Tag Archives: W. H. Auden

Seeing the Beauty in an Invalid

As I sat by the hospital bed of a dear friend holding her hand, the well-known opening lines from Auden’s “Lullaby” came to mind:

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Joy of Life Revealed in Love’s Creation

In Auden’s “Christmas Oratorio,” the shepherds stand in for the working class, who find love and personhood in the birth of Jesus.

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Can Art Thwart Trump? A Debate

In which I argue with a writer who claims that art and artists have an inflated sense of their power and that they are irrelevant in the battle against Donald Trump.

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Is Freedom More Powerful than Fear?

Obama in his Oval Office speech on terrorism said that “freedom is more powerful than fear.” Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor would beg to differ.

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And the Light Shineth in the Darkness…

Auden’s Advent section in “For the Time Being” captures the pessimism that many feel about the world today. Luckily, the poem moves on to the Christmas promise.

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Can Poetry Respond Adequately to Evil?

Americans turned to Auden’s “September 1, 1939” following 9-11, and it can inspire and guide us following the Paris terror attacks.

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Lit vs. the Evils of History–More Debate

While literature can seem helpless in the face of history’s cataclysms, it proves far more durable than the events that seem to overwhelm it.

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The Spurs as Auden’s Unknown Citizen

The San Antonio Spurs as so perfect that they’re boring–like Auden’s “Unknown Citizen.”

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I Thought That Love Would Last Forever…

The death of a beloved cousin is throwing me into the primal pain described by Tennyson and Auden.

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A Time of Rare Beasts, Unique Adventures

Spirit may seem less accessible after Christmas is over, Auden tells us, but that means we should focus all the more on seeking it out.

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The Perfection and Poetry of Tyrants

W. H. Auden’s chilling “Epitaph on a Tyrant” matter-of-factly shows the deadly but seductive simplicity that characterizes dictators like Qaddafi and Assad.

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Back in the Day, We Parsed Sentences

Time was when grammar was king in the public schools. It didn’t seem to matter whether a student’s writing was interesting but whether it was correct. Then came the “process writing movement” and (in the lower grades) the “creative spelling movement.” The design was to unlock the writing energies that were being stifled by an […]

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A Death Poem Must Acknowledge the Pain

For today’s entry on poems that can come to our aid when we are confronting death, I will be looking at two. In both poems, the speaker has lost a loved one. One of them, which I have known and loved since high school and whose sentiments I agree with, now angers me. The other, […]

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Poetry in the Face of Death

  Because of my concerns over my friend Alan and his cancer, I will spend another week looking at the role that poetry can play as we confront death and dying. Today’s entry describes how poetry made its way into my life following the death of my son Justin, described in last week’s opening entry […]

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