What to Do When There’s No Inaugural Poem?

There will be no poem at today’s inauguration. The tradition began at Kennedy’s inauguration with a poem by Robert Frost. I know it’s not an unbroken tradition. Not every president since Kennedy has had an inaugural poet. But this one feels conspicuous. I’m not surprised that there isn’t an inaugural poet. Who would agree to … More What to Do When There’s No Inaugural Poem?

Original Child Bomb

On August 9th another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, though Hiroshima was still burning. – Thomas Merton On this day in 1945, the city of Nagasaki was bombed. In 1961, the priest-poet, Thomas Merton, responded with the “anti-poem,” “Original Child Bomb,” named after the Japanese word for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. You can read … More Original Child Bomb

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