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Rooted Cosmopolitan

In 2011, I reviewed what was then Adam Zagajewski’s recent collection, Unseen Hand. In it, the poet, then in his mid-sixties, turned toward themes of life and death, loss and preservation. My review was laudatory. After its publication, a friend passed it along to Zagajewski, who on his . . . . Continue Reading »

America’s Fat Knight

Harold Bloom, who died in October at age eighty-nine, was The Last Great American Literary Critic. The Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale, he wrote best sellers, appeared on talk shows, and collected honorary doctorates like lint. Bloom championed the Western Canon against its critics, . . . . Continue Reading »

An Icon of St. Margaret

This gold and paint on board, the fillet in her hair—I see resemblance, yes, a slantways glimpse of her Though she is gone away—it was not made from life,For no one is so blithe to pain, as if a laugh Were trembling on her lips, as if the fur like grassAlong the dragon’s jaw were just . . . . Continue Reading »

The Edifice

I chose a bench where I could read AugustineAs one may do beside construction sites.Late February, sunny, bitter, windy.I settled down to read,and sometimes I would look acrossto watch the crew at work—the heavy blockshoisted into their places by the cranes,while men took care to guide each to . . . . Continue Reading »


The Christmas angel in the window,a headless, legless mutilation,stands propped by a steel rod. She’s encased in tulle’s graceof white netting, goose feathers,and golden papier-mâché wings. Spray painted mannequin, hersilver skin will never knowthe feel of flesh. We can imagine how she fell . . . . Continue Reading »

Elizabeth to Her Cousin

After Jacob of Serug Blessed are you, O Maiden; blest     The fruit which dwells within your womb,Beloved in that holy rest     Whose secret comes to sacred bloom.And blessed is this virgin birth     Which shall uproot sin from the earth. Who grants this . . . . Continue Reading »


Let us go then, up the long stairs            and down the hall,Through rooms in which a storm of air            electrical Takes hold, and windows fill with light           that strips awayThe darkness, . . . . Continue Reading »

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