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As Kingfishers Catch Fire

As Kingfishers Catch Fire

Selected and Annotated Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Edited by Holly Ordway

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Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) is widely regarded as one of the greatest poets of the English language. A Jesuit priest known for his sophisticated but innovative style, Hopkins wrote poetry that expressed the full range of emotional and spiritual experience, taking readers through trials and triumphs before coming to a place of deep resignation in God.   

As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Selected and Annotated Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins offers thirty-seven of this Victorian poet’s greatest works with detailed, line-by-line annotations by Dr. Holly Ordway that provide valuable literary and cultural references, illuminate Hopkins’ word choice, and help readers unpack his complex sentence structure. Featuring classics like “The Windhover” and “God’s Grandeur” but also various lesser-known poems, it is perfect for the seasoned poet and the first-time reader alike, acquainting them with this brilliant mind of the Catholic tradition.

More Info

Publisher: Word on Fire
ISBN: 978-1-68-578023-4
Binding: Paperback
Page count: 176
Dimensions: 6.75 x 10
Language: English
Release date: Apr 15, 2023
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About the Editor

Holly Ordway is the Cardinal Francis George Professor of Faith and Culture at the Word on Fire Institute and Visiting Professor of Apologetics at Houston Christian University. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a Subject Editor for the Journal of Inklings Studies. Her book Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages received the 2022 Mythopoeic Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies.

What People are Saying

“A deeply insightful and highly readable introduction to the poetry of one of our foremost Catholic poets, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Follow Holly Ordway’s advice: read the poems (aloud), read her brilliant footnotes, and let them settle into your mind and heart. I’ve been reading and teaching Hopkins now for sixty years, and still I found so much that was refreshing and spiritually new and vital in these pages.”

Paul Mariani, University Professor of English Emeritus at Boston College

“If modern Christian poetry has a saint, it is Gerard Manley Hopkins. No other poet, at least in English, occupies such a lofty position in terms of both literary achievement and spiritual authority. His reputation transcends questions of purely literary merit. He is venerated as a figure of sanctity, redemptive suffering, and heroic virtue.”

Dana Gioia, Former poet laureate of California, author of The Catholic Writer Today

“This anthology of poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, offers readers a guide that is both impressively comprehensive yet also meditative, contemplative. It shows how Hopkins’ careful attention to nature became a form of prayer, the outworking of a Jesuit spirituality which discerns in the wonders and mysteries of the cosmos signs of its Creator. Holly Ordway has offered us a remarkably cogent introduction to, and guide through, Hopkins’ work, reminding us that writing (and reading) poetry can be an act of hope, a work of love, a profession of faith.”

Rebekah Lamb, Lecturer, Theology and the Arts School of Divinity, University of St. Andrews

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi
​Spring 3 
God’s Grandeur 5 
The May Magnificat 7
As kingfishers catch fire 13 
Thou art indeed just, Lord 15
The Starlight Night 17 
The Windhover 19 
Spring and Fall 21
Nondum 23 
Carrion Comfort 29
No worst, there is none 31 
I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day 33 
To seem the stranger lies my lot 35 
Patience 37
My own heart let me have more pity on 39
Peace 41
Easter 43
Pied Beauty 47
Hurrahing in Harvest 49
The Sea and the Skylark 51
Inversnaid 53
The Lantern out of Doors 55
Barnfloor and Winepress 57
Duns Scotus’s Oxford 63
Binsey Poplars 65
The Blessed Virgin compared to the Air we Breathe 67
The Wreck of the Deutschland 77
Morning Midday and Evening Sacrifice 103
Heaven-Haven 105
The Habit of Perfection 107
In honour of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Laybrother of the Society of Jesus 111
The Bugler’s First Communion 113
At the Wedding March 119
Felix Randal 121
That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection 123
Adoro Te Devote 127
Oratio Patris Condren: O Jesu vivens in Maria 131
Index of Titles and First Lines 133

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