Category Archives: notes on poems

“the body of us all”: Anne Carson’s “The Glass Essay”

Facebook4 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 5Anne Carson’s long poem entitled “The Glass Essay” relates how the narrator, having been dumped by her romantic partner, goes home to Canada to visit her mother (a difficult-sounding person–prone to rehashing old criticisms) and her father, … Continue reading

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notes on John Ashbery, Paradoxes and Oxymorons

Facebook4 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 4 A “plain” is a level place. Some plains are places that were leveled. Isaiah 40:4: “Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a … Continue reading

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Billy Collins, The Night House

Facebook13 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 13Thanks to my friend Sterling Speirn, here is a wise poem about the relationship between the private life and the public life (“the grass of civics, the grass of money”). It’s by Billy Collins. Collins interprets civic … Continue reading

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The Cliff-Top Monastery by A.B. Jackson

Facebook9 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 9If you want a 20-line respite from the fascinating train wreck of American politics (on which my eyes are riveted, like everyone else’s), I recommend A.B. Jackson’s “The Cliff-Top Monastery” in the May issue of Poetry Magazine. … Continue reading

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Derek Walcott becomes the volcano

Facebook8 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 8(Orlando, FL) I’ve settled on a poem with which to express homage to the late Derek Walcott: his “Volcano” (1976) Joyce was afraid of thunder but lions roared at his funeral from the Zurich zoo. Was it … Continue reading

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Walter de la Mare, Fare Well

Facebook4 Twitter1 Google+0Total: 5Derek Walcott says that he always “cherished” the poem “Fare Well” by Walter de la Mare “because of its melody and its plaintiveness.” I think Walcott proceeds to recite it from memory rather than read it, because his spoken … Continue reading

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aphorisms, proverbs, maxims, and the purpose of this blog

Facebook10 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 10If you search the Internet for “aphorisms,” you’ll find a mix of authors, from Lao Tze to Jean Baudrillard. Some are literary figures who are eminently quotable–good at writing short, memorable passages that stand on their own even if … Continue reading

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game theory, naval warfare, and Derek Walcott

Facebook14 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 14I am in Washington, DC but remembering our winter vacation in Les Saintes, near Guadeloupe, because I am reading Derek Walcott’s astoundingly good epic, Omeros. In the channel with three islets christened “Les Saintes” in a mild … Continue reading

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empathy: good or bad?

Facebook11 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 11I am speaking next week on a panel about empathy: “Generative Empathies” (Rabb Room, Lincoln Filene Hall, Tufts University, March 30, 12 pm) with … Amahl Bishara, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Tufts Doris Sommer, Ira Jewell Williams, … Continue reading

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when Dante came out

Facebook5 Twitter0 Google+0Total: 5In “Dante on Trial” (New York Review of Books, Feb. 19), Robert Pogue Harrison writes, “Dante seems to reveal that he himself had homosexual leanings, and that it was only fear of damnation that prevented him from acting on … Continue reading

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