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Found 7 results

  1. There are many analyses of "When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer," an 1865, single-stanza, free-verse poem by the great Walt Whitman. You can go to the link and read the poem in less than thirty seconds. Most analyses - perhaps every analysis - I've read have described it as rejecting bookish knowledge in favor of life's wisdom, but I disagree with such a banal interpretation. In fact, if this was Whitman's "intent" when he wrote the poem, I disagree with Whitman himself. There are two people in the poem: the writer (speaking in first person) and the lecturer, and I propose that the poem isn't a criticism of the lecturer, but rather a celebration of what went into the lecture. Yes, you can reject all academia, and appreciate the simplicity of nature without the physics behind it, but you can also appreciate physics - not as some boring, obligatory use of calculus, but the actual mathematical definition of the way the universe works - and once you see the actual universe, and link the two together, you'll have a newfound appreciation for the science that attempts to describe it all. The writer, who grew ill at the lecture, had an awakening once he realized what the lecture was about - surely this wasn't the first time he ever looked up at the night sky; his catharsis was a newfound appreciation of the engine that was driving the lecturer.
  2. Dudley Moore's Beethoven parody over in the Music Forum reminded me of this piece of brilliance, a parody of TS Eliot's "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by Jim Macdonald.
  3. We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture. Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence, popped it right in. That frog song wanting nothing but echo? We used that. Stirred it widely. Noticed the clouds while stirring. Called upon our ancient great aunts and their long slow eyes of summer. Dropped in their names. Added a mint leaf now and then to hearten the broth. Added a note of cheer and worry. Orange butterfly between the claps of thunder? Perfect. And once we had it, had smelled and tasted the fragrant syrup, placing the pan on a back burner for keeping, the sorrow lifted in small ways. We boiled down the lies in another pan till they disappeared. We washed that pan. -- Naomi Shihab Nye "Truth Serum" from You and Yours (2005)
  4. About a month ago, I was browsing the bookstore at Busboys & Poets, and came across "'De Colored Section," a book of poems by Walter Irving Ray, Jr. published in 2005. I've talked with Mr. Ray and he has graciously allowed me to reprint one of the poems here: his beautiful little jewel, "Ben's Chili Bowl." "'De Colored Section" was published in 2005 by Esoray Publishing Company, Washington, DC 20012, and is copyrighted by Mr. Ray, whose impressive biography is here.
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