Monthly Archives: December 2015

Each Sunrise Sees a New Year Born

Helen Hunt jackson looks with suspicion at New Year’s Day resolutions but then offers us a different way to see life transitions.

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Conservative Extremists as King Lear

In another significant post that appeared this past year, I compared GOP extremists to King Lear–more interested in self-indulgent behavior than in responsible governance. The result is a divided country at war with itself.

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Donne’s Warning about Climate Change

Looking back over the past year, I repost an essay on John Donne’s “Valediction: Forbidding Mourning” and climate change denial. Given that 2015 has been the warmest year on record and that “the weather outside is frightful,” Donne’s comments about “moving of th’ earth” are only too relevant.

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“Emma” as Aid to Alzheimer’s Caregivers

A luminescent “New York Times” article explains how a woman used Emma to help her deal with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Literature at such times does some very heavy lifting.

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Dostoevsky Explains Trump’s Appeal

Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor helps explain Donald Trump’s popularity: people want certainty more than they want freedom of thought.

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The Constellated Sounds of Bells

First Sunday after Christmas Sewanee, Tennessee, where I spend each Christmas, is a great place for bells and chimes. There is the 56-bell carillon in All Saints’ Chapel—once one of the largest in the world although probably no more—and the single Otey Parish bell. There are also the bells in Breslin Tower, which strike the […]

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A Season for Miraculous Breakthroughs

In this Scott Bates poem about Operation Breakthrough, the 1988 American-Soviet rescue operation that liberated three ice-bound gray whales, the possibility for international cooperation to save the planet is imagined. Were he still alive today, my father would be excited by the 2015 Paris climate accord.

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Our Christmas Owes Much to Walter Scott

While Charles Dickens can be credited with resurrecting Christmas, Sir Walter Scott paved the way in “Marmion” with his depiction of Christmas and pre-Christmas banquets.

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Beauty Amidst the Refugee Heartbreak

Adam Zagajewski’s beautiful poem “Try to Praise the Mutilated World” is particularly relevant at the moment with the tragedy of the Syrian refugees.

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