Lent Sacrifice for Poet/Misused Thomas Poem/Lost Dickens Portrait Found – Poetry News Roundup March 19th

Today in our poetry news roundup we take a look at the poet’s Lent sacrifice, the Dylan Thomas poem that has been misused and the lost Dickens portrait that will shortly be going on display in the Dickens Museum.

What the Poet Gave up for Lent

The poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was born into a family of devout High Church Anglican Christians. Even as a young boy his commitment to his faith was evident, he would read daily from the Bible, and his father taught Sunday school. 

It wasn’t however until the poet went to Oxford that his interest in all things religious increased. Through his studies, he became acutely aware of the role of religion in the arts. It was also here that he met Christina Rosetti, the sister of Dante Gabriel Rosetti, with whom he shared a belief that religion was more important than art.  

In 1866 Hopkins turned to Catholicism and entered religious life, he also burnt most of the poems he had ever written. For the Lenten season of 1866, he gave up poetry completely.

Dylan Thomas Poem Misused

“Do not go gentle into that good night” probably the most famous poem penned by the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas found itself catapulted into the spotlight over the weekend when it was cited by the Christchurch shooter in his manifesto. Thomas’s poem has been quoted in many different contexts over the years – but one thing that the poet never had in mind when he wrote it was killings.

The opening line of the poem, which is repeated at intervals, and the frequent use of the word “rage” might give the idea that the poet is calling for combat, but the poem was written about his father who was dying, it talks about the loss of his health and begs him to cling to life.

The poem was written in 1947 when the poet was facing problems of his own, he was in an unhappy marriage, struggling with poverty and alcoholism.

“Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” is still under copyright, but it is frequently quoted in pop culture and has appeared in its complete version on several websites. It was also recited several times in the 2014 film “Interstellar” by the character portrayed by Michael Caine.

Lost Portrait to go on Display in Writer’s Former Home

We brought you a story recently about a portrait of the author Charles Dickens that had been found in a general auction of household good in South Africa having been lost for 130 years. Now the picture is to go on display in the writer’s former home this April. 

The painting which was created by Margaret Gillies will be displayed in the property where Dickens wrote Nichola Nickleby and Oliver Twist, now the Charles Dickens Museum, from 2nd to 7th April.

The property, a townhouse in Bloomsbury, was home to Dickens and his young family from 1837. It currently houses the largest and most comprehensive selection of memorabilia about the life and works of the poet anywhere in the world.

The Museum is fundraising now in order to purchase the painting and give it a permanent home. They have already raised £65,000, but they need to find £180,000.

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