The Splash of Words


  • Mark Oakley
    Mark Oakley
    Dean of St John's College, Cambridge, UK

    Mark is Dean of St John’s College, Cambridge, UK. His book ‘The Splash of Words’ was awarded the international Michael Ramsey prize for theological writing in 2019. He is widely admired as a speaker, preacher and writer who uses humour, human experience and honesty to communicate significantly and memorably. He has written several books on the relationship between spirituality and poetry, and he comes to Sorrento as part of a tour in Canada. Rowan Williams says that he is ‘one of the most distinctive, intelligent and refreshing voices in the Church of England, always illuminating, never stale or secondhand’.


Sorrento Centre
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Sunday - Saturday July 24 - 30, 2022



The Splash of Words: believing in poetry

In this course Mark will explore why the world needs more poetry, how poetry is the native language of faith and how religion is – or should be – a poetic art of spiritual adventure. By looking at the work of many poets, from the past and present, near and far, he will examine how poetry is a language of human formation, not information, and how it makes the unforeseeable become something indispensable. He will also explore how poetry has become a soul-language, often replacing for some, or enhancing in others, the more traditional languages of faith.

Mark will show how poetry is the art that enters the intellect by way of the heart, revealing what is worth remembering in life and relationships.