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Philosophy

The Solipsist in Purgatory: Jollimore’s AT LAKE SCUCOG

August 19, 2011
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It’s always a relief to me when I see a book published by somebody outside the “poetry ghetto.”

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Didactic Sonnet

August 2, 2011
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If Plato came back today and saw the workshop, craft obsessed nature of poetics, he’d give his approval, but not for reasons poets might like: Plato would approve because the stupidity of inspiration has been removed from the writing of poems.

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Terms, Truth, Sun Sparrows: A Very Important Lesson from My Father

March 21, 2011
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I tell my students that education can do the work of evil: it can make a bunch of aleatory systems with PHDs think they have a right to be superior to the Rocky Weils of this world. They can make a son misunderstand the wisdom of his own father. They stink of torture and snobbery, they are rank with the odor of exclusion and bias, and we call this “truth” or “Dogma” or “terminology.”

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Marriage Counseling for True Minds

February 1, 2011
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To what extent do the classics belong to our actual, lived experience?

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Unstuck with Yahia Lababidi

January 26, 2011
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Yahia Lababidi remembers late nights in his dorm room at George Washington University, tossing in bed as the voices of Wilde, Rilke and Kafka reverberated around him.

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Gatekeepers of Literary Greatness: On Piety

December 21, 2010
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In the full complexity of human constructs piety is the rhetoric of conflicting and supposedly coherent values.

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Gatekeepers of Literary Greatness: Some Definitions and a Parable about Chickens

December 15, 2010
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The chickens are purifying their system, purging it of corruption. Meanwhile, the chickens who willfully refuse to answer the bell are seen as impious, as negative, as renegades.

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Aesthete and Propagandist: An Interview with Gene Tanta

December 10, 2010
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It’s getting later than it’s ever been and the sonnet is nearly over: do you know where your closure is?

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How Beauty (No Stronger Than a Flower) Shall Hold a Plea

November 28, 2010
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These poems thread and rethread the nature of identity—in theology and philosophy, called the problem of haecceity.

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Andrei Tarkovsky and the Visionary Experience

October 31, 2010
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Andrei Tarkovsky made an important film called Andrei Rublev, about a doubting monk, Russia’s greatest iconographer. The film feels very much like Bergman, from whom much of Tarkovsky’s style emerged. Like Bergman’s Seventh Seal, Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev is a slow-paced journey with monks, holy idiots, existential discourse, and symbolic animals.

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Roger Scruton on Beauty

March 9, 2010
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I’m planning on doing another entry today about Grossman, but I’m at work and I forgot my copy of Singer. In the meantime, I wanted to share a BBC series that is available on YouTube. A professor I know shared this with me, after I shared a link to Simon Schama’s Power of Art episode […]

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Nothing to say

February 25, 2010
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I have nothing to say today, or nothing specific, only miscellany, no fashion thing has occurred to me. Here you have an image of Ferula scorodosma, the plant whose dried sap is used to make asafoetida, a rather pungent spice.

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The Lyric Workshop, Session 1: Theme From Shaft

February 24, 2010
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PROFESSOR: Mary Ann, would you mind reading your poem aloud so that we can hear it in your own voice?

MARY ANN: Absolutely. Ahem.

Who’s the black private dick
That’s a sex machine to all the chicks?
SHAFT!
Ya damn right!

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Google Uses Wittgenstein

February 23, 2010
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Canada, it’s spring-break time. We’ve already got trees budding. Actually, many schools have gotten the whole Winter Olympics off for two or three weeks of extended spring break drunkenness. I’ve been glued to CTV for the last week or so, watching my new favorite sport: curling. No joke, this game is intense.

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A Cuban Sandwich and Levinas

February 23, 2010
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Suppose you are reading Levinas, having a nice Cuban sandwich, minding your business, thinking about the self, the other, the other self, the otherness of self, the selfishness of other, etc, etc, and the sun slants across the legs of a woman you pretend to have a deep rapport with—striping them apricot. What do you do?

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Keats Revisited: “It’s Not a Well-Wrought Urn, it’s a Well of Ashes and Wine”

February 21, 2010
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That urn is cold. I find it strange that several poets and scholars speak of the beauty-truth equation as the last lines of the poem. That equation has called forth so much fuss – its bald assertiveness is immensely persuasive at first hearing, then almost instantly the mind rebels against the symmetry of identity.

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