Essay / Literature

Nothing to Praise

If you’ve never encountered the poetry of Richard Wilbur, one of the most distinguished living Christian poets in the U. S., you might consider picking up his recently published Collected Poems 1943-2004. While much of twentieth century poetry contemplates the anxieties of our age or

Essay / Education

An Olympian Standard of Bible Study

In the preface to Bernard Knox’s book Oedipus at Thebes: Sophocles’ Tragic Hero and His Time, he tells this story: As an undergraduate at Cambridge I had been awestruck by a statement of Walter Headlam, a brilliant Cambridge scholar whose career was cut short by

Essay / Literature

Adam and Eve, “Outside” by Mark Jarman

I don’t read very much contemporary poetry; I admit that I like my poets dead and classic. But one poet I do try to keep up with is Mark Jarman, who teaches at Vanderbilt and is somehow associated with a movement called the New Formalism.

Essay / Literature

Conference on Lewis, the Inklings, and Christian Community

On February 7-9, Azusa Pacific University is hosting a conference on the Inklings and Christian Community. Three plenary speakers are scheduled, and a selection of shorter papers will also be presented there, probably in parallel sessions. The website says it’s free, so if you’re near

Essay / Literature

Seriously, Homer?

Every year our freshmen begin their college education reading Homer’s Iliad. And every year our freshmen stumble upon the same sophisticated “insights” about the ancient poem. They posit that Homer, or some poet before him, able neither to explain nor to master the wine-dark sea,

Essay / Literature

Annie Dillard on a Total Eclipse

Annie Dillard’s essay “Total Eclipse,” from the book Teaching a Stone to Talk, is a bit of a stunt. The February 26, 1979 solar eclipse lasted less than two minutes, and Dillard turns her Pulitzer-prize-winning prose loose on it for about 20 pages. If you’re

Essay / Literature

Anybody out there interested?

John Mark Reynolds, 2005. Does any publisher out there want a book? Does anyone want to read the rest of this story? Chapter One: Messages Wind. Blowing, tearing wind was the main memory he had of the Dream. He called it the Dream, because it

Essay / Literature

Heaven In Her Eye

John Mark Reynolds, 2005. Milton famously describes Eve as having “heaven in her eye.” As a young adult, I loved that line, because it seemed such a perfect description of the beloved when I found her. She would have heaven in her eye. Her gaze would

Essay / Literature

Book Review: “The Complete Stories,” Flannery O’Connor

John Mark Reynolds, 2004. Amazon.com: Books: The Complete Stories O’Connor is difficult for me. She challenges every notion I hold about race, women, and the culture. She is such a clear writer and her work is dark without being morbid. O’Connor is the rare writer

Essay / Literature

Dante Continued (Paradise)

John Mark Reynolds, 2004. Tonight I struggled with love again. What is it? How do I know when the divine love is present? The love that is divine is fruitful. It bears children. Too much of modern love practices birth control. It aborts the natural

Essay / Literature

Book Review: “Joan of Arc” by Mark Twain

John Mark Reynolds, 2004. Phil Johnson is the source of some of the best reading recommendations I have ever received. He taught me Trollope. And now he has had me read Mark Twain’s masterpiece, Joan of Arc. I am fairly immune to Twain’s normal charms.