Favorite Books of 2019

Hello. It’s been … a while. For several reasons, I stepped away from this blog a little over a year ago, and I don’t expect to return to regular posting any time soon since I’m currently making arrangements to go to school in 2020. But I don’t want to let this space go entirely silentContinue reading “Favorite Books of 2019”

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Favorite Books of 2018

Hello there! Long time, no see. I apologize for the silence on this site for the past few weeks. I’ve been trying to explore other avenues for my writing, so I haven’t had as much time to write here. But since we are in the last few weeks of 2018, I thought I’d go downContinue reading “Favorite Books of 2018”

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Holy Sonnet XIV: “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne

It seems remiss on my part that I’ve written nine poem essays for this site so far and not one of them has been about John Donne. After all, Donne is one of my favorite poets, and one of the writers who got me interested in poetry in the first place. It’s almost as ifContinue reading “Holy Sonnet XIV: “Batter my heart, three-person’d God” by John Donne”

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“L’invitation au voyage” by Charles Baudelaire, translated by Richard Wilbur

Translation can be a controversial topic, and poetry translation is even more so. In any act of translation, the obstacles posed by the two languages’ differing histories, cultural contexts, and nuances of meaning can be almost insurmountable. Add to that the fact that the very existence of a poem depends on its being intimately involved with the features of its own language. Sound, rhythm, denotation, connotation, and even the histories of individual words or phrases can all carry meaning. To move a poem from one language to another and keep the poetic aspects of it is nearly impossible. Some believe that it is impossible. I personally prefer to take a more optimistic view: will Baudelaire in English ever be the same as Baudelaire in French? Of course not. Can we hope that some intrepid Anglophone might create for us, if not the same thing, at least something similar to the experience of Baudelaire in French? I think so.

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Bookish Links — June 2018

Joy Clarkson, of the podcast Speaking with Joy, is running an online book club for C. S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce! We’re five chapters in already, but the chapters are short so there’s time to catch up. More info here. Just in time for Bloomsday, The New York Times dropped this longform article about anContinue reading “Bookish Links — June 2018”

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“The Bowl-Maker” by C. P. Cavafy

On this wine-bowl—beaten from the purest silver, made for Herakleides’ white-walled home where everything declares his perfect taste— I’ve placed a flowering olive and a river, and at its heart, a beautiful young man who will let the water cool his naked foot forever. O memory: I prayed to you that I might make hisContinue reading ““The Bowl-Maker” by C. P. Cavafy”

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Six Poems about Fathers That Aren’t Robert Hayden’s “Those Winter Sundays”

Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that this post’s headline does NOT mean that I think there is anything wrong with “Those Winter Sundays.” On the contrary, Hayden was a genius and that poem is one of the greats. And because it’s so great, it’s starting to become over-familiar. For this list, I wanted to branch out into a few less famous poems, and highlight some modern work that I think is interesting along the way. Sounds OK? Good, let’s begin.

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Bookish Links — May 2018

“In Brodsky’s view, politics was one level of human existence, but it was a low rung. The business of poetry, he thought, is to ‘indicate something more … the size of the whole ladder.’ He held that ‘art is not a better, but an alternative existence … not an attempt to escape reality but theContinue reading “Bookish Links — May 2018”

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National Poetry Month 2018

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. In case you didn’t know, April was National Poetry Month in the States. This year, same as last, I decided to celebrate by posting a different poem every day on Twitter. My post collecting all of last year’s poems got a great response, so here I am again withContinue reading “National Poetry Month 2018”

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Bookish Links — March 2018

“In French, we were learning how to buy a train ticket; but in Latin we learnt … what happens when a city is sacked, what happens to the old people when the young are slaughtered before their eyes, and the terror of trying to escape and survive”: David Kern of the Circe Institute interviews Drs.Continue reading “Bookish Links — March 2018”

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“Glanmore Sonnets, X” by Seamus Heaney

I dreamt we slept in a moss in Donegal
On turf banks under blankets, with our faces
Exposed all night in a wetting drizzle,
Pallid as the dripping sapling birches.
Lorenzo and Jessica in a cold climate.
Diarmuid and Grainne waiting to be found.
Darkly asperged and censed, we were laid out
Like breathing effigies on a raised ground.
And in that dream I dreamt—how like you this?—
Our first night years ago in that hotel
When you came with your deliberate kiss
To raise us towards the lovely and painful
Covenants of flesh; our separateness;
The respite in our dewy dreaming faces.

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Poems for Valentine’s Day

Regardless of how you feel about the holiday in general, I hope that you won’t mind looking over some rather incredible poems on the subject of love.

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