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Tag Archives: Poetry

The Poetry of Sex

Peter J. Leithart is pastor of Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow, Idaho, and Senior Fellow of Theology and Literature at New St Andrews College. Here,  he looks at Solomon’s Song of Songs from the bible to consider how the poem uses the romantic and the erotic to relate to godliness.

Alleged Blasphemy Case: Poet Turns to Arrest for Unpaid Printing Bill

Poetry and the phrase “all human life is here” are natural bedfellows but this case, where a mentor poet resorts to extreme measures in order to get paid, is particularly bizarre. Read more in the International Herald Tribune.

From The Spectator Series – Discovering Poetry: Milton’s Blindness

The Spectator analyses John Milton’s poetry about his rapidly failing sight.

Sonnet XIX

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide,
“Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?”
I fondly ask; But patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies “God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

From The Washington Post – Today’s Poetry: Finding Its Way

Simply because we love that the Washington Post has combined pictures and words, the past and the present, academic and spoken word poetry to address the question implicit in its assertion: “To say that poetry no longer matters is a gross misreading of the facts.”

Some Thoughts About Poetry and Comics From The Rialto

I hold my hands up, I’m something of a comics/graphic novels geek. I also love poetry so to see those two things being aligned to great effect by Chrissy Williams in The Rialto warms the cockles of my heart. Never mind the fact that we are both girls and not supposed to be swayed by such geekery!

Actually, isn’t being a poet a bit geeky anyway?

Poetry Pairing / ‘Precipice’ –

Poetry Pairing – A series from the New York Times that links poetry and learning in the classroom.

January 5, 2012, 8:29 AM

Poetry Pairing | ‘Precipice’


Metropolitan Museum of Art

“The Creation of the World and the Expulsion From Paradise” (1445) by Giovanni di Paolo.

Today’s Poetry Pairing matches Jill Alexander Essbaum’s “Precipice” with two New Year’s pieces about time. One, the painting shown above, is from a Dec. 31, 2009 article about representations of time in the visual arts; the other, published this Sunday, is a rumination on our temporal lives from The Stone, a Times philosophy blog.

After considering the poem and related pieces, tell us what you think — or suggest other Times content that could be matched with the poem instead.


The poet and editor Jill Alexander Essbaum writes poetry known for its “remarkable mix of eroticism and religiosity,” writes Rick Marlatt at Coldfront Magazine. Readers may choose to consider her poem “Precipice” in connection with the new year.

— Poetry Foundation


By Jill Alexander Essbaum

The border
of a thing.

Its edge
or hem.

The selvage,
the skirt,

a perimeter’s

The blow
of daylight’s

end and

A fence

or a rim,
a margin,

a fringe.

And this:
the grim,


the lapse

of passage

That slim
lip of land,

the liminal

that slips
you past

your brink.

and when


Times Selection Excerpt

“On Modern Time,” by Espen Hammer, a professor of philosophy, begins like this:

We live in time. On days like this one, when we find ourselves carried without any effort or intent from the end of one calendar year to the next, this observation is perhaps especially clear.

Our lives are temporal. Time passes, and with that our lives. Dissolving into things, processes and events as the mode of their becoming, time is a medium within which every being is able to exist and develop. Time is, however, also destructive. Its power means that everything, including ourselves, is transient, provisional and bound to come to an irreversible end.

Many philosophers have tried to articulate what it means to be not only temporal but aware of oneself as such. How should we interpret the fact of our own temporality? One response would be that the question is uninteresting or even banal. It simply involves living with clock time, the kind of time that scientists take for granted when they study nature and that we continuously keep track of via our watches and calendars.

So time has passed? You are getting older? It just means that a certain number of homogenous moments (seconds, minutes, hours and so on) have succeeded one another in a linear fashion: tick, tack, tick, tack. … Now look in the mirror!

At least since the introduction of the pocket watch in the 16th century brought exact time measurement into everyday life, modern agents have found themselves increasingly encased in a calculable and measurable temporal environment. We measure and organize time as never before, and we worry about not “losing” or “wasting” time, as though time was a finite substance or a container into which we should try to stuff as many good experiences as possible.

Clock time is the time of our modern, busy and highly coordinated and interconnected lives. It is the time of planning and control, of setting goals and achieving them in the most efficient manner. We move through such time in the same way we drive a car: calculating the distance passed while coordinating our movement with that of other drivers, passing through an environment that can never be particularly significant and which will soon be observable in the mirror.

Modern society is unimaginable without clock time. With the rise of the chronometer came a vast increase in discipline, efficiency and social speed, transforming every institution and human endeavor. The factory, the office, transportation, business, the flow of information — indeed, almost everything we do and relate to is to a greater or lesser extent controlled by the clock.

It was not always like this. In a medieval village, the day started not with the beep of the alarm clock but with birds gradually beginning to twitter, the light slowly starting to shine through the windows. When the observation of natural cycles played a greater role in people’s awareness of temporality, change was “softer,” less precisely calculable, and intimately tied to a more fluid and large-scale sense of rhythm.

See more about the collaboration and ideas for using any week’s pairing for teaching and learning »

via Poetry Pairing | ‘Precipice’ –

Geoffrey Hill Receives Knighthood

Geoffrey Hill

Geoffrey Hill, Oxford’s Professor of Poetry and considered by many to be the greatest living English poet has received a knighthood. Read the full story.

And this little article attempts to contextualise him and his work in a political landscape.

The Poetry of North Korea’s First Family

Guess who penned this ‘poem’ when he was just 12 years old? Only Kim Jong-chul, one of the  sons of the recently deceased North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-il. Makes you wonder what might have been if he hadn’t been passed over for the position of ‘Supreme Leader’!

If I had my ideal world I would not allow weapons and atom bombs any more.

I would destroy all terrorists with the Hollywood star Jean-Claude van Damme.

I would make people stop taking drugs.

I would even destroy the word “DRUG” to make people forget about it.

I would make everybody get good jobs.

Everybody would be happy: no more war, no more dying, no more crying.

Then I would make a rule (Do not believe in God.) God doesn’t help and there is no God.

I would make people believe in themselves, and they would work hard for their happiness and success waiting in their future.

I would make the whole world use only one language, which would be Korean, and I would make all people have the same amount of money: no rich people, no poor people.

Only in my ideal world can the people have freedom and live very happily.

via John Lundberg: The Poetry of North Korea’s First Family.

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