Joan Bakewell talks to the recent winner of the TS Eliot poetry prize, John Burnside, about his ideas on religion and spirituality - and especially his interest in Taoism.
The writer John Burnside has had a good year. His latest poetry collection, Black Cat Bone, recently won both the Forward Poetry Prize and the TS Eliot prize. In a new episode of Belief he talks to Joan Bakewell about the influence of spirituality on his life and writing and he explains how he came to his beliefs. Raised a Catholic by a hardworking mother and a hard-drinking father John once thought of becoming a priest but he ended up following in his father's footsteps - drinking heavily and taking drugs until he ended up in a mental hospital. But years of reading and contemplation eventually led John to discover the ancient Chinese philosophy of Taoism and now he leads an altogether quieter life according to Taoist principles.