Monthly Archives: July 2015

Dying and a Night Powdered with Stars

Oliver Sacks, as he is dying, shares Milton’s wonder at a night sky “powdered with stars.”

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The Dickensian Horror of the Death Penalty

The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of problematic drugs for lethal injection. The Charles Dickens of “Oliver Twist” would be appalled.

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The Inner City: Stay or Leave?

How do we get young people to stay in the inner city and make it a better place? Baldwin’s “Sonny Blues” gives us a sense of what is possible.

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A Weed’s Zen Acceptance of Fate

If you’re hostile towards garden weeds these days, here’s a very Zen-like Scott Bates poem from a weed’s point of view. Or maybe it’s an existentialist parable about free will.

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Read Poems for Life w/o Boundaries

U. S. Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, in “Let Me Tell You What a Poem Brings,” holds up poetry as far superior to consumer society. A poem is “a way to attain a life without boundaries.”

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Mood Swings: Inside Out, Rape of the Lock

“Inside Out” has a lot in common with Pope’s “Rape of the Lock.” Both show us the interior drama of their heroines. In both works, the heroines lose touch with their upbeat helpers.

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Look Down on Us Who Journey by Night

Alfred Noyes’s “Night Journey” looks to God to find hope in the night.

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Obama’s Eulogy & Beloved’s Baby Suggs

Commentator Melissa Harris-Perry quoted from “Beloved” following Obama’s Charleston eulogy. The passage she chose helps explain the power of the speech.

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Plato Anxious about Lit’s Pyschic Impact

Plato’s complaints about literature show up in censorship battles today. They testify to power of literature to invite imitation.

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The Wicked Witch, Disillusioned Dreamer

Gregory Maguire’s novel “Wicked,” like versions of the Oz story before it, wrestles with the death of the American Dream.

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