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A time to reflect on 400 years and more of poetic inspiration in Polesworth

By SonyaBritton  |  Posted: March 18, 2013

  • Polesworth Vicarage formerly Polesworth Hall c1930s

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A workshop exploring on the rich cultural heritage of Polesworth is to be held this Easter in the 400th year since John Donne wrote his poem Good Friday 1613: Riding Westwards.
Donne, who is one of the most important poets in English, sent his poem in a letter to his friend Sir Henry Goodere, who was then the landowner of Polesworth Hall.
And to celebrate this 400 year anniversary, poets and writers are holding a workshop at Polesworth Abbey on Tuesday, April 2nd, which is the date of Good Friday in 1613.
Links with many famous poets and writers have been found at Polesworth, from Shakespeare to Michael Drayton, and the workshop will also look at other writings, including a new, previously undiscovered piece of writing from the medieval period.
This new piece, which is written from a female nun to a younger woman, links with a
wave of medieval mystics across the country like Julian of Norwich.
Vicar of Polesworth Abbey Fr Philip Wells said: "Did you know how very important Polesworth is for culture in the UK?  
"One of the most famous writers ever visited Polesworth regularly in the early 1600s.  He is John Donne and Polesworth was the inspiration for his poem Good Friday 1613 which is his best-known writing.  
"Good Friday 1613 has its 400th anniversary this year and I'm inviting you to come along to the Abbey on Good Friday to hear the poem used in the service for that day.  
John Donne's poem Good Friday 1613 was not intended by him to be published so it is a very personal look at the meaning of Christ's death for him and for the restoration of the whole universe.
"We are very excited to be celebrating this 400th anniversary with a series of talks and giving people a chance to reflect on Donne's poem in the wider context of the Abbey site and the Christian faith which inspired it," said Fr Philip.
What was Sir Henry Goodere's home at Polesworth Hall is now used as the Vicarage for the Abbey Church, so the sense of living history is immediately apparent there.
The day includes a masterclass on Donne's poem, an overview of his whole work, and the chance to explore the Polesworth Poetry Trail and the chance to write your own lyric in response to so much inspiration.
Good Friday service: 2pm Friday, March 29.
Details for the John Donne Day 2013 are: Tuesday, April 2, at the Abbey Church, High Street, Polesworth, B78 1DU.
Workshops, talks, walks, discussions from 2pm.
Gala performance of poetry from 7pm.
The cost is £10 for the whole day, or £5 for either afternoon or evening. Contact Fr Philip on 01827 892340 or email: polesworthabbey@aol.com

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