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March 16, 2020

Anyone who has ever attended a commencement ceremony in the United States has certainly heard Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” often recited poorly. The poem’s overuse is a shame, for it is a well-crafted work, and emblematic of Frost: conversational in tone, restrained i...

January 28, 2020

Percy Bysshe Shelley’s “Ozymandias” is one of his shortest works, but also one of his best known, anthologized to the point of ubiquity. But it deserves every bit of the reputation it has gained. Short, yet powerful and descriptive, it illustrates the sonnet at its bes...

October 30, 2019

Modernism produces obscure poetry because it denies the existence of absolute truth. Without a fundamental truth to reveal, poetry is relegated to presenting a series of images for the reader to supply the meaning of the text. Hart Crane and the pioneers of modernist p...

October 14, 2019

When torrid Summer’s greenery,

Its vibrant hues and spiced perfume

Lie far, fast-fading memory,

                           Your flowers bloom.


August 5, 2019

Through the peace of balmy spring,

  Bird-songs’ trills and breeze-tossed leaves,

An alien sound, a distant ring

  Dares to break the mirth to grieve:

    A distant, solitary bell

    Tolling out a funeral knell.

Softly, softly first it sounds,

  Tolling g...

May 17, 2019

Turquoise waves on shell-white sand

Rush forth – crashing, crashing, crashing –

Dying gladly as they land,

Surging, breaking, foaming, splashing.

Lines advancing, rank on rank –

Never ceasing, or  deceasing –

On the anchored rock’s long flank,

Neither tiring nor decreasing.


April 13, 2019

In his essay “A Defence of Poetry,” Shelley described a poem as “the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth.” His sweeping poem “Mont Blanc” is perhaps one of the best examples of Shelley putting his poetic ideal into practice. Its sweeping, grandiose imager...

March 17, 2019

In my last essay, I discussed the difference between classical and modernist poetry as a difference of worldviews. Classicism views the art as a vehicle to reveal universal truths, while modernism denies such truths and instead views the primary purpose of poetry as in...

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