Rules for Poets

From First Thoughts

Over the past few days, poet Thomas Sayers Ellis has posted “Ten Rules for Changing the Game of Poetry” to his Facebook profile. (The full list can be found here .) Ellis’s ten rules actually reveal a lot about the state of poetry today. Apparently it’s necessary to tell poets . . . . Continue Reading »

Bored or Confused?

From First Thoughts

Like me , Caspar Melville is bored with New Atheism . It has been good for some things, Melville writes, like creating copy for journalists and arguing against odious “Christian religious fundamentalism.” Regarding the latter: The origins of the New Atheists’ impulse, according to . . . . Continue Reading »

The Blessings of Atheism?

From First Thoughts

I was bored with Hawking’s statement about God before he even made it, but this zinger from Richard Lea at The Guardian is worth sharing. Reminding us that Hawking has far outsold his fellow scientists who have tried their hand at trade books precisely because of “his willingness to . . . . Continue Reading »

Overrating Overrated Writers

From First Thoughts

Outing overrated writers is a favorite pastime of critics everywhere, and this summer particularly so. First there was Gabriel Josipivici’s attack in The Guardian on Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Ian McEwan and Julian Barnes. They exhibit a “petty-bourgeois uptightness,” a . . . . Continue Reading »

“Read Ayn Rand” (or Not)

From First Thoughts

Ayn Rand acolyte, Nick Newcomen, has driven 12,328 miles with a GPS tracking device on to spell out “Read Ayn Rand” . According to The Guardian , “Newcomen took about 10 days to complete each word, turning on his GPS logger when he wanted to write and turning it off between . . . . Continue Reading »

The Classics and Statecraft

From First Thoughts

Adam Kirsch, whose poetry I admire, has a surprisingly muddled argument on the value of great books for world leaders in a recent article for The New Republic . Responding to Charles Hill’s argument in Grand Strategies: Literature, Statecraft, and World Order that great books tutor leaders in . . . . Continue Reading »

A Queer Way of Looking at Ecology

From First Thoughts

Last month I received the latest issue of PMLA (the Publication of the Modern Language Association) that included a lead article with the title, “Queer Ecology.” Why I’m still a member, I’m not sure. What is queer ecology? Well, it’s the latest literary theory that . . . . Continue Reading »

Pro-life and the Demonization of Sex

From First Thoughts

Pro-life is on the rise and has been for the past fifteen years. Since May 2009, the majority of Americans (47 percent to 45 percent) now identify themselves as pro-life . What’s striking, however, is that the percentage of Americans ages 18 to 29 who view abortion as “illegal in all . . . . Continue Reading »

Whither Walker Percy?

From Web Exclusives

Today is the twentieth anniversary of Walker Percy’s death. He died at home in Covington, Louisiana on May 10, 1990 following a two-year bout with prostate cancer. He left us six novels and two works of nonfiction, as well as numerous essays … Continue Reading »

Re: Not So Squishy

From First Thoughts

Joe: I second Ryan on this. I am no legal scholar, but it seems to me that, technically, he is not guilty of treason until he has been convicted in a court of law or some other judicial body. Andy McCarthy’s response to Kevin Williamson is unconvincing in this regard as well. He cites the . . . . Continue Reading »