"the anxiety of influence":
John Milton and the Roman Catholic 'Christ Poet' & the
'Song-Wing Roman Catholic eagle'; and James Joyce.
At King's College, London, as an undergraduate, I was both a Joycean and a Miltonist, and it
was once my ambition to be a Miltonist. However, as a practising Roman Catholic, I finally
rejected Milton, a Puritan poet, consumed by politics, to sing new epic poetry and sonnets, as the 'Christ Poet', and the 'song-wing Roman Catholic eagle'.
Dante, Virgil and Andrew discuss 'the anxiety of influence' in Dante's Inferno as it is 2013:
'Of him, has high Virgil, already rightly syllabled, shall
Later yield the high escutcheons of 'Eucharist', the
Circumcision of the saints for catholicity and
Saints universal of the heavens, to 'Eikonoklastes'
Smash his, of the late, 'things unattempted yet in
Prose or rhyme'. He follows in the name of one
John Milton, and, is by name, Andrew, and by profession,
Ex-religious; and by revelation of these exquisite
'Christ Sonnets' here, whose paling sere have been
Jutted into my own verse, 'La Vita Nuova', as, overhung
The dove above the Galilean, he has earned the right
Of due entertain, within so umeagre a presentation
As mine, and lofty of that driving Publius'.
'The Christ Colloquy', Book I Commedia, Canto IX, 106-118.
Dante discusses 'Eucharist', a new epic poem designed to compete directly with 'Paradise Lost', and readily admits before Virgil, 'The Christ Sonnets', written in pure devotion in Rome at 31, won Andrew his admittance into Inferno, after Christ's Passion, on Good Friday night 2013, to have the honour of writing a new literary 'gospel 'in seven books for Christ and Our Lady.
Exterior to both Modernism and Postmodernism, and celebrated writers, like T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and Samuel Beckett, and major movements, like magical realism, I am returning to the classic form of epic poetry too, in order to dissect my relationship with John Milton. I have written 'Eucharist', an epic poem in twelve books, on Christ's Second Coming and Judgement Day. The new hero, miles Christi, is sent by God the Father, to war with Milton's Satan and the fallen angels in Rome on Dies Irae. I have also developed, a 'grand new style' in 'Vinum', to directly challenge Milton as my once 'master'. Book I of 'Eucharist' begins in media res:
Of Man's last treatment days, I sing, brought to
Conveying wail of that final judicial of Mankind's
Judgement day, Dies Irae and the unlordly
Rowl of Satanic might - infernal armies led, fed, by
The lustre of the darkest light, gross Satan's, unlight.
When, wingy Jesus the Christ, did recome to reconfigure
Us, from our darkest night, and was blazing blitzed
Out above Papal Primacy of lustrous Italy's Rome,
Battle royal and prime, above the holy quadrants
Of unconciliatory ring of Tree, Saint Peter's basilica,
And great Porta's pomp of dome; - and loosed out,
Above, around the Eternal City, came, the defending, undry
Marching squadroning angels to the barking
Roar of foul, nefarious underworld; for, of Man's
Inglorious Dies Irae I sing; and so,
I soft emit, in blessed Trinity of ring, enfathered, ensonned
Enspirited, enwrapped, of, this most specied theme,
I treat beloved, blind magister, of earthed requite due to
Centuried Roman 'Aeneid's' Virgil and guileless English,
Leading blind guide of this sublimest, most true
Lofted, flighted theme, untethered by dark page
Of Roman pagan auctor, or, blousy dissembling
Comportitude of an incomplete Christian puritan;
I, His 'songwing eagle', of acknowledged, Christian, Roman Catholic
Of, enlovelied, purity of wing.
'Eucharist', Book I, 1-25, Grattan.
Suffer then, you, who did long me instruct,
Some final usurp of filial destiny...
'Eucharist', Book I, 48-49, Grattan.
the 'Christ poet' addresses his 'great original', John Milton.
'You are mint, miles, but I am mighty in evil, and in usury unchecked'.
'Eucharist', Book IX, 666, Grattan.
Milton's Satan and miles Christi on the dome of St Peter's on Judgement Day in Rome.
'Now sweet, blind puritan, I have eclipsed even you, to turn the yew unto true'.
'Vinum', Book I, 528-9, Grattan.
the 'Christ poet' and a grand new style.
I was also greatly influenced, by James Joyce's 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man', and
I became a postulant, when I was 26, to be a scholar, gentleman monk, and sang Gregorian Chant in the monastic choir-stalls, to rebuild the logos Joyce desecrated in 'Finnegans Wake' in prayer, thereby, also rejecting the influence and world view of Joyce. I wrote a short,
accessible novel, 'Christ', during the novitiate there, as an introduction to the themes in my work, using simple language, with allusions to Dante, Milton and Joyce. The prose style is intentionally plain, a reaction, to what some contemporary critics termed 'purple patches' in Joyce's, 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man'. Andreas Christianus, is the postulation of a
being morally and intellectually superior, to Joyce's artist Stephen, and he also features in 'Corpus Christi' and 'Crucifix'.
