Jonathan Bate believes that the slow, meditative reading of poetry - absorbing ourselves in the images of a poem, slowing to its beat, allowing our minds to rest in the pause of a line-ending - can bring us tranquility as we find echoes of our own experiences on the page. Experiences of beautiful places, strong feelings and moments that lift the human spirit.
In The Shepherd's Hut, Bate introduces us to the diet of swans, the quest for inner peace in ancient Chinese poetry, the English seaside and the summer Mediterranean, a rose garden and a snow-covered moor. He reminds us what it is like to fall in love and to say goodbye.
These are poems of memory and of mourning; quick-fire thoughts and longer meditations inspired by the great poets of the past.
All author proceeds will be donated to ReLit, a small charitable foundation established by Jonathan Bate and his wife, author Paula Byrne, devoted to the act of reading as an invaluable form of stress relief in our busy world.
Jonathan Bate is a well-known biographer, critic, broadcaster and scholar, and he is Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature in the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcasts regularly for the BBC, and has held visiting posts at Yale and UCLA. In the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours, he was awarded a CBE for his services to Higher Education, and in 2015 he became the youngest person to have been Knighted for services to literary scholarship. His many publications include The Genius of Shakespeare, described by Sir Peter Hall as `the best modern book on Shakespeare'; a biography of the poet John Clare that won the Hawthornden Prize and the James Tait Black Prize; and, most recently, a biography of Ted Hughes that was runner-up for the Samuel Johnson Prize and, in the USA, winner of the Biographers International Organization award for the best Arts and Literature biography of 2015. He is married to the writer Paula Byrne, and they have three children.