The Ostpolitik Failed. Get Over It.

In the 1960s, Popes John XXIII and Paul VI initiated a new Vatican approach to the countries behind the iron curtain, the Ostpolitik.The tactics included a cessation of all public Vatican criticism of communist regimes. No serious student of these matters judges the Ostpolitik a success. Those claiming otherwise are willfully ignorant, obtuse, unwilling to learn from the past—or, perhaps, all of the above. Continue Reading »

Hating Poetry

Ben Lerner’s elegant, amusing essay turns on a distinction between Poetry and poems. Poetry is Caedmon’s dream, a virtual ideal that actual poems can’t live up to. “The fatal problem with poetry,” Lerner writes, is “poems.” Every poet is, inevitably, “a tragic figure.” Continue Reading »