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Poet and priest: Metaphysical work of John Donne explored at St Paul

The works of John Donne, one of England’s foremost poets and priests, are set to be brought to life in words and music at St Paul’s Cathedral.

On April 26 at 7pm, St Paul’s, in association with Poet in the City and Winning Words, will present the special event in the cathedral where Donne was Dean from 1621-31.

Renowned both as an extraordinarily sensual poet and a great priest and preacher who coined the phrases ‘No man is an island’ and ‘For whom the bell tolls’, John Donne’s work remains as powerful today as when lived and worked at St Paul’s in the early years of the 17 century. Today, visitors to the cathedral are still reminded of his time at St Paul’s by his imposing statue - the only one to survive, unscathed, from the Great Fire of 1666.

Taking place underneath the dome on the Cathedral floor, the evening will explore his life, poetry and faith, and will centre around dramatic readings of his love poems as well as his sacred poetry and prose.

Speakers include:
Peter McCullough - lay canon of St Paul’s and Professor of English at Lincoln College, Oxford
Donne’s life in the context of his time and the city of London in the 17 century

Jo Shapcott - award-winning poet and President of the Poetry Society
The sensuality of Donne’s work

Mark Oakley - Canon Treasurer of St Paul’s
Donne’s priesthood and faith

Mary Morrissey – Lecturer in English, Reading University
Donne’s inspiring sermons and prose

In addition, Andrew Carwood, world-famous tenor and Director of Music at St Paul’s will sing Benjamin Britten’s unforgettable settings of Donne’s sonnets. 

The event is free, but to reserve places please email  or call 07908 367 488.

Useful links
John Donne (Wiki)
Meditation XVII – No man is an island / For whom the bell tolls
Poet in the City
Winning Words