Monthly Archives: June 2014

It’s Not Always More Blessed to Give

Trollope, Shaw, and Lawrence can be seen as wrestling with the merits of self sacrifice.

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Reveling in Isaac’s Self Sacrifice

Trollope uses the sacrifice of Isaac to parody Victorian narcissism.

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Bram Stoker’s Cure for Biting

Soccer star Luis Suarez has a problem with biting. Bram Stoker had advice for dealing with biters.

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Ask Jane: Advice for Lovers

“Pride and Prejudice” functions as a perceptive guide in how to develop a soul relationship.

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Paradise Lost (Scott Bates’ Mole Version)

Scott Bates’ animal fable about an epic mole parodies “Paradise Lost” and provides a skeptical look at poetry and religion.

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Monarch Butterflies in Danger

Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behavior” warns of the threat to monarch butterflies.

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Oedipus in Iraq

America’s blindness in instigating the Iraq War, now proving to be an abject failure, resembles that of Oedipus.

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Trollope and a Family Road Trip

A Trollope novel shaped a family trip I took into the past.

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A New Song Comes out of the Fire

A Rumi poem for Ramadan, which begins next Saturday.

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Spain No Longer a Soccer Colossus

Spain, which once did bestride the soccer world like a colossus, has been ousted from the World Cup.

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Elizabeth & Darcy, The Perfect Couple

An explanation as to why we thrill to the Elizabeth-Darcy relationship.

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Into the Mind of a Portrait Painter

Iain Pears’ “The Portrait” didn’t move me but I liked the observations on art.

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Is Poetry in Decline? Nope

A New York Times columnist laments the decline of poetry. Here’s why he’s full of it.

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Earth Hath Nothing to Show More Fair

An early morning bicycle ride in Madison reminded me of Wordsworth’s “Composed upon Westminster Bridge.”

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Principle or Expedience?

Trollopes “Last Chronicle of Barset” pits principle against expediency in a fascinating struggle.

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Remembering a Father’s Tenderness

In this poem about his father, Li-Young Lee remembers a tender moment that has led to his own tenderness as an adult.

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U. S. as Prey in Most Dangerous Game?

America’s soccer squad has an unsettling resemblance to the human prey in “The Most Dangerous Game.”

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Superstition & Power Relations

To honor Friday’s 13th, here’s how Mark Twain handles superstition in “Huck Finn.”

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Poems Celebrating My Birth

My father celebrated my entrance into the world with two poems, one serious, one not.

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How Jane Eyre Is Not Twilight

“Jane Eyre” provides a lesson in how to emerge whole from a toxic relationship.

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I Went Out with a Bird on My Head

Prévert’s uncaged bird is a surrealist’s response to military bloviating.

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Atwood vs. Unregulated Capitalism

Atwood’s dystopian novel is about a future of unregulated high tech capitalism.

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I Carry Your Heart with Me

On this, the day of my wedding anniversary, I send to my wife an e. e. cummings poem.

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Miami Heat Stymied by Heat

The Miami Heat were beaten by a heat-assisted San Antonio team in the first game of the playoffs. Here’s an H.D. poem about heat.

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My Father Moved through Dooms of War

My father’s recollections of the D Day beaches influenced his poetry.

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How to Compile a Summer Reading List

Any reading list will be to some extent arbitrary. Here are some thoughts about compiling such a list.

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Reflecting on “A Little Learning”

Pope’s “a little learning is a dangerous thing” applies to many of today’s policy debates.

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GOP Denies a Giant Problem

Faced with climate change denialism, Obama has been forced to take executive action. Jonathan Swift would understand.

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A Kipling Response to the V.A. Scandal

Kipling predicted the V.A. scandal in his 1892 poem “Tommy.”

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A Bright Torch Shines to Show the Way

John Donne’s “Ascension” captures the paradoxes of the resurrection and ascension.

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