My thought is apolitical, unlike both Dante and Milton, purely theocentric, and refined utopianism, sourced in More's 'Utopia', which addresses the full complexity of spiritual and
temporal concerns in life. I am twinned with Dante too, in knowing the sharp pain of exile:
I ON HIS HIGH EXILE anno aetatis 35
Jesus: when I ponder on the flesh-tissue that is done,
The holy ore of choir-fire from out my throat;
No Chrysostom mouth within me is further won,
But triumphant rings that past of over-moot;
Two twin giants sought the passage of my
Overthrow - Preen and Under-meek, and none
Within me of stasis was twinning inward soft lent,
As bent traducing steps of steering Moses' staff,
Slowly lent, to desert walkless ways, unabbas path
Of stones, and monkless bent; tribes to trailing
Fortitude - pacts and complicit were preachless lent.
England's unruly green was unAvalon greetless sent,
As Dante to a Sinai come, the prophet of the Tuscan
Sun, and snake to staff, and staff, make me unKent.
'The Sonnet Collection', Grattan.
Christ: a depiction of the writer as an
English Benedictine Novice
This is a short, accessible account of a year spent as an English Benedictine Novice at Adonai Abbey, when I was 27, and is the first volume of The Chrysolite Collection, with 'The Christ Sonnets' and 'Corpus Christi'. The word "chrysolite", from Shakespeare's 'Othello', becomes "the light of Christ" throughout my books, refracted in the encyclical Lumen Gentium of Vatican II. This book is written in a plain and simple prose style, with references to more advanced writers, including the desert fathers, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton and Joyce. In the novel, the novice begins his intellectual and spiritual vocational journey, and search for the truth, by consciously commingling the canonical English poetry of John Milton's poem, 'At A Vacation Exercise', with the canonical language of the Church, the Latin Psalms of Gregorian Chant, thereby discerning the true relationship between the Logos and the logos, which concludes in the pure and truthful telos of 'The Christ Colloquy'.
Corpus Christi: a bildungsroman
Written at Blackfriars College, Oxford, during the summer of 2009, this is an account of the
genesis of the soul of the ex-English Benedictine novice, as he becomes Dr. Andreas Christianus, a Senior English Lecturer at King's College, London, delineating his intellectual and spiritual journey. He begins as a Miltonist, developing into a Dante scholar, specializing too, in Roman Catholicism and World Literature. Fr. Dominic Catholicus, an Aquinas expert, encourages Christianus to join the English Province, and apply, for the vacant post of Writer in Residence at Blackfriars, but, over the course of the week-end, Christianus discerns against against a vocation to the Dominicans, to pursue excellence in English at King's.
Set in Rome, over the Seven Days of Holy Week in 2018, this novel exhibits the total assimilation of the soul of Dr. Andreas Christinaus wthin the very fabric of the city of Rome, the eternal city, and overhauls and overwhelms the concept of Joyce's 'Bloomsday', with seven, sublime, 'Holyweekdays'. Designed to question and negate the views of life portrayed in 'Ulysses', in T.S. Eliot's famous quotation "the book to which we are all indebted and from which none of us can escape", the novel is composed in a new, modified "stream of consciousness", with coherent grammatical sentences, structured with proper semes of ordered thought, contrasting with Modernism's experimental datedness, and the era of Freud and Jung.
Eucharist: an epic poem in twelve books on
Christ's Second Coming and Judgement Day
The 'Christ-poet' is baptized in the river Galillee, by Mersome, the angel of the Holy Trinity, to sing new epic poetry after his great original and master, John Milton, and he selects the theme of Judgement Day, as the second greatest theme to be explored in epic poetry, after the Fall of Man, in 'Paradise Lost'. Milton's Satan cries for the blood of Christ, from Pandemonium, and God the Father, sends miles Christi, the soldier of Christ, to vanquish evil for good. War breaks out on Judgement Day in Rome in Book IX.
Jesus: an epic poem in five books
This brief epic poem, was inspired by Milton's 'Paradise Regained' and close reading of the Gospels. It exhibits new forms, patterns and variations in line layout, building on the grand style of 'Eucharist', and serves as a bridging poem to the grand new style of 'Vinum', where I break away entirely, from being a 'disciple' of the Chalfont poet, his political beliefs, and theological system, as an orthodox Roman Catholic poet, the 'Christ-poet', accepting the
the full teachings of the Roman Catholic Church contained in the Catechism and Magisterium and embracing, my own, new, unique voice, as an epic poet.
Vinum: an epic poem on the
History of Christianity in twenty-four books
An epic poem on the History of Christianity, is the last, great new theme in World Literature, and this poem is designed for 'an audience fit, though few'. The opening book, sees the soul of the 'Christ-poet' surveying the seven hills of Rome, contrasting them with Milton's Aonian mount. The political poets, Dante and Milton, are set in context, with the work of a new, apolitical poet, before the History of Christianity is explored poetically, including its greatest periods and prominent figures, for example, Church Councils such as Nicaea, the 'filio atque' debate, the emperor Constantine, and Henry VIII in England.