Giving Up Poetry for Lent: Gerard Manley Hopkins’ Quest for Perfection

Gerard Manley Hopkins (Photo: Wikipedia Commons,  work by Rowan Gillespie, used with permission)

For the English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, the year 1866 was marked by introspection and transformation.  On January 18, 1866, he composed his poem The Habit of Perfection, which hailed the virtue of ascetism.  Five days later, on January 23, he included poetry in a list of things he planned to give up for Lent.  And by July, against the wishes of his family, he had decided to leave his native Anglicanism for the Catholic Church.That September, he traveled to Birmingham to consult with John … [Read more...]