Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)?
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889)?
To celebrate Earth Day weekend, Left Bank Books, 109 Church Street in Belfast, will host Baird Whitlock for a talk on Gerard Manley Hopkins, a major Victorian-era poet who wrote of nature and religion, on Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m.

Whitlock says, “For Hopkins, earth’s ‘landscape’ is God’s ‘inscape,’ which is endangered by human misuse. His poems of concern about our behavior remain a timely warning.”

After graduating from Oxford University, Hopkins became a Jesuit priest and vowed to write no more. He burned all the poetry he had written up until then and did not write poems again until 1875. His poems were never published during his lifetime.

Whitlock’s presentation will include a reading of eight poems, including “The Windhover” (1877), which Hopkins himself called “the best thing I ever wrote.” A windhover is an old poetic name for the kestrel.

Whitlock has taught poetry in 10 colleges, from Colby to the University of Hawaii, and served as head of several English departments; he was president of Simon’s Rock College. His Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh centered on the English poet John Donne. He has led many courses in recent years at Belfast Senior College.

To reserve a seat at the April 23 talk, or for more information, call Left Bank Books at 338-9009 or email leftbank@myfairpoint.net.