Recommendation from Baroness Caroline Cox for George Hobson’s
Love Poems for my Wife Victoria.
In these tender poems, ranging over decades, George shares many life experiences as the devoted husband of a wonderful woman. The poems are a buoyant mixture of lyrical tones and forms, including narratives, dialogues, and traditional sonnets. They trace the radical impact of marriage on the two young lovers; the considerable accommodations needed to build a solid foundation for their lives together; the pain of occasional geographical separation; the increasing maturity of both spouses and their deepening appreciation of each other as they live out complex lives; and the massive challenge of Victoria’s memory problem as it emerges in the fifth decade of their union. I could almost feel the growth of their love as I read through these poignant lyrics.
I personally was privileged to be blessed by their company on one of our pilgrimages in the historically Armenian Christian land of Nagorno Karabakh, and, on another occasion, by the opportunity, at their invitation, to speak in the American Cathedral in Paris at a conference Victoria organized in 2001 to celebrate the 1700th Anniversary of the birth of Armenia as a Christian nation. So I have had a number of chances to witness their deep devotion to each other. George himself captures succinctly the springs of this devotion in The Psaltery (IX), the second long poem in his remarkable recent collection entitled Faces of Memory, a volume that, in epic form, enshrines the whole spectrum of human emotions, from the terror of man’s inhumanity to man—such as the horrific description of suffering inflicted in the Rwandan Genocide—to the tenderness of human love and the infinite hope we can experience in the love of God. He writes: “They are two, but knotted./ It is their bondedness that counts,/ That makes them what they are:/ Two in one, one in two:/ Foldedness, unfolding, infolding, dropping.”
Victoria is now suffering to some degree from memory loss, and George wishes to dedicate this book of love poems to her, trusting that Love will continue to bring its healing power. It is well known that such love transcends problems of communication and normal comprehension, as he and Victoria are experiencing every day. Therefore I trust, with them, that these poems—this gift of love—will bring deep comfort and ongoing restoration to the Victoria whom George cherishes, enshrining the timeless truth “”Ubi Caritas? Where Love is, God is.”
I pray that both Victoria and George will be abundantly blessed by this love.
(Baroness Cox, of Queensbury in Greater London)
'These luminous poems are the work of a mind fully alive to the hope of the glory that will be revealed to us. In contrast to Wordsworth’s ‘intimations of immorality’, Hobson’s poetry discloses intimations of resurrection, not wistful reminiscences of a lost glory, but visionary anticipations of the life of the world to come, as glimpsed already in the pulsating, embodied life of creation. Hobson’s work moves us to join in the poet’s longing for the healing of a broken world, and challenges us, in an arid age, to reflect on the Love who is the source and hope of all things.'
Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testement, The Divinity School, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina
'Each word and line of George Hobson’s captivating poems expresses a jubilant delight in the natural world around us and in the creative force that not only brought it into being, but pervades it, and illumines us if we are willing. The images he limns and the rhythms in which he speaks make me want to dance and sing in celebration with him'
Olivia de Havilland
'George Hobson is why I write poetry. Growing up I read his manuscripts which were filled with vivid images: stars as barnacles, screeching gulls worshipping, praising and grieving for humanity; the rich earth of France, the purple plum trees; the reality and romance of a long-term marriage with Victoria; the love of God and the quest to know the numinous more deeply. These are poems of celebration and despair, praise and invective and above all, beauty.'
Maria Apichella, Assistant Professor at The University of Maryland, and award winning poet and author of Psalmody (Eyewear Publishing, 2016) and Paga (Cinnamon Press, 2015)
'George Hobson is a seer, that is one who helps us to see deeply and well. Nothing is trivial— as the centre piece in this collection, ‘The Bells of Swettl’ shows so profoundly, one day, in its progression from dawn to dark, can be a metaphor for a whole life in its painful, glorious peculiarity. By sharing with us the significance of these details in his own life, Hobson’s work wakens us to the mystery and glory to be found in the ordinary details of our own lives. It helps us to see what a blessing and grace it is to be a God-image person in a world of miracles.'
Loren Wilkinson, Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Philosophy, Regent College, Vancouver BC, Canada
'George Hobson’s poems evoke a world in which the vision of the great Wisdom books of ancient Israel make sense. This is a world in which every landscape (including human landscape, the landscape of of intimate love and relation) is charged with a presence that is at once joyful, energetic, exuberant and orderly— like music. Although George’s world is one of intensely realised visual expressions, it is music that comes to mind as I try to express their many-layered quality. Eliot wrote of music moving in stillness; poems and photographs alike present ‘still life’ which is full of motion and active bliss. This is indeed a celebration of Holy Wisdom, God’s own life giving energy in creation drawing the world together moment by moment in a difficult but stable harmony, orchestrated by Christ crucified and risen.'
Lord Williams of Oystermouth, Master, Magdalene College, Cambridge University, Former Archbishop of Canterbury