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MALCOLM GUITE was born in Nigeria and raised in Africa and Canada, Malcolm Guite is a poet and singer-songwriter living in Cambridge, where he also works as a priest and academic. He has published two collections of poetry; Saying the Names 2002 and The Magic Apple Tree 2004 and has also published poems in Radix, The Mars Hill Review, Crux, Second Spring and the Ambler. He has played in rock’n’ roll band The Crocodiles, trad jazz outfit Ecu-Jazz, and is currently front man for Cambridge rockers Mystery Train. He has collaborated with Kevin Flanagan on jazz-poetry and also the oratorio The Ten Thousand Things for which he wrote the libretto. His CD The Green Man is out on Cambridge Riffs and iTunes.
Malcolm Guite: My love of poetry goes back a very long way. Both of my parents liked poetry and quoted it unhesitatingly in their natural conversation. My mother in particular had a great fund of it, and I’ve inherited from her the ability to remember it. Poetry never occurred to me as a child in a bookish context, it was always more incantatory. We used to travel by sea a lot, and on the way my mother would almost automatically begin ‘I must go down to the sea today, to the lonely sea and the sky’.
Malcolm Guite is a poet and priest, working as Chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge. He also teaches for the Divinity Faculty and for the Cambridge Theological Federation, and lectures widely in England and North America on Theology and Literature. He works as a librettist for composer Kevin Flanagan and his Riprap Jazz Quartet, and has also worked in collaboration with American composer J.A.C. Redford, and Canadian singer-songwriter Steve Bell. He was the inaugural Artist in Residence at Duke Divinity School in the USA in September 2014, and ‘Visionary in Residence’ at Biola in Los Angeles in March 2015.
How hard to hear the things I think I know,
To peel aside the thin familiar film
That wraps and seals your secret just below:
An undiscovered good, a hidden realm,
A kingdom of reversal, where the poor
Are rich in blessing and the tragic rich
Still struggle, trapped in trappings at the door
They never opened, Life just out of reach...
—Malcolm Guite, from "Parable and Paradox"