Collected Poems contains the previously published poetry of Rowan Williams, together with a significant body of new work. Also included are his celebrated translations from Welsh, German and Russian poetry.
His earlier collections have included pieces prompted by the landscape and literature of West Wales, and a sequence of poems on the varieties of love in the plays of Shakespeare. This Collected adds a sequence commissioned for the fiftieth anniversary of the Aberfan disaster, tributes to writers as different as Alan Garner and John Milton, and a reflection on sculptures by Antony Gormley. The book reflects the poet's wide range of interest and the variety of poetic mediums he has explored. His poems continue to respond vividly to the visual arts, and to the experience and imagination of 'pre-modern' cultures, as well as to the crises and tragedies of our time. He continues to read with uncanny clarity the signs that are manifest in nature and history. Imagination working through language brings us as close as we can get to our condition. 'I dislike the idea of being a religious poet,' he says. 'I would prefer to be a poet for whom religious things mattered intensely.'