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Andrew Marr on poet George Herbert

Andrew Marr discusses the poet George Herbert and prayer in a secular age, with biographer John Drury, composer Sir John Tavener and writer Jeanette Winterson.

Andrew Marr returns to Start the Week for a special programme on the early 17th century poet George Herbert. His English poetry was never published in his lifetime, but he hoped it would act as consolation 'of any dejected poor soul', and his latest biographer John Drury argues that with its focus on love over theology, his poetry still speaks to and for modern readers. The composer Sir John Tavener and the writer Jeanette Winterson discuss prayer in a secular age, and the power of music and words to soothe the soul.

This programme was recorded before the sad announcement of Sir John Tavener's death.

Producer: Katy Hickman.

Available now

43 minutes

John Drury

John Drury is Chaplain and Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford.


Music at Midnight: The Life and Poetry of George Herbert is published by Allen Lane.


John Drury


Southwark Cathedral is hosting an evening of poetry and song to celebrate the poetry of George Herbert on Monday 11 November.


Southwark Cathedral

Sir John Tavener

Sir John Tavener is a composer.


The world premiere of Three Shakespeare Sonnets will take place on Friday 15 November at Southwark Cathedral.


Southwark Cathedral


Music used on the programme:

The Protecting Veil, composed by John Tavener and performed by Steven Isserlis and the London Symphony Orchestra.

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson is a writer.


Jeanette Winterson


Role Contributor
Presenter Andrew Marr
Interviewed Guest John Drury
Interviewed Guest John Tavener
Interviewed Guest Jeanette Winterson
Producer Katy Hickman