Here are a couple of photographs of the British Catholic poet, Christopher Villiers, during his book reading from Petals of Vision at Once Upon a Mic held in London, England last week. The video below provides an excerpt from Villiers’ performance.
Thought provoking read from new poet. This short volume of work from a young poet, using a sonnet to illustrate religious and iconic figures could be off putting, but Christopher Villiers has used his own words to convey the historic and deeply human experiences of biblical characters. Each sonnet is also illustrated by pictures of classical art. This assists the reader to focus and personally reflex. This is a wonderful collection and example from this new poet. I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.
Food for the mind and the heart. It may be helpful to think of these sonnets as prayers that rhyme. The meticulously crafted first person narratives, each one containing a volta that depicts the narrator’s mind coming to a fresh realisation of the nature of divinity, show God’s power at work in the world in a variety of settings. Whether the subject of the sonnet is a saint, a sinner, or simply a flawed person whose relationship with God requires improvement, slowly feeling their way towards enlightenment using the handholds of rhyme and metre, they will eventually realise — perhaps too late — that they are part of a pattern more wide, deep, and beautiful than they can comprehend entirely. The elegant form of the sonnet, a staple of poetry for hundreds of years, is therefore used as a microcosm of the divine reason or Logos in which all this book’s readers live and move and have their being.
The author is gifted with a rare intelligence, tempered with understanding and piety, which he uses to enter the heads of a heterogeneous range of Biblical figures. Although their corporeal forms became dust millennia ago, their spirits continue not only in whichever extra-mundane afterlife they now inhabit, but also in the pages of this slender yet deeply intriguing volume.
A moving way to experience and meditate on the Scriptures. This is an impressive and ambitious collection of poems from a young theologian and poet. Starting with Adam and Eve, and ending with the coronation of Mary in heaven, the collection spans the story of redemption, with each poem offering a glimpse through the eyes of one of the biblical characters in each key event. The poems work well as individual meditations, but it is also fruitful to read them all in one go – you are led through the whole grand story, but in a personal and grounded way with events, emotions, and theological messages crystallised in the perspective of each individual person. The poems encourage the reader to identify with the person speaking and to imagine themselves in the speaker’s place in a way reminiscent of Ignatian spirituality. I personally found the New Testament poems to be particularly evocative: my favourites included Redemption (the moment where Mary Magdalene anoints the feet of Christ) and Samaritan Woman.
Above are a few photographs of British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers during a reading and signing of his new book Petals of Vision at Barnstaple Library, Devon, England this past weekend. In the video below you can watch Villiers reading the poem The Road to Spring during the event.
Our British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers (right) will be giving a public reading from his newly released book Petals of Vision at Barnstaple Library, Devon, England on January 28. Entrance is free and all are welcome. Signed copies of the paperback edition of the book will be available.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of the poetry book titled Petals of Vision by award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers. Petals of Vision is an anthology of 72 poems and sonnets in which the vicissitudes of human love are addressed through lyrics and flawless rhymes that fill the soul with love, sorrow, hope, joy, humility, depth, and even laughter. Presented through a world characterized by versatility and surrounded by symbolism, sincere images, and heartfelt thoughts, this new collection gives readers of classic poetry a great opportunity to revel once again, as its contents imprint on the memory for a lifetime. Petals of Vision is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon, the publishers Hope and Life Press, and major booksellers.
Villiers’s lyrics fill the soul with love, humility and depth . . . a superb writer who reinvigorates personalized memories or a similar ambiance drawn from the verses depicted in subtle implications that embody hope, sympathize with sorrow along with exuberance and triumphs . . . genuinely a poet who takes life to the fullest. Readers will revel in Villiers’s Petals of Vision that will imprint in the memory, plus relish each stance while absorbing every phrase until the end – Hadel S. Ma’ayeh, Huffington Post Passionista and author of From the Heart: A Journey of Love.
Villiers’s new collection Petals of Vision offers deeply felt poetry in a wide variety of forms and covering subjects. Here are sonnets that chart the highs and lows of human love, short lyrics inspired by nature, and also some delightful ‘nonsense poems’ voiced for different animals – for example, the excellent and satiric Parliament of Owls. There are many moving little touches and poems that are, in his words “Petals of grace” that “Spread blessing/Unseen by the wider world” – Reverend Malcolm Guite, Ph.D., Chaplain and Supervisor, Girton College, Cambridge University.
