Poetry

Listening to “Four Quartets”

By |2019-08-17T16:18:15-05:00August 17th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Four Quartets Series, Literature, Mystery, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets” is highly personal, uniquely-fashioned religious poetry. This wordless realm into which Eliot takes us is the region of dreams, the numinous, the collective unconscious. He wishes us to plunge into the experience instead of simply pondering the meaning. I first read T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets as an undergraduate and was [...]

Emily Dickinson and Drinking All Summer Long

By |2019-08-14T21:49:54-05:00August 14th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Imagination, Literature, Nature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

Emily Dickinson creates a simple buffet for our imagination in her nature and summer poems, but most especially in "I taste a liquor never brewed." And rather than being accosted by her “drunkenness,” I embrace her abandoned delight in the essence of summer. I taste a liquor never brewed – From Tankards scooped in Pearl [...]

An Introduction to English War Poetry

By |2019-08-09T21:38:25-05:00August 9th, 2019|Categories: Death, England, History, Literature, Poetry, War, World War I|

The poet’s career doesn’t end once he dies. The soldier’s career arguably does. The poet-soldier, then, has died physically, but what remains of him is his art. Both Edward Thomas and Francis Ledwidge managed to create something that transcended their persons and lasted long after being killed in war. When we think of English [...]

Grace in the Garden: The Fall of Man & the British Pastoral Tradition

By |2019-08-04T22:08:19-05:00August 4th, 2019|Categories: Imagination, Literature, Moral Imagination, Poetry, Timeless Essays, Truth|

The transcendent ‘overcoming’ or reconciliation of the Fall of Man—that symbol of the cause of the disorder that we would wish re-ordered, of the return to the garden—is what great poetry graciously asks of us. The pastoral tradition will probably persist as an expression of the moral imagination in which artists in all spheres [...]

On the Anniversary of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Birth

By |2019-08-03T07:44:10-05:00August 3rd, 2019|Categories: Culture, History, Literature, Poetry|

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s extensive reading of the greatest classical thinkers led him to a deep love of beauty. Though he was hounded out of his country, slandered and ostracized, he became, after his death, immortal, as his works spread and succeeding generations were able to experience their beauty and profundity. Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) is [...]

“Thoughts That Wound From Behind”: Great Books & the Power of Allusion

By |2019-07-30T22:14:33-05:00July 30th, 2019|Categories: Alfred Tennyson, Dante, Great Books, Literature, Morality, Poetry|

One value of reading truly great works of literature, works that have stood the test of time for decades or even centuries, is the opportunity such reading affords for exploring the tradition that has since built up around them. Any such truly great work—the Iliad, the Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Hamlet—will have accrued innumerable [...]

Escaping From Myself

By |2019-07-27T08:55:07-05:00July 26th, 2019|Categories: Books, Catholicism, Christianity, Dwight Longenecker, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

This summer, two books got me because they took me outside myself: Danusha Goska’s “God Through Binoculars” and Sam Davidson’s “Love’s Many Names.” Both authors write truth from the heart, and both books are refreshing and heart-inspiring reads. Books should take you outside yourself. They should introduce you to new people, new worlds, new [...]

“Mary Magdalene”: A Sonnet

By |2019-07-26T15:24:52-05:00July 22nd, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Imagination, Poetry|

The 22nd of July is Mary Magdalene’s day, and continuing my sequence of sonnets written in response to the church year I post this for her. As usual you can hear the poem by clicking on its title or on the ‘play’ button. This sonnet is drawn from my collection Sounding the Seasons, published by Canterbury Press [...]

How Poetry Can Save Us in Our Age of Superficiality

By |2019-07-21T21:51:02-05:00July 21st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Liberal Learning, Literature, Poetry, Timeless Essays|

Poetry will not improve our students’ job prospects or make them better office workers, but it is more important now than ever to teach poetry because it offers a unique antidote to the superficiality that dominates American culture. Poetry calls us back to tradition and calls us out of the shallows into the deeper [...]

The Power of Metaphor

By |2019-07-12T12:26:29-05:00July 11th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Poetry, Writing|

Metaphor should not be approached as some “thing,” but as a transformative power, the invisible process by which “things” come into being. Using metaphor, even very simple language and very common-place images can be brought into new, unique constellations. Contrary to the sundry definitions of metaphor proffered by many school teachers and dictionaries, metaphor [...]

Clarity and Obscurity: The Essences of Classical & Modern Poetry

By |2019-06-27T18:08:39-05:00June 27th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Literature, Modernity, Poetry, Tradition|

As a sustained artistic school, modernism cannot endure. But classical art is eternal because the ideas it expresses are eternal. A resurrection of classical form does not represent a return to the past, real or imagined, but instead a return to sanity, a reorientation of the artistic eye back to its natural, fully human [...]