The poet W as comedian

Wallace Stevens is a poet of comedy, and comedy relieves the distress of tragic history. Comedy reconciles the restless, Romantic imagination with the present and the real. When the world falls apart, one must cultivate one's garden, but also tell some comic stories over dinner. It is comedy, not alone but inseparable, that moves the infinite conversation on.

A revelation from Rumi

This morning I read some poems from Hafez (c 1315-1390) that celebrated love and wine and striving of a mysticism. Notwithstanding the art, the sentiments left me cold, and so I recovered from an earlier post this different sentiment of Rumi that speaks more to my sense of the spirit of the times: "Sometimes the... Continue Reading →

On living not by lies

2020 has taught us through bitter experience that our societies are not vaccinated against totalitarianism, and certainly not the mutant strain of "soft totalitarianism" described in Rod Dreher's Live Not by Lies: a Manual for Christian Dissidents (2020). The last year has seen lockdowns, curfews and bans on the most fundamental human relationships (attendance at... Continue Reading →

The condescension of posterity

Frank Furedi has proposed an intriguing idea that the spectre haunting radical identity politics, the Rainbow Guards of our raging Cultural Revolution, is a difficulty with borders. The boundaries between nations, genders, the public/private, and key characteritics of populations are being torn down, and being replaced by a convenient chaos of fluidity and the new... Continue Reading →

A revelation from Rumi

Sitting in a shopping centre cafe, I am reading A Year with Rumi. I am waiting for a back massage, sipping a coffee and listening to Sam Harris and Johann Hari speaking about addiction, depression and the loss of connection and control in our society. I woke this morning with the thought that I wanted... Continue Reading →

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