My review of Jon K. Lauck's new book, From Warm Center to Ragged Edge, on the lost legacy of Midwestern literary and historical writing, has just been printed in the new issue of National Review. From the piece:
Lauck’s aim, like Corkery’s before him, is not so much to change the opinions of those nested in distant coastal cities, but to help revive the consciousness of midwesterners of themselves as rooted citizens of a distinctive region and as participants in a frequently misrepresented but fundamentally sound cultural tradition. What he offers is a beautiful regional imagination, in the hope that the midwestern consciousness should come to flourish now, even as the forces that first eroded it are more potent than ever.
This is an important and timely book. Click the picture to read the full review.
First Things publishes my review of a new study of Allen Tate's work in this month's issue. The online version has just been released today. From the review:
In Tate’s best-known poem, “Ode to the Confederate Dead,” a man stands at the gate of a Confederate cemetery, trying and failing to believe that the past can inform the present with a significance that might guide his life. He wants to believe in the lost cause of the South, or that the divine speaks to us through the book of nature; he requires a credible myth that inspires him to real action in the world. But the refrain, “Dazed by the wind, only the wind / The leaves flying, plunge,” reveals the man’s incapacity to see any meaning in the “Rank upon rank” of Confederate soldiers fighting and dying in battle. The only myth that impresses him is that of materialism, telling him that nothing has any meaning.
Click the picture to have a look at "Tate Unmodern."
Those attending my Teaching English Verse Practice workshop at the ACCS Repairing the Ruins Conference are welcome to download the workshop packet by clicking the picture at right. I will have a limited number of hardcopies for distribution.
I recently completed a long interview with Catholic World Report editor Carl E. Olsen, where we discuss my two most recent books. It is by far the most thorough discussion of The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition that I've had since its publication. But it is more than that; Olsen asked some probing questions that helped me to develop some of the arguments touched on in the book. Click the picture to learn more about the intellectual life, conservatism, and the transcendentals.
I recently sat down for an interview with Eric J. Banecker to talk about my new book, The Vision of the Soul, beauty, the art of poetry, and the state of the University and the Church in our moment, among other subjects.
It was quite an honor, as Mr. Banecker has plenty of other things to do, what with him about to be named Deacon Bancker, when he is ordained this very weekend!
Click the picture to read the whole interview; visit the Sightings page on this site for a permanent link.
My essay on Rod Dreher's important new book, The Benedict Option, has just been published in Catholic World Report. Since it is unclear if anyone -- anyone -- understands what this option really is, I hope my foray into explanation will serve to deepen conservative and Christian political reflection a bit. Click the picture to read the essay.
My 2016-2017 slate of poetry readings and lectures is still forming, with new events being scheduled even now, so check back here frequently for updates. Here is what I have finalized thus far. Click the icons at left for more details.
Would you like me to address your organization, school, university, or parish? Drop me a note on the Contact Page.
March 31, 2017, Friday, 1:00 p.m. I shall deliver a plenary address and poetry reading, "Four Quartets and the Finding of (Modernist) Form," as part of the regional meeting of the Conference on Christianity and Literature at Grove City College.
April 21, 2017, Friday, "Poetry as Enchantment," a reading and discussion with the Collegium Institute, at the University of Pennsylvania.
April 29, 2017, Saturday. A poetry reading at the Newburyport Literary Festival.
July 22, 2017, Saturday, 11:00am, I shall address the Catholic Arts Guild on "Beauty, The Foundation of the West," at the St. John Cantius Auditorium, in Chicago, Illinois.
Alabama Literary Review has published its annual issue, including poems from a range of fine poets, such as Catherine Chandler, Maryann Corbett, John Foy, and Timothy Murphy (just to mention those for whom I have a particular admiration).
The issue also publishes three new poems of mine: "The Scar of Odysseus," "How Many Exiles in the Monasteries," and "All the Hollowed Shells," not to mention my most recent essay on the philosophy of poetry and the art of verse, "On the Distinction between Verse and Poetry, a Classical Solution." Click the picture to read the whole issue (free and open access). What a pleasure it is to keep such company in such a place.
Archbishop Charles J. Chaput writes to share these thoughts on The Vision of the Soul:
It has been a long time coming, but I am pleased to report that the Clarion Review has published in full my Fourteen Stations of the Cross accompanied with illustrations by Daniel Mitsui. I hope the sequence will be greeted by some as a good lyric poem and by most as a source of meditation during this season of Lent.
My thanks to the editors of First Things, Dappled Things, and The San Diego Reader, and The Clarion Review for giving these poems a home.
My latest essay on American Catholic poets has just been published in Catholic World Report. Here, I discuss the first book of poetry by the longtime editor of Renascence, Ed Block, Jr. Click the picture to read the essay. If you like what you find there, you may wish to join me this Tuesday night, at Villanova University, to hear about "Craftsmanship and Contemplation."
In the Lent issue of First Things, the twelfth of my Stations of the Cross appears. It is the last of the Stations to be published, and so you may look in the weeks ahead to the Clarion Review to see the complete series illustrated by Daniel Mitsui. Click the picture to read the poem now. I will provide a link to the Clarion once the complete series appears.
Read my latest review, of playwright and poet Dan O'Brien's latest book, New Life, in the latest issue of the Weekly Standard. Click the picture to go to the article. An excerpt:
"In October 1993, Watson was on the ground in Mogadishu when the body of an American serviceman, William David Cleveland, was dragged through the streets and desecrated by a Somali mob. Watson clicked his shutter on Cleveland's death, and the resultant photos won him a Pulitzer Prize."
The Catholic University of America Press has released its Spring catalogue, announcing the forthcoming publication of The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition. This is my life's work. I hope it soon will take up some room -- not, pray God, a lifetime's worth -- in your memory, on your shelf, and in the world. Click the cover to read the publication announcement, including some wonderful advance praise by Joseph Pearce and Anthony Esolen.
I believe the publication date will fall sometime in mid-May or late-June. For my part, the pages have been proofed, the index culled through pure agony, and returned to the publisher with joy.
My account of an important but flawed new biography of Dante appears in the new issue of the Weekly Standard. Click the picture to read all about "The Divine Mr. D."
The academic journal Religions has now published my article, "Elizabeth Bishop and the Poetry of Meditation." These sorts of publications normally are available only to subscribers or through academic libraries, but as it happens, this journal has an "open access" policy and so is available free of charge to everyone.
The article itself will eventually join the many chapters of my book in progress Catholicism and Modern American Poetry. The heart of its argument also sketches the theme I'll address further down the road in Christian Platonism and the Meditative Lyric. Click the picture to read.
The distinguished poet Alfred Nicol has just published a review of The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking in the Fall issue of American Arts Quarterly. Click the book cover to read it all. Please visit the Fortunes page on this site to learn more about my defense of the permanent things, including our great poetic tradition.
News and Events
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