In 1979 I heard Ted Hughes give a poetry reading at the University of Leeds in what had once been the chapel for the Hostel of the Resurrection in Springfield Mount. I could not have imagined at the time that many years later I would be made welcome not only as a Retreat Guide at the Community of the Resurrection (from 2010) but now as Poet in Residence from October 21st to November 26th 2017.

When I look back over my life I can trace threads from childhood and through adult years which have led to the invitation to write in this inspiring setting. In recent years, though I write mostly in my sitting room or garden at home, I have found beautiful places in which to write and wonderful fellowship with other writers, gaining confidence to share my poetry with a wide variety of people. I realise how fortunate I am now to be given the opportunity to spend time writing at CR and how this is affirmation of the active guidance of God, inviting me to ‘extend the cords of my tent’.

The image of The Tent of Meeting has stirred my imagination for some time now, and I hope to use this as a focus for my writing this autumn. I also have some thoughts of compiling poems that illustrate the experience of making the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises, but most of all I want to discover what is waiting to be written!

I hope the brethren and any interested guests at CR will also allow me to read my poems to them and maybe become part of the poems themselves! I intend to be available to talk about poetry and to encourage others to write or just enjoy poetry and to appreciate how God finds all sorts of ways to inspire us. I hope that one of the ‘fruits’ of my weeks at CR will be the publication of a collection of my poems. I am sure there will be challenges too, and that living alongside the community for 5 weeks will require some adjustment on my part and a willingness to let what happens, happen! Being a poet can touch the depths of sorrow and the heights of joy, and even a single word can be transforming in some way.


Maggie Jackson


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