In this wonderful second collection of poems, Villiers again sings “the universe into … rhyme” and weaves nature with religious allusion in suggested tales of love’s loss and gain. Here are deft and lucid vignettes, sturdy poems of yearning, new found resolve, and — on occasion — humor too – Gerard Loughlin, Ph.D., Professor of Theology and Religion, Durham University.
About the Author
Christopher Villiers is a British theologian and freelance writer who has written about religious matters for a wide variety of publications, both academic and popular. He holds the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Theology from Durham University, United Kingdom, with a specialization in the history of Christian doctrine. His postgraduate thesis addressed the Divine impassibility in the theology of Saint Cyril of Alexandria, with reference to modern theological debates on divine impassibility deriving from biblical, historical and philosophical scholarship.
Villiers is a practicing Catholic with an interest in ecumenism, particularly in relation to the Eastern Orthodox churches. He writes on a regular basis for the ecumenical theological journal Sobornost. Villiers is the author of Sonnets From the Spirit (2015), a book of illustrated biblical poetry for Lent. He is also the winner of the 2008 Jean Cowling Prize in Theology and the first prizewinner of the 2015 Sonnets for Shakespeare Poetry Award.
Here is a photograph of our award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers during a reading of his book Sonnets From the Spirit earlier today at Durham University, North East England. Both the author and the poems were very well received by the audience who could not stop asking for more. Sonnets From the Spirit is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon, the publishers and major booksellers.
Our British Catholic award-winning theologian and poet, Christopher Villiers, will be giving a readings presentation in July from his book Sonnets From the Spirit at the House of Saint Gregory and Saint Macrina, Oxford, United Kingdom. The presentation is titled Poetry and the Sacred and will be part of the event Sacred and Secular in Life and Art organized by the Ainos Cultural Society, the University of Winchester, and the Fellowship of Saint Alban and Saint Sergius. Participants include Metropolitan Kallistos of Diokleia, Aidan Hart, Rebecca White, and Andrew Louth.
Sonnets From the Spirit, released late last year by Hope and Life Press, contains an anthology of 52 icons in poetry from major episodes in Scripture, written according to the ancient practice of midrash and illustrated by great works of sacred art. The book provides readers with a little feel for God working through, and sometimes despite, very human people whose strengths and weaknesses greatly resembled those of 21st century humankind. Sonnets From the Spirit is available in paperback and ebook editions from Amazon globally, directly from Hope and Life Press, and major booksellers.
Our award-winning British theologian and poet Christopher Villiers, author of Sonnets From the Spirit newly released by Hope and Life Press in December, has just been interviewed and featured by Pete Socks at Catholic Book Blogger. Click here to read the complete interview.
Hope and Life Press is pleased to announce the release of Sonnets From the Spirit, written by the award-winning British Catholic theologian and poet Christopher Villiers. Sonnets From the Spirit is a collection of 52 icons in poetry on major episodes from Sacred Scripture, written according to the ancient practice of midrash. The themes of the sonnets are illustrated by great works of sacred art. This book is intended to provide readers with a little feel for God working through, and sometimes despite, very human people whose strengths and weaknesses greatly resembled those of 21st century humankind. Sonnets From the Spirit is available in paperback and ebook editions directly from Hope and Life Press, Amazon globally, and other major booksellers.
“The poems of Villiers continue the ancient practice of midrash, the breaking open of Scripture texts, by entering into the voices of its characters and illuminating new facets of the stories. As such they offer worthy meditations to accompany our sacred reading, inviting us to consider our own lived responses” – Christine Valters Paintner, Ph.D., online Abbess at Abbey of the Arts, Pantheos contributor, and author of eight books on monastic spirituality and creativity.
“In this series of sonnets, Villiers takes us from the birth of Eve to the Assumption of the Virgin, the Second Eve. The sonnets are like icons in poetry, each poem a meditation seeking to take us through the biblical text into the mystery of God” – Archpriest Andrew Louth, FBA, Professor Emeritus of Patristic and Byzantine Studies, Durham University.
“A new voice in poetry that helps us to find fresh insights into some of the classic passages of Holy Scripture, stimulating reflection and prayer” – Reverend Paul Richardson, Assistant Bishop (ret.) of Newcastle and Reviews Editor of the Church of England Newspaper.
“In Sonnets from the Spirit, the talented poet and theologian Christopher Villiers conveys Bible stories in verse. These rhythmic sonnets do not just tell a story. As you read, you become the central character of each poem, entering the viewpoint of Bible people and the events they encountered then, coming away with an ‘I’ ready to perceive and receive an ongoing relationship with God” – Mary Harwell Sayler, Christian poet and writer.