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My Sour-Sweet Days

George Herbert and the Journey of the Soul

by Mark Oakley

  • Looking for a poem for each day of lent?

  • Find 40 well chosen poems rich in meaning

  • Find comfort and renewal in everyday life

  • Author

    Mark Oakley

  • Book Format

    Paperback / softback

  • Publisher

    SPCK Publishing

  • Published

    November 2019

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My Sour-Sweet Days

Today's Price £9.75

Product Description

Mark Oakley reveals George Herbert as a fine companion with whom to examine the journey of the soul.

His poems are 'heart-work and heaven-work', embracing love and closeness, anger and despair, reconciliation and hope.

There is too an appealing and audacious playfulness about Herbert: he seems to take God on, knowing God will win, confident God will not abandon him.

This sense of relationship with God as primarily friendship is one of many intriguing and healing aspects we are invited to consider.

George Herbert is one of the great 17th century poet-priests. His poems embrace every shade of the spiritual life, from love and closeness, to anger and despair, to reconciliation and hope. And his work is always rich with audacious playfulness: he seems to take God on, knowing God will win, as if he's having an argument with a faithful friend he knows is not going to leave. In much of theology and spirituality, God is a critical spectator to human lives, but for Herbert, his sense of relationship with God is primarily of a friendship that can never be broken. These are some of the themes Mark Oakley explores in this outstanding book

'My Sour-Sweet Days contains forty well-chosen poems by George Herbert (widely considered the greatest devotional poet in the English language), each of which is followed by a short but profound reflection by Mark Oakley. The combination is excellent: richly expressive poems and accessible personal meditations. This book powerfully demonstrates how poetry can bring comfort, refreshment and renewed energy to our spiritual lives.'

Professor Helen Wilcox, editor of the critically acclaimed edition of The English Poems of George Herbert (Cambridge University Press, 2007)

'It's extremely unusual to meet anyone who isn't a specialist who has such a subtle feeling for language as Mark Oakley does.'

Sir Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate

Mark Oakley is Dean of St John's College, Cambridge, and is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, King's College London. He was formerly Canon Chancellor of St Paul's Cathedral, overseeing the arts and learning programmes at the cathedral. Mark writes regularly for the Church Times and The Tablet and broadcasts frequently on BBC Radio 4. His latest bestselling book The Splash of Words: Believing in Poetry (Canterbury Press, 2016) was published to great acclaim. He's also the editor of A Good Year, Readings for Funerals and Readings for Weddings (SPCK, 2016, 2015 & 2013 respectively).


  • Author

    Mark Oakley

  • Book Format

    Paperback / softback

  • Publisher

    SPCK Publishing

  • Published

    November 2019

  • Weight


  • Page Count


  • Dimensions

    146 x 216 x 13 mm

  • ISBN


  • ISBN-10


  • Eden Code


More Information

  • Author/Creator: Mark Oakley

  • ISBN: 9780281080328

  • Publisher: SPCK Publishing

  • Release Date: November 2019

  • Weight: 200g

  • Dimensions: 146 x 216 x 13 mm

  • Eden Code: 4956718

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