I want to direct your attention to a collection poems by Andrew Thornton-Norris called The Walled Garden. It has been positively reviewed by figures known on both sides of the Atlantic such Annette Kirk, Fr Aidan Nichols, Fr John Saward and Roger Scruton who said of Andrew’s poems that they ‘convey a gentle Christian vision, pertinent to the world in which we live.’
Quarterly Review‘s Michael Davies hailed it as ‘a return to the great tradition’. You can read his wonderful and detailed review of Andrew’s poems in this collection here.
Andrew Thornton-Norris’s work is accessible and noble and speaks to someone, like me, whose eye’s ordinarily glaze over at the mention of poetry – honestly, read my article The Need for Beauty and Form in Poetry if you don’t believe me. I never studied literature formerly at any level (I never did an English Literature class at high school – an omission in my education for which I am profoundly grateful).
Andrew’s poems have simultaneously the simplicity and the depth of a psalm, or an Ambrosian hymn. This is not surprising for he has a deep understanding of the connection between faith and the culture; and between the Faith and Western culture. It is because he understands both the cultural traditions of his faith, and the culture of modern man that he knows how to make the first speak within the second though his poetry.
For evidence of his understanding of the tradition, I suggest you read Andrew’s book, the Spiritual History of English. In this book he analyses the form – the underlying sentence structure and vocabulary – of the English language since the time of the Venerable Bede and he demonstrates how it has changed to reflect the culture of faith from which it emanates. As he describes modern English is less able to articulate the ideas and beauty of the faith than it was in the time of Shakespeare. You can read my review of this brilliant book in an article entitled A Book For Anyone Interested in the Evangelization of the Culture.
As the title of my review suggests, Andrew is not pessimistic however, and is ready to try to influence the culture through his own work and restore what has been lost and, who knows help to raise it to something even greater. This is the what (Read More)