Fellow Dr Michael D. Hurley's New Book is Published

Dr Michael D. Hurley’s new book, "Faith in Poetry", is published with Bloomsbury today. We spoke to Dr Hurley about the focus of his book, and the work that went into his research:

“My book is on a subject in which I’ve been interested for more than a decade, though I actually wrote it in a concentrated burst, and during one of the busiest years I’ve ever had at Cambridge. Having been intimate with the subject for so long, the words came readily; but by the time I came to the book’s Introduction (which I did at the very last), I realised, to a degree that surprised me, I had written something highly revisionary. The book was always an ambitious undertaking, but it became increasingly so as the chapters fell into place. I explore how five great poets – William Blake, Alfred Tennyson, Christina Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and T. S. Eliot – engaged their religious faith in verse, with a view to asking why they chose that literary form in the first place. What did they believe poetry could say or do that other kinds of language or expression could not? And how might poetry itself operate as a unique mode of believing? These deep questions meet at the crossroads of poetics and metaphysics, and the writers I consider offer different answers. But those writers also collectively shed light on the interplay between literature and theology across a period when the authority and practice of both was being fiercely reimagined. That might all sound like heavy stuff, and in some ways it is. But whatever else my book might be, it is study in appreciation: of the urgent eloquence of poetry at its very highest pitch, where what’s at stake for poets and their readers amounts to nothing less than everything.”