We are delighted to be publishing three poets this Midwinter whose works explore questions of faith. Somerset, Devon and Cornwall are represented here with exciting new writing from Toby Martinez de las Rivas, three newly discovered pieces by Sister Mary Agnes and a long poem from Jack Clemo. With Christmas good wishes to all our readers.

 

 

 

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Sister Mary Agnes was a nun from the contemplative order of Poor Clares in Devon. After suffering a breakdown she left the convent and struggled with reintegrating into the busy world. Although she never published again, she continued to write, and these three poems are from the unpublished manuscripts left behind. Sister Mary Agnes died in March 2014.

 

‘Affirmative Way’ is taken from Jack Clemo’s 1975 collection Broad Autumn. Clemo (1916-94) was born in the china clay mining district around St Austell in Cornwall and was both deaf and blind for the majority of his adult life. A new Selected Poems is to be published 2015 by Enitharmon, edited by The Clearing editor Luke Thompson and introduced by Rowan Williams.

 

Toby Martinez de las Rivas was raised in Somerset and studied at Durham. He won an Eric Gregory Award in 2005 and featured as one of Faber’s New Poets in 2009. Toby’s debut collection, Terror, was published with Faber & Faber to great critical acclaim in June 2014. The two new poems featured here are taken from a new sequence of poems about religion in nature.