Poetry

Listening to “Little Gidding”

By |2019-10-12T15:53:55-05:00October 12th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Four Quartets Series, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

In “Little Gidding,” T.S. Eliot captures an experience that lodges his reader into a recurring theme of time and memory, history and destiny; the poem’s lines are among the finest and most moving in Eliot’s oeuvre. Here there is motion and emotion, intention and commitment. All is driven and motivated by love. It would [...]

Listening to “Dry Salvages”

By |2019-09-27T23:33:09-05:00September 27th, 2019|Categories: Culture, Dwight Eisenhower, Dwight Longenecker, Four Quartets Series, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

In “Dry Salvages,” T.S. Eliot moves into a new confidence and clarity. The arcane symbolism begins to evaporate. The artificial voices are silenced and we are at last face to face with the poet himself, and a new level of emotional interaction is experienced. We sense a new vulnerability and with the new honesty [...]

Horace’s Humanity

By |2019-09-27T14:16:42-05:00September 27th, 2019|Categories: Christine Norvell, Imagination, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

Like songs today, Horace’s odes were about anyone and anything that struck the poet’s fancy. Some, for instance, praise his patron, while others eviscerate noted women or men for their immoral and feckless behavior. His subjects appear innumerable, but they do share one thing—the poet’s desire to be known. Son of a former slave, [...]

From Pagan Heroism to Christian Alliance: Tolkien’s “Beowulf”

By |2019-10-05T09:54:55-05:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Beowulf, Books, Bradley J. Birzer, Great Books, J.R.R. Tolkien, Myth, Poetry, Senior Contributors|

J.R.R. Tolkien argued that while Christianity gave the heroes a new point upon which to focus, the enemies of the heathen gods remained, too, the enemies of the Christian God. Beowulf, by challenging all that is spawned in Hell, has, by default, become the ally of all that destined to Heaven. Inducted into the [...]

Listening to “East Coker”

By |2019-08-31T20:59:12-05:00August 31st, 2019|Categories: Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Four Quartets Series, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s “East Coker” relies more explicitly on personal references than his earlier work. It is as if the mask has fallen. The poet is humbler and more vulnerable. The poem expands his meditation into a wider consideration of time and eternity, destiny and desire. In the introduction to this five part series I [...]

The Tide Is Turning for the Arts

By |2019-08-29T22:39:46-05:00August 29th, 2019|Categories: Art, Beauty, Culture, Literature, Poetry|

Like the abstract painters, poets abandoned form and gave themselves over to free verse. Since the close of the 20th century, however, the tide of postmodernism has turned somewhat in art and poetry. A shift back toward tradition and form is taking place. To call World War I a catastrophe for the West is akin to [...]

Listening to “Burnt Norton”

By |2019-08-24T23:50:26-05:00August 24th, 2019|Categories: Beauty, Culture, Dwight Longenecker, Four Quartets Series, Literature, Poetry, Senior Contributors, T.S. Eliot|

T.S. Eliot’s visit to the garden at Burnt Norton, and his musings with Emily Hale about a love and life together that never happened, lead to a broader contemplation on the nature of time, free will, and human choice, culminating in the first poem of the "Four Quartets." I’m using the word “listening” in this [...]

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 [...]