As I sat at my desk one evening grading papers, I got stuck on a poem. It was the final paper in a stack I’d been working on for nine hours. I stared and stared at it. I read it aloud once, twice, three times. I counted the syllables in each line. I wrote out […]
The classical renewal places great emphasis on the trivium and on language. In contrast to modern progressive education which only “has a mind of metal and wheels,” classical education restores the primacy of the word over the gadget. Rather than the know-how of mechanical manipulation, a language-based education ascends to the transcendentals of truth, goodness,
I love George Herbert’s The Temple—the major hits, the b-sides, everything. The more I read Herbert’s work, the more I realize just how inventive it really is. Take even a minor poem like “Paradise” for example. Like so many works by Herbert, this one is a little Matryoshka doll of meaning—a highly intricate artifact containing
How contemporary poetry can equip students for a richer experience reading the classics.
For many there’s no payoff in reading poetry. It’s not worth the toil. But that’s precisely the point of poetry.
“Menus,” by Blaise Cendrars I. Truffled green turtle liver Lobster Mexican Florida pheasant Iguana with Caribbean sauce Gumbo and palmetto II. Red River salmon Canadian bear ham Roast beef from the meadows of Minnesota Smoked eel San Francisco tomatoes Pale ale and California wine III. Winnipeg salmon Scottish leg of lamb Royal Canadian apples Old
In What Are People For?, Wendell Berry wrote that a poem “may remind poet and reader alike of what is remembered or ought to be remembered – as in elegies, poems of history, love poems, celebrations of nature, poems of praise or worship, or poems as prayers. One of the functions of the music or
Homer’s epic poems tell of rage and war, shipwreck and conquest, friendship and home. The Aeneid, Beowulf, The Song of Roland, and more all tell of brave heroes, fierce battles, and even gruesome monsters. Yet, now, in the minds of too many young men, poetry conjures up images of bongos and greeting cards, with sappy
John Donne on the miraculous circumstances – and ironic implications – of the nativity