Poetry Archive

3 for Thursday: 3 Challenges for My Students This Semester

Every semester I have a laundry list of things that I want my students to learn. My courses are in religious studies, religious history, and philosophy (undergraduate and graduate), so there is never a shortage of challenges for my students. Regardless of the class, these three below are part of my guiding philosophy of

Micro-Review: Aimless Love

Billy Collins, former Poet Laureate of the United States, is a favorite of many for his far-from-stuffy approach. His latest book, Aimless Love, which contains selected poems from four previous collections plus more than fifty new poems, continues his playful observations on the scholarly and the serendipitous.

3 for Thursday: 3 Things to Make Gilgamesh (More) Epic

The Epic of Gilgamesh is a poem that immortalized Gilgamesh, a ruler of Uruk (modern day Iraq) around 2500 BCE. The oldest extant copy (discovered in 1853) of the Epic in Akkadian is from 1800 BCE, though the stories likely pre-date that copy by several hundred years. The oldest recorded human epic, it is

Mark Doty on the Purpose of Poetry

“Poetry’s project is to use every aspect of language to its maximum effectiveness, finding within it nuances and powers we otherwise could not hear.” – Mark Doty, Speaking in Figures  

Rilke on Living the Questions

“Do not now seek the answers… Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

3 for Thursday: 3 Takes on Emily Dickinson

A few years ago we took what my wife and I called our “Literary Road Trip,” and ventured into the homes of a lot of famous New Englanders, like Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe. (That’s a two-for, by the way, since their homes are next door to each other.) Emily Dickinson’s home was

3 for Thursday: 3 Poetry Readings by Benedict Cumberbatch, Patrick Stewart & John O’Donohue

Richard Blanco has come suddenly to the forefront of American letters as a result of President Obama’s invitation to compose a verse for his second inauguration this week. I had to look up the poet, and was glad to find the full transcript of his long but melodious “One Today.” And in the serendipitous

3 for Thursday: 3 November Poems

November, the bringer of barren trees and wintry winds. For some reason the stark change of seasons in spring and fall tends to drive me back to poetry. So here are three poems that reflect the melancholic character of this penultimate month. November Night by Adelaide Crapsey This poem typifies Crapsey’s themes (influenced by
In search of belief changing ideas