, which describes and accounts for Shakespeare s departure from Stratford for London in 1583. There s an element of mystery about Shakespeare that has excited the ingenuity of many a critic over the years with more and more fantastic theories about his personal life and his religious beliefs. But Mrs. Rist knows how families behave and is thus able depict very convincingly the Catholic Shakespeares of both generations as they face persecution in Elizabethan England. profound reflection on faith and family, learning and society. Intelligence, wit and humour are evident in abundance, and well served by a wide variety of poetic form and a freshness of language that delights in finding new contexts for familiar words and even new words, if need be, to deliver a salutary jolt. How refreshing to find a Catholic who not only appreciates her faith, but revels in it. The feasts of the year pass by in all their splendor in the first section Festival while the second part Ferial chronicles the personal and societal history of the poet in trenchant analysis of what we human beings have made of ourselves over the decades leading up to the present. The Catholic theme continues in a one-act play, which describes and accounts for Shakespeare s departure from Stratford for London in 1583. There s an element of mystery about Shakespeare that has excited the ingenuity of many a critic over the years with more and more fantastic theories about his personal life and his religious beliefs. But Mrs. Rist knows how families behave and is thus able depict very convincingly the Catholic Shakespeares of both generations as they face persecution. --Fr. Daniel Callam, Professor Emeritus, University of Saint Thomas, Houston, Texas; Professor Emeritus at Saint Thomas More College in Religious Studies, the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK.; (Founding) Editor of The Canadian Catholic Review

 

A previous work by Anna Rist, We Etruscans, is available from the author at $15/#12 plus p&p: atcrist@yahoo.co.uk.