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 »

St. John the Wonderworker

This September, the Roman Catholic Church will canonize Mother Teresa, the great nun and humanitarian, in a vivid reminder that saintliness continues in our contemporary world. Less well known in the West—and unknown to me before I converted to Eastern Orthodoxy—are the many Orthodox saints who demonstrate the same truth. Continue Reading »

Jews of Silence

When I think of the generation of survivors—not only of the horror they endured during the Holocaust and its recollection, not only of the nobility or heroism many of them achieved, but of the virtually impossible small and great steps they were compelled to make to rehabilitate their lives and ours—it is Wiesel’s voice that underlies and often amplifies theirs. Continue Reading »