Category: Writing and Reading

Things I have written, or read about that inspired me and that I hope will inspire you.

Poem of the Day: In Memory of W.B. Yeats by W.H. Auden

I’ve decided that periodically, when I come across one of these things, I’ll share them. This poem was assigned for my literature class today, and Auden’s poetry has always spoken volumes to me, but this one just seemed to strike a particular chord. Read it. Read it out loud and just see how it feels.

I

He disappeared in the dead of winter:
The brooks were frozen, the airports almost deserted,
And snow disfigured the public statues;
The mercury sank in the mouth of the dying day.
What instruments we have agree
The day of his death was a dark cold day.

Far from his illness
The wolves ran on through the evergreen forests,
The peasant river was untempted by the fashionable quays;
By mourning tongues
The death of the poet was kept from his poems.

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.… [Read More]

Banned Books Week!

It’s that time of year again. This year’s list of recommended banned books is available from Google Books.
I find it amusing, of course, that I’ve read a fair chunk of the books on this list. Some of my favorite books of all time are on this list such as Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, and “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. Also books I have read that make the list, but not necessarily all time favorites:

  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

I encourage everyone to go to their local bookstore and pick up one of the banned books this week!… [Read More]

Leopold’s Ghost

I just finished reading “King Leopold’s Ghost” by Adam Hochschild. For those of you who have read Joseph Conrad’s fictional story of the Congo “Heart of Darkness”, it cannot possibly compare to the realities of Leopold’s genius. A genius so undeniable that simply being in the same room with him was unsettling for some of the most brilliant men of the day.

I’ve got a paper to write on this man. I’ll post a copy to my website when it’s finished some time next week.

If you haven’t read this book, I suggest you do so. The facts are startling, chilling and in a strange way… eerily admirable.… [Read More]

Why don’t we know this?

I’m tempted to start a quarterly column with the above title.

Every quarter that I’m in college, I find out something that I didn’t know before, that was specifically denied to me in terms of information discovery during my tenure in the public school system. My first such discovery was that the first piece of literature ever published on American soil was a book of poems. The second was that Lincoln wasn’t the benevolent man history books in public schools suggest he was (it’s not that he wasn’t a good guy, but he was just as racist as the next wasp male in his era). The third was that the aforementioned book of poetry was written by a woman named Anne Bradstreet.

The fourth is an odd historical fact that is not taught in public schools in world history for whatever reason. King Leopold II of Belgium who is reputed by history to be this humanitarian soul… in all actuality made his riches and built the economy of his country on a web of brutality and horror so atrocious and so astounding that the world stood up and took notice of it and called it what it was at the time.… [Read More]