Tag Archives: Emily Dickinson

Read Poetry To Keep Hope Alive

Literature that just shows us the grim truth of reality without the possibility of hope calls into question the whole enterprise. Much great literature frames reality in such a way that we can see new possibilities for ourselves.

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Emily Dickinson & Going to Heaven

In “Going to Heaven,” Emily Dickinson grapples with the idea of heaven but, in her skepticism, concludes that too much focus on the afterlife will draw her attention away from “curious earth.”

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Doctors Need Lit To Stay Human

A doctor argues that continuous reading of literature is essential to keep doctors balanced and to help them deal with the problems that come with the profession.

Posted in Dickinson (Emily), Fowler (Jaren Joy), Kazuo Ishiguro, Murakami (Haruki) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Emily Dickinson’s “Smart Misery” of Doubt

Emily Dickinson struggled with religious doubt all of her life. Because she desperately wanted to belief, some of her poems show her faith being tested.

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To Strengthen Your Caring, Read Lit

When we become numb to the world’s horrors, the problem is not the numbness but the insufficient attention paid. Reading lit can help us overcome compassion fatigue

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What Does It Mean to Hope against Hope?

What does it mean to hope against hope? Emily Dickinson and an analytic philosopher weigh in.

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To Hear an Oriole Sing

I use an Emily Dickinson poem to root for my favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles.

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Eating and Drinking the Precious Words

An Emily Dickinson poem that will remind my graduating seniors to keep reading.

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Waiting for the Tide to Turn

Dickinson, Coleridge and Dickens come to mind as we await the moment of my father’s death.

Posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Dickens (Charles), Dickinson (Emily) | Also tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

What Liberty a Loosened Spirit Brings

Although she didn’t go to church, Emily Dickinson was spiritually uplifted by reading the Bible.

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Ah, Those Sensuous Summer Days

Emily Dickinson has written the most passionate summer poem I know.

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A Light Exists in Spring

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

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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.

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The Civil War Was Fueled by Poetry

Scholar Faith Barrett shows how the War between the States was a “poetry fueled war.”

Posted in Howe (Julie Ward), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Also tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Silver Water Crushes Like Silk

Although not explicitly religious, Mary Oliver has a Good Friday-Resurrection progression in many of her poems, including “Morning at Great Pond.”

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For a Mold Attack, Read Dickinson

Our College has closed down two dorms after a mold attack. Among the many remedies has been an Emily Dickinson poem.

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Class of 2011: Brains Deeper than the Sea

St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Joseph Urgo turned to an Emily Dickinson poem as he talked to graduates about the value of a liberal arts education.

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Metaphors and the Brain

I read a fascinating article in yesterday’s New York Times on metaphors and the brain. If I understand Robert Sapolsky’s piece correctly, the insula—which is the part of the brain that processes, say, disgust with rotten food—also processes “rotten” when it is used as a metaphor (as in “the very deep did rot” from Rime […]

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Finding God in Nature’s Church

The bobolink, Dickinson’s sexton and chorister  Spiritual Sunday “Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy,” instructs the fourth commandment. How are we to keep it holy? Emily Dickinson, a writer who wrestled with the stern Calvinism of her day, observed the sabbath in her own way. She was a private person who was skeptical of […]

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Literature about Health Care Reform

  At present I am one of those liberals in a high state of anxiety about the prospects of Obama’s attempts to bring us universal health care.   I find myself careening through the highs of hope and the lows of fear.  I watch the political proceedings minutely, then turn away discouraged, then read some columnist […]

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Emily Dickinson’s Deathbed Fly

Okay, here is a second post on poems about small winged pests, written in honor of President Obama’s cool and cold-blooded killing of a fly. When I was a child, I used to enjoy the poem about “the funny old lady who swallowed a fly.” It is one of those repetition poems, with a new […]

Posted in Dickinson (Emily), Donne (John), Golding (William), Grimm Brothers, Swift (Jonathan) | Also tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

John Donne’s Seductive Flea

Georges de La Tour, Woman Catching a Flea, c. 1638. Oil on canvas. In case you haven’t heard, the news media was buzzing last week over a CBS interview with President Obama where he nailed a fly that was bothering him. I thought I’d have fun in today’s entry and talk about the symbolic use […]

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