Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Nurse with a Literary Background

When you are dying, would you want a former English major caring for you? You would want Sarah Tennant Simmons, a former student of mine who is now a hospice care nurse.  Sarah dropped by for lunch this past Monday and told me about the work she is currently doing.  While we may think of […]

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Managing Midsummer Madness (i.e., Sex)

Midsummer Night’s Dream provides good instruction for the parents of teenagers. First of all, don’t think that you can tyrannically dictate your children’s choices (say, by threatening them with execution). On the other hand, they need guidelines and guidance. There’s no telling how they’ll behave once they are set loose in the forest of their […]

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June Weddings, Elizabethan Style

Francois Boucher, mid 18th-century  As June is the month for weddings (Julia and I were married June 8), I will be looking at a wedding poem and a wedding play this week: Edmund Spenser’s gorgeous Epithalamion and Shakespeare’s magical Midsummer Night’s Dream. Writing about his own upcoming wedding, Spenser is so exuberant that he could […]

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Praying to God to Tune Our Hearts

Spiritual Sunday There are those who think it an impiety to question God. I find more honest, and true, those people who wrestle with their doubts. That’s why I esteem so highly the poetry of George Herbert, the 17th –century Anglican rector. He is constantly searching for God. In some of his poems he struggles […]

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Soccer Highs and Lows and a Tennis Epic

John Isner         Sports Saturday – “It’s incredible!  You could not write a script like this!” So proclaimed the announcer in the U. S. – Algeria World Cup match when Landon Donovan netted a stoppage time goal to avoid elimination and send the Americans forward to the next round. In other words, a sports announcer’s ultimate […]

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Toy Story 3: The Great Escape

Film Friday There were no good adult movies in town last weekend so Julia and I went to see Toy Story III. Any superlatives thrown Pixar’s ways are well deserved. Toy Story III is a gem. Like any good children’s story, it articulates a number of basic childhood fears, especially that of being abandoned, and […]

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Becoming the Hero of Our Own Life

David Copperfield  (1935)         “Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show,” writes narrator David Copperfield at the beginning of the great Charles Dickens novel.  But why the uncertainty?  Can’t we just decide to be the hero of […]

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Opened up by a Fire of Roses

  I am writing today about an image that gripped me as a child and that has proved a comfort to me since losing my oldest son ten years ago. I encountered it in The Princess and Curdie, a Victorian children’s fantasy novel by George MacDonald.   I use it differently than the author does but […]

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Song of the Lark at St. Mary’s

St. Mary’s College of Maryland is very excited by our new president, Joseph Urgo, who joins us this week.  Among other things, Professor Urgo is a national authority on William Faulkner and Willa Cather.  I share with you here an excerpt from his program notes for the College’s Summer River concert series.  You’ll understand my […]

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