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Poets are inspired by late pope

An anthology of poetry dedicated to Blessed John Paul II, Heartspeak: a Contemplative Chorus, is launched on the late pope’s feast day

By on Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Piotr Stolarski, editor of Heartspeak, with Tom Balfe                     Photo: Benedict Parsons

Piotr Stolarski, editor of Heartspeak, with Tom Balfe Photo: Benedict Parsons

An anthology of poetry dedicated to Blessed John Paul II, Heartspeak: a Contemplative Chorus, was launched on the late pope’s feast day, October 22, at St Mary of the Angels in Bayswater, west London.

Twenty-one young Catholic and Christian poets have contributed to Heartspeak, which, its editor Piotr Stolarski said, “may be said to document the inspiration of the John Paul II generation”.

Inspired by the late Pope’s beatification, Heartspeak is split into four sections, named after the writings of the late John Paul II.

Covering topics such as the purpose of life, the nature of love and of Jesus Christ it is designed to appeal to non-Christians.

Twenty-five per cent of the net profit will go the Bard School, a creative Catholic arts group founded by Sarah de Nordwall which is inspired by John Paul II’s Letter to Artists.

“The X Factor is an inversion of the Kingdom of God,” said Miss de Nordwall, who also leads creative workshops. “In the Kingdom, gifts are given to praise God and to bless each other. In The X Factor many compete and only one is chosen. In the Kingdom, all are invited.”

Miss de Nordwall, a performance poet, led the “Bardfair”, a lively cabaret in the parish rooms of St Mary’s. This included songs from reJoyce, a singer from Cork, and poetry recited by other contributors to Heartspeak, including Jonathan Fordham, Justin Harmer and Fr Dominic White OP, who is chaplain to the Bard School and the choreographer of a dance work, Cosmos. He preached at the 6pm Mass prior to the show, at which music, including songs in Hebrew, was provided by members of the Bard School.

After the show, parishioners and visitors were invited to visit stalls setting out wares such as cards with biblical themes, CDs, paintings, soaps, poetry, and even pamphlets analysing and contrasting the lyrics of indie bands and popular singers such as Beyoncé Knowles with the words of papal encyclicals and writings of the saints that speak of the thirst for love.