The Transitus of Gerard Manley Hopkins

Today is the anniversary of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s death in 1889. The poet died of typhoid fever (or perhaps Crohn’s disease) while in Ireland. 129 years ago, the “blue-bleak ember” of Fr. Gerard’s life fell and broke and revealed an “immortal diamond,” and we’re still writing and thinking about him–and most importantly still reading his … More The Transitus of Gerard Manley Hopkins

“A Sad and Angry Consolation”: On the Loss of Geoffrey Hill

So – Croker, Macsikker, O’Shem – I ask you what are poems for? They are to console us with their own gift, which is like perfect pitch. Let us commit that to our dust. What ought a poem to be? Answer, a sad and angry consolation. What is the poem? What figures? Say, a sad … More “A Sad and Angry Consolation”: On the Loss of Geoffrey Hill

“I am Happy, so Happy”: Remembering Father Gerard

Today is the anniversary of Gerard Manley Hopkins’s death in 1889. The poet died of typhoid fever while in Ireland. 127 years ago, the “blue-bleak ember” of Fr. Gerard’s life fell and broke and revealed an “immortal diamond.” The following post was originally posted here on June 11th, 2015. I was on a plane holding … More “I am Happy, so Happy”: Remembering Father Gerard

The Ancient Quarrel

Are you a poet or a philosopher? Do you look at the world as beautiful or knowable? Is mystery or intelligibility more important? This is the “ancient quarrel” between philosophy and poetry, truth and beauty, and it goes all the way back to Plato. In the tenth book of The Republic, Socrates considers the place of … More The Ancient Quarrel