Bartok’s Fifth String Quarter

Several years ago, in a seminar on modern and postmodern lit, I wrote a fun paper on Ezra Pound’s music criticism. In particular, I was interested in Pound’s admiration for Bartok’s String Quartet #5.

May 9, 2004
Category: Music, Poetry, Song of the Moment, Words

Vendler and Stevens

Poet/scholar Helen Vendler, the 2004 Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities, last night gave her address, “The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar,” which is as inspiring a defense of the arts as you’re likely to read.

May 7, 2004
Category: Poetry, Words

Rilke’s “The Man Watching”

Less than an hour until President Bush’s national address, and I’m too tired, too frustrated, and too stunned to think. I know that there’s not much lower on the blog food chain than posting a poem without comment, but, well, a friend sent this to me today, and it’s been a source of welcomed comfort.

Mar 17, 2003
Category: Debris, Poetry, Words

Let America Be America Again

So, it turns out that Laura Bush just cancelled a planned poetry celebration after learning that one of the invited speakers had encouraged his colleagues to use the event as an opportunity to publicly denounce war on Iraq.

Jan 31, 2003
Category: Debris, Poetry, Politics, Words

Life at War

If there’s such thing as a truly legitimate call for the use of art as a practical means to change the world, then it will probably never find a more sure voice than Denise Levertov’s.

Sep 11, 2002
Category: Poetry, Words