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More in Heaven and Earth

 Robert Frost: The Poet as Philosopher   by peter j. stanlis isi, 350 pages, $28 Poor Robert Frost. Nearly half a century after his death, he is still suffering at the hands of both friends and enemies. Frost brought much of this problem on himself when he selected a troubled young . . . . Continue Reading »

Horace’s Satires I:VI

When I am in the mood, I go explore entirely alone and ascertain the prices set for vegetables and grain. As evening falls, I often wander through the sketchy Circus and the Forum too. I stand beside astrologers, then troop back home to have some leek and chickpea . . . . Continue Reading »

Auto da Fe

1 The walls hear The windows see Inside I burn No one comes To rescue me It is my turn 2 Like a gutted house I am burned out By love — Samuel MenasheImage by Pixabay. Image cropped. . . . . Continue Reading »

Three Holidays in One Afternoon

A bloody handprint on a windowpane Beneath which, blood-scrawled letters spell Beware. Across the street, a pumpkin with straw hair Gathers his seedy thoughts like Harvest grain. Then, like an evening shadow, Halloween Spreads darkness down the block, and black despair. The bloody handprint on the . . . . Continue Reading »

Our Dip in the Rift Valley

We never heard what my mate heard descending to the Dead Sea by bus: a jet fighter far below him streaking north gomorrah and SDOM! Our trip was nearly in peacetime. I remember my surprise at my first view of our goal, not a white brine pan, it twinkled cheerfully blue like any sunny lake. It . . . . Continue Reading »

Auden and the Limits of Poetry

By the mid-1930s, W. H. Auden was the most famous and most widely imitated young poet in England. His verse was brilliant, ironic, often funny, wide-ranging in its reference—equally at home in the worlds of Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry and the technology of mining—and sometimes . . . . Continue Reading »

Donne Undone

However much traditional standards are leveled in our late democratic society, American theater will persist in challenging putatively oppressive values and the figures who enforce them.  So I concluded after seeing Wit, the play by Margaret Edson that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1999 and is . . . . Continue Reading »

Briefly Noted 20

The First and the Lastby isaiah berlinnew york review books, 141 pages, $19.95 In 1996, two years before he died at the age of eighty-nine, Isaiah Berlin received a request from a professor of philosophy at Wuhan University in China, asking him to offer a précis of his core ideas for a Chinese . . . . Continue Reading »


The Sum of the Insignificant Another molecule, this one deliberate and in the act of forming water. Why does it bother? I consult the wind but learn little. Usually I can count on its salient asides—1989 would be just one example. I was apprenticed to nature then, or so I thought. I wrote of . . . . Continue Reading »

I Am No Lazy Lover

I am no lazy lover with sweeping grandeurs of small talk. Words, you discover are passing; love endures. Proffered is no measured length of the potential soul. Rather, influence of strength, corner-stone, cemented whole. The senses know the form and smile and eyes of love, but the lover’s norm is . . . . Continue Reading »

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