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Boycotting Yale Press

From First Thoughts

Poet and translator Sarah Ruden will no longer publish with Yale University Press following its decision to remove the controversial Danish images—and all other images—of Muhammad from Klausen’s The Cartoons That Shook the World , and in a letter to the editors of The New Criterion . . . . Continue Reading »

Choosing Culture Wars Over Culture

From First Thoughts

Over at Public Discourse , Matthew J. Milliner has written one of the best brief articles on conservatism and the arts that I have read in some time: To familiarize oneself with contemporary conservative ideas and publications often means choosing culture wars over culture. Conservatives are . . . . Continue Reading »

The Death of the Reader

From First Thoughts

One of the tenets of deconstruction is that all texts resist closure. There is always more than one meaning to a text. There is a kernel of truth in this. Because of our finite nature, there are certain things that human language cannot express, and because our nature is further limited by the . . . . Continue Reading »

The Rhetoric of Gay Rights

From First Thoughts

There has been some discussion here on First Thoughs on the use of the term anti-abortion instead of pro-life in the mainstream media to refer to the view that abortion is murder. Terms are important. However, while Ryan Sayre Patrico and Nicholas Frankovich disagree as to whether we should fight . . . . Continue Reading »

Poetry and the Incarnation

From First Thoughts

Perhaps this is overkill on the poetry, but I think that Stephen Burt’s recent article in the Boston Review is interesting given the recent discussion of poetry here at First Thoughts. For Burt, the days of “slippery, digressive, polyvocalic, creators of overlapping, colorful . . . . Continue Reading »

Re: Is Billy Collins Killing Poetry?

From First Thoughts

Joe asks if the popularity of Billy Collins’ audio recordings is good for poetry . I am no poet-in-residence at First Things , but I would like to answer a revised version of Joe’s question: Is Billy Collins’ popularity itself good for poetry? My answer: “Yes.” Leaving . . . . Continue Reading »

The Peculiar Peculiar Life of Sundays

From Web Exclusives

So-called “cultural histories” are written with a general audience in mind. They are meant to be leisurely strolls in the park, not trips to the Amazon with a botanist. Observations of trees and plant life are made and distinctions noted with the goal of clarifying our aesthetic . . . . Continue Reading »