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Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year

4.56  ·  Rating details ·  142 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Poetry has always been a central element of Christian spirituality and is increasingly used in worship, in pastoral services and guided meditation. In Sounding the Seasons, Cambridge poet, priest and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite transforms seventy lectionary readings into lucid, inspiring poems, for use in regular worship, seasonal services, meditative reading or on ...more
Paperback, 82 pages
Published 2012 by Canterbury Press
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John Thieme
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Guite's poems in "Sounding the Seasons" and in "The Singing Bowl" are exquisitely nuanced and subtle moments at the intersection of faith and captivating beauty. They are deeply insightful and his lines seem almost to sing aloud (I enjoy listening to the cadence and kindness in Guite's voice when I come across the audio of his reading these poems and comments on his blog). This is poetry in that holy moment of stillness and mindful quietude, the words resonate throughout the day and (with a nod ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Here's my review: I couldn't bear to bring it back to the library, so I had to buy it. These sonnets are deceptively simple, often hearkening back to familiar metaphors about light and wine and birth but always imbuing these symbols with new touches of meaning while upholding their full meaning as revealed in scripture. It is rare to read a poet who stirs the imagination with such fresh understandings of familiar truths. I've never been so moved by any depiction of Christ's crucifixion as I was ...more
M. Todd Webster
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, christianity
Sonnets celebrating the Christian year go back at least to John Donne's "La Corona". Guite's cycle of meditative, celebratory poems owes much to Donne, to Herbert, and to the examples of other great Christian poets. I recommend this collection to anyone who likes traditional verse on Christian themes, or who aspires to write in sonnet form. It has the potential to teach much about writing poetry, to enhance private devotion, and to enrich public liturgy.
Nov 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Beautiful idea to incorporate little bits of literature within the church. He works with opposites and paradoxes to create a rich display of words, definitely exploring the doctrines of Christianity. Malcolm's words seem to flow forth easily, while still retaining a sense of mystery and meaning. He is definitely a gifted poet.
Allan Dickinson
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
These sonnets are excellent - well-written and thoughts provoking.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book of beautiful Christian sonnets, that correspond with the liturgical calendar. I’ve read most of them through twice, trying to savor them in their appropriate time of year. Each poem is both convicting and encouraging, and I think there’s more that I could get out of them than I have. But this is what I’ve learned about poetry: you have to take your time and savor the words, examine and study them, maybe even memorize them. I think that’s why I memorized so much poetry when I was ...more
Harry Allagree
Jan 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm officially announcing that I'm addicted to the poetry of Malcolm Guite! This is a lovely, short book of sonnets for the various Christian liturgical seasons of the year. I recommend it especially to my colleagues who are Episcopal clergy. Fraser Watts, a member of the St. Edward King & Martyr in Cambridge, UK where Guite serves as Assistant Chaplain, adds a helpful article, "The sonnets and liturgy", in Appendix B.

It's worth sharing the first lines of his "Prologue: Sounding the
Tamara Murphy
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: apostles-reads, 2018
I refer to Malcolm Guite’s sonnets as closely as I do to any other theologian I read and was delighted to introduce his work to our church’s reading group last year. In the collection Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year, Guite turns 70 lectionary readings into beautiful, poignant spiritual reflections. We read through this book as a companion to all our reading during 2018, reading several aloud each time we gathered. As a bonus, we grew in our understanding and ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: church
This book is a collection of sonnets that are tied to various points of the year. I read them all in one sitting. I think they would be better read a few at a time with time spent meditating on them.

The end of the book had an interesting discussion on reading non-Bible passages in a worship service. It discussed the "not in the Bible" and shouldn't be read viewpoint vs. reading spiritual works.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: christianity, poetry
Sounding the Seasons offers us seventy sonnets (short, 14-line poems) that cover the happenings of the Christian liturgical year. As someone relatively new to reading poetry, I found these enjoyable and accessible. Initially I read through the collection as a whole, but I plan to keep this little volume accessible for devotional usage. There is a helpful index in the back that ties the poems to passages in scripture.
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As someone who just does not understand or like poetry usually, I would like to recommend this book highly. Malcolm came to our conference and read some of his poems; most of them leaving me in tears they are so beautiful.

Read them. Pray them and you can live with them throughout the day. Beauty on the page!
Jun 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book of poetry
Kay Mcgriff
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This collection of exquisite sonnets journeys through the liturgical calendar. I have savored one each day and might just start all over again.
Oct 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: spirituality
If you love sonnets ...I couldn't get enough of this book.
His Stations of the Cross sequence is brilliant--definitely worth the price of admission just for that. The rest vary for me, but it's nice to have a collection of poems for the church holidays. He also posts most of them on his blog along with audio of him reading it, so be sure to check that out too.
Timothy Bartel
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it
A fine attempt at a sonnet sequence in an age almost devoid of such attempts.
Sep 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Moving and beautiful poems. To be read and reread.
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