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Harmony in George Herbert’s Poetry and Soul


Christine Perrin


This talk will look specifically at George Herbert’s poem “The Flower” while speaking broadly about his work and life. It will also look at the literary relationship that a modern poet -Elizabeth Bishop – formed with his work. We will look at her poem “The End of March” which shares much with “The Flower” and in doing so we will trace the way and the why of her relationship to him through his work. Bishop was a agnostic lesbian who found most Christians intolerable. Herbert was a catechizing priest who wrote religious poems that some would call didactic, almost found four hundred years before she lived. Yet Bishop was inseperable from his book The Temple  and he had a profound impact on her thought, her poems, and her life. Find out why Herbert, called by Charles Cotton”a soul composed of harmonies,” had such beloved authority across the vast distances between them.