National Poetry Month: The Tension Between the Sacred and the Erotic in 17th-Century English Poetry by Genuinely Holy Men

And if the title of this blog post doesn’t catch your attention…

So, it’s no secret among literary scholars that clergyman John Donne’s work is complex with both the sacred and the erotic, sometimes blending the two passions. His poem “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” is a showstopper of licentious spirituality.

But one of Donne’s contemporaries and friends, George Herbert, is perhaps a less obvious choice for this kind of crossover work. While I would not call myself a Herbert scholar by any means, his sacred poetry seems to be less obvious, and perhaps even less conscious, of how it treads now and then into more earthly passions.

If this is a subject you’re interested in, consider this wonderful essay “Voice of Eros” by Adam Plunkett. You can find it on the Poetry Foundation’s website by clicking this link.


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