Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, born in Arezzo, Italy, in 1949, grew up in Montreal, Toronto, and Baltimore, and then moved to Toronto in 1967, where he studied as an undergraduate at the University of Toronto until the early 1970s. In his first career, as poet and literary editor, he paused after his eleventh collection of poems, Virgin Science (1986). Two years earlier he had taken vows as a brother in the Order of St. Augustine at the Marylake monastery north of Toronto. His second vocation, as a Roman Catholic priest, followed his Master of Divinity degree in 1990. In 1993 he was ordained as Father George and has served in various parishes in the Archdiocese of Toronto. During this time he rekindled his public life as a poet. A lover of women when young, and of God especially today, Di Cicco reminds one of John Donne, but unlike that gloomy Anglican bishop of London, he is a most gentle, cheerful, and big-hearted priest, and his poems are heart-breakingly compassionate of ordinary people and their lives. These poems are also, as Dennis Lee says, heroic. His books of poetry include

  • Di Cicco, Pier Giorgio. We Are the Light Turning. Toronto: Missing Link Press, 1975.
  • --. We Are the Light Turning. (revised ed.) Birmingham, Ab.: Tunder City Press, 1976.
  • --. The Sad Facts. Fredericton: Fiddlehead Poetry Books, 1977.
  • --. The Circular Dark. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1977.
  • --. Dancing in a House of Cards. Toronto: Three Trees Press, 1978.
  • --. A Burning Patience. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1978.
  • --. Dolce-Amaro. Alabama: Papavero Press, 1979, (limited edition).
  • --. The Tough Romance. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979. Reprinted in Montreal: Guernica Editions, 1990.
  • --. A Straw Hat for Everything. Birmingham, Ab.: Angelstone Press, 1981.
  • --. Flying Deeper Into the Century. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1982
  • --. Dark to Light: Reasons for Humanness. Vancouver: Intermedia, 1983.
  • --. Women We Never See Again. Ottawa: Borealis Press, 1984
  • --. Post-Sixties Nocturne. Fredericton: Goose Lane, 1985.
  • --. Virgin Science. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986
  • --. Les Amours difficiles. Trans. Frank Caucci. Montreal: Guernica Editions, 1990. (The Tough Romance in French )
  • --. Living in Paradise: New and Selected Poems. Toronto: Mansfield Press, 2001.
  • --. The Honeymoon Wilderness. Toronto: The Mansfield Press, 2002.

Father Tabb (John Banister Tabb) was born at "The Forrest," in Mattoax, near Richmond, Virginia, on March 22, 1845. Despite bad eyesight, he served on the Robert E. Lee steamer for the South in the Civil War and was imprisoned by the North in Point Lookout prison. After the war, he taught at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Baltimore, and Racine College, Michigan. He left the Anglicanism and entered the Catholic Church September 8, 1872. Educated first at St. Charles College, in Ellicot City, Maryland, from 1872 to 1875, he taught for some years, 1877-78, at St. Peter's Boys' School, Richmond, and then at St. Charles College, until entering St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, in 1881. He graduated as a priest on December 20, 1884. From that year until his death, Father Tabb was chair of English at St. Charles College. (The College, burned down in 1911, relocated in Catonsville up to 1969, when St. Charles closed.) His amusing Bone Rules, or Skeleton of English Grammar was published in 1897. His lyrics appeared in eleven collections from 1882 to 1910. Beautifully crafted, accessible to everyone, Father Tabb's poems enjoyed a wide audience. He became totally blind in 1908. He died a confederate on November 19, 1909, and was buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond, Virginia. His niece Jennie produced a loving biography and appreciation in 1922.

  • Hayes, Kevin J. "Tabb, John Banister." American National Biography Online. American Council of Learned Societies: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • The Poetry of Father Tabb: John Banister Tabb. Ed. Francis A. Litz. New York: Dodd, Mead, and Co., 1927. PS 2965 A2 1928 Robarts Library
  • "Tabb, John Banister." The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography. Vol. XIII. New York: James T. White, 1906. 249-50.
  • Tabb, Jennie Masters. Father Tabb: His Life and Work. Boston, Mass.: Stratford, 1922. PS 2968 T3 1922 Robarts Library
  • Tabb, John Banister. Bone Rules, or Skeleton of English Grammar. New York : Benziger Bros., 1897. PE 1113 .T33 1897 Robarts Library
  • --. Child Verse. 1899.
  • --. Later Lyrics. 1902.
  • --
  • Later Poems. 1910.
  • --. Lyrics. Boston: Copeland and Day, 1897. PS 2967 .L9 Robarts Library
  • --. An Octave to Mary 1893.
  • --. Poems. 1882.
  • --. Poems. 1894.
  • --. Quips and Quiddits: Ques for the Qurious. Boston: Small Maynard, 1907. PS 2967 Q5 1907 Robarts Library
  • --. The Rosary in Rhyme. Boston: Small Maynard.
  • --. A Selection from the Verses of John B. Tabb. 1906.

