Monthly Archives: April 2013

Upon the Anniversary of My Son’s Death

Remembering my son’s death brings to mind a beautiful elegy by John Dryden.

Posted in Dryden (John) | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Answer the Door, the Truth Is Knocking

Willa Cather and Lucille Clifton were quoted in our end-of-the-year awards ceremony last week.

Posted in Cather (Willa), Clifton (Lucille) | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dare to Be Happy, Dare to Pray

Mary Oliver finds hope even for those weighed down by the thorn of depression.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Hope Springs Eternal in the NFL Draft

The NFL draft perfectly exemplifies Alexander Pope’s passage about hope.

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Jane Austen, Mistress of Manipulation

A new political science text shows that Jane Austen has a shrewd understanding of game theory.

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Bush’s Legacy: “Setting Aside 9-11…”

Conservative defenses of Bush’s record on counter-terrorism–“setting aside 9-11…” –call for Jane Austen’s exquisite irony.

Posted in Austen (Jane), Wilmot (John) | 3 Comments

Taking a Break from Politics

Sometimes, like Mr. Hardcastle in “She Stoops to Conquer,” one needs a break from the world’s news.

Posted in Fielding (Henry), Goldsmith (Oliver) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

A Light Exists in Spring

Emily Dickinson captures magical light of spring–and its transience.

Posted in Dickinson (Emily) | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Is Atwood’s Dystopia Coming True?

With the rise in state legislatures passing anti-abortion legislation, Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” seems more relevant than ever.

Posted in Atwood (Margaret) | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Finding Peace along with a Lost Goat

Poet Yehudi Amichai gives us a powerful poem about losing our way and being found.

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Golf & the Farthest Reaches of the Soul

Here’s a poem that captures some of the mental game of golf.

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The Erotic Call of the Pear Tree

Zora Neale Hurston has one of the most erotic descriptions of a blossoming tree that you will find anywhere.

Posted in Hurston (Zora Neale) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Faced with Bombs, Be Brutus, Not the Mob

To politicians who make irresponsible claims after an incident like the Boston Marathon bombing, Shakespeare has a warning and a model to follow.

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Where Are the Toys of Yesteryear?

Where are the toys of yesteryear? Such is the lament of this poem by Scott Bates.

Posted in Bates (Scott) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

No Frigate Like a Liberal Arts Education

Phi Beta Kappa’s John Churchill lectured our new inductees on Emily Dickinson and the vital importance of a liberal arts education for all.

Posted in Dickinson (Emily) | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Brothers Bonding over a Father’s Illness

Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues,” about two brothers learning to bond, captures some of the bonding I am doing with my second brother over our father’s illness.

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The Something Inside the Nothing

Closely examining St. Paul’s “road to Damascus” conversion experience also reveals insight into the poetic process.

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Tiger on the Prowl Again

After years of quietude, Tiger Wood is once again as hungry as a–well, you know what. James Baldwin describes it.

Posted in Baldwin (James) | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Rand Paul’s Misadventures with Poetry

Senator Rand Paul’s often may misapply poetry, but the poems he chooses tell us a lot about Rand Paul.

Posted in Eliot (T.S.), Garcia Marquez (Gabriel), Neruda (Pablo) | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fielding’s Satire Applied to the 1%

Fielding satiric attacks on the cheats of his day could apply to Wall Street financiers and other wealthy Americans who refuse to share.

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Women, You Don’t Have to Do It All

In a recent talk at St. Mary’s, author Elsa Walsh counseled young people to strive for “a good enough life.”

Posted in James (Henry), Vonnegut (Kurt) | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

God Does Not Leave Us Comfortless

As my father struggles to retain his memory, I think of Jonathan Swift.

Posted in Kenyon (Jane), Swift (Jonathan) | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Roger Ebert’s Kinship with Whitman

In reflecting on death and dying, Roger Ebert turned to literature rather than to film.

Posted in Behan (Brendan), Bellow (Saul), James (Henry), Remi (Georges), Whitman (Walt) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Yielding the Heart to an Easter Lily

Claude McKay poem about an Easter lily is a sensuous immersion.

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Horror Steps onto the Court

The horror of witnessing Kevin Ware’s horrific basketball injury reminds me of a moment of comparable horror in Baldwin’s “Sonny’s Blues.”

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My Father in the Hospital

A Mary Oliver poems captures my fears about my father, currently hospitalized.

Posted in Oliver (Mary) | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Rise Up, Plain Bellied Sneetches!

Dr. Seuss’s story of the sneetches captures America’s melting pot story.

Posted in Dr. Seuss | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Our Dogs Ground Us in the Now

As Mark Doty reminds us, our dogs recall us to ourselves.

Posted in Doty (Mark) | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Right Wing’s War on Science

Tim O’Brien describes a character for whom facts are formed by sensation. Sounds like today’s right wing.

Posted in O'Brien (Tim), Pope (Alexander) | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swift’s Spectacular April Fool’s Joke

Jonathan Swift Bickerstaff papers are the ultimate satiric attack on astrology.

Posted in Swift (Jonathan) | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment


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