Michael Symmons Roberts

The Poetry

Commission of twenty poems by award-winning British poet Michael Symmons Roberts responding to the twenty movements of Vingt Regards

Michael Symmons Roberts has published six collections of poetry, as well as novels, libretti documentaries and dramas. His poetry has won the Forward Prize, the Costa Poetry Prize and the Whitbread Poetry Award. His continuing collaboration with composer James MacMillan has led to two BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and operas. Of these, ‘The Sacrifice’ won the Royal Philharmonic Society Award for opera and ‘Clemency’ was nominated for an Olivier Award.

His broadcast work includes ‘A Fearful Symmetry’ – for Radio 4 – which won the Sandford St Martin Prize, and ‘Last Words’ commissioned by Radio 4 to mark the first anniversary of 9/11.

 “ Michael Symmons Roberts’ poems are intense and sensual explorations of the moment when the soul quickens to some ice-cracking life” (The Observer)


Commission of one poem by Lord Rowan Williams, inspired by Messiaen the man, his music and his faith

Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams was the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury. He is also a poet, author and theologian. His works include Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction and Grace and Necessity: Reflections on Art and Love. A collection of his poetry, The Poems of Rowan Williams, was published in 2002.

Dr Williams has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He is now Master of Magdelene College, Cambridge and his interests include music, fiction and languages.