Born June 27, 1883, in Leeds, Geoffrey Anketell Studdert Kennedy was educated at Leeds Grammar Shool and Trinity College, Dublin, where he obtained a degree in classics and divinity in 1904. He then studied for the Anglican priesthood at Ripon Clergy College and went on to minister in Rugby and at St. Paul's, Worcester, in 1914. Volunteering as an army chaplain in World War I, Studdert Kennedy earned the nickname Woodbine Willy for his habit of giving Woodbine cigarettes to soldiers in distress. He served with the 46th, 24th, and 42nd Infantry Divisions and was awarded the Military Cross for risking his life to comfort the wounded at Messines Ridge. During the war Woodbine Willy wrote verses for soldiers in the trenches. Llewellyn H. Gwynne, Deputy Chaplain General in France, caused these verses to be printed for the army, among which they enjoyed popularity. Archbishop William Temple said that Studdert Kennedy was "the finest priest" he had known. He ministered at St. Edmund King and Martyr, Lombard Street, London, in 1922. He died on March 8, 1929, in Liverpool and is interred in Worcester. Leeds Parish Church, where his father was curate, has a chapel dedicated to his memory. Woodbine Willy's books of poems include:

  • Kennedy, Geoffrey Anketell Studdert. Rough Rhymes of a Padre. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1918. 1919/5/85 Cambridge University Library
  • --. More Rough Rhymes of a Padre. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1919. 1919/5/168 Cambridge University Library
  • --. Sorrows Of God, and Other Poems. 1924.
  • --. Rhymes. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1929. 1929/7/3853 Cambridge University Library
  • Rowell, Geoffrey. "Kennedy, Geoffrey Anketell Studdert (1883–1929)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
Index to poems
  • Brown, Nancy Pollard. "Southwell, Robert [St Robert Southwell] (1561–1595)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Jan. 2008.
  • Coleborne, Bryan. "Parnell, Thomas (1679–1718)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Online ed. Ed. Lawrence Goldman. Oxford: OUP, 2004.

Born in London on July 24, 1725, John Newton joined the merchant marine as a youth and had many adventures, including harsh service to a slave-trader. Rescued from this, and while returning home, Newton underwent a sudden religious conversion in March 1748 as he steered the ship through a storm. In England he married a childhood sweetheart, Mary Catlett, educated himself in classical and eastern languages, joined the evangelical movement, and yet continued to captain slave-ships until 1754, when illness turned him to ministering. His autobiography, The Authentic Narrative (1764), was published the year he became a priest in the Church of England and was appointed to Olney, Buckinghamshire. There his dramatic preaching earned him large audiences, among whom was the poet William Cowper, and they became close friends. They jointly authored Olney Hymns in 1779 (280 hymns by Newton, and 68 by Cowper), many works from which still remain popular today. Later Newton took over the church of St. Mary Woolnoth in London. Throughout his life he fearlessly dwelt on both his sins and his love for Mary, who predeceased him in 1790. He died on December 21, 1807, and they were buried together at St. Mary Woolnoth.

Index to poems

John Henry Newman converted from the Church of England to Roman Catholicism in 1845 and was ordained in Rome the next year. His Apologia pro Vita Sua (1864), The Grammar of Assent (1870), and The Idea of a University (1873) are important treatises in nineteenth-century English thought. Besides his religious poetry, Newman also published two novels, Loss and Gain (1848) and Callista (1856). He was named Cardinal in 1879 and declared Venerable in 1991 by Pope John Paul II.

  • Ker, Ian. John Henry Newman: A Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press 1988.
  • Ker, Ian. "Newman, John Henry (1801-1890)." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.
  • Newman, John Henry. Works. 36 vols. London: Longmans, Green, 1868–81.

Arthur Clement Hilton was born in 1851 and educated at Marlborough College and St. John's College, Cambridge, where he published in 1872 The Light Green, a collection of verse parodies. After graduating from Wells Theological College in January 1873, Hilton was ordained deacon on March 1, 1874, became curate of St. Clement and St. Mary, Sandwich, and was ordained priest in 1875. He took his M.A. at Cambridge in 1876 and died suddenly and unexpectedly April 3, 1877. It was not until 1902 that his collected works were published.