Recent Poetry

To the House of the Sun: Reviews and excerpts here. Autographed copies available here. Poethead: Song to Nehalennia (Netherlands, AD 200) Looking for Nerthus (AD 100) Song to Sequana (Burgundy, 100 BC) Song to Sulis (Bath, 100 BC) The Basil O’Flaherty: Unfinished Michelangelo Kafka’s Sisters (1945) The Painted Caves: Chauvet, Lascaux,Altamira (30,000-15,000 BC) A Disciple…

On Friendship

I’ve been trying for ages to write about a friend from many years and cities and jobs ago, and the questions that have always trailed out from his story are, What do we owe our friends and family? What do we owe to the people we love? What kind of difference can we make in…

Just Because it Works Doesn’t Mean It’s True

It’s always refreshing to hear a religious person, who is trying to convince you of the truth of their faith, suddenly realize the actually wonderful mystery of faith: they can’t actually prove it. And so instead they end up saying something like, “I can’t prove it, but it clearly works.” This is what they say…

Four Goddesses from Old Europe (New Poems)

Many thanks again to Chris Murray for featuring four new poems of mine over at Poethead: Song to Nehalennia (Netherlands, AD 200) Looking for Nerthus (AD 100) Song to Sequana (Burgundy, 100 BC) Song to Sulis (Bath, 100 BC)  

Consider the Lilies That We Aren’t

Over the past few years it’s been easy enough for me to notice how eager and energetic infants and toddlers are to know just about everything. What they don’t seek out themselves by clumsy curiosity, they are given and eventually take up in their own way, with guidance. At the same time, it’s been all…

How Best to Teach?

While I’m the only member of my family who isn’t a teacher, what it means to teach others has always been on my mind. And so, comments from recent posts make me ask questions like these: If we believe that something like rock music is clearly lesser than classical music; or that the likes of…

Crying Wolf?

Picking up some pizza at a favorite place the other week, it was hard not to notice that right by the counter a new TV had been installed. Hanging just where anyone entering or leaving the restaurant would see it, the screen toggled between stock photos of Italy and Italian food, and ads for local…

Is Shakespeare Just “Okay”?

Heresy of heresies perhaps, but is Shakespeare just “okay”? I love the idea of Shakespeare, and how enthusiastic actors get about him (Al Pacino and Kevin Spacey have both made wonderful documentaries about their affection for Richard III). I love reading about Shakespeare and imagining the life we know so little about, like those sixteen…

Alone (Fiction)

A few people have asked for the full story excerpted in this post. Not sure if this is anyone else’s experience of high school anxiety, but here’s one attempt to replicate it: Alone Freshman year, this kid I played baseball with in the summers, he bets me who’ll win a football game on Sunday, says…

Do We Just Like What We Like?

The other day I happened across one of those huge So and So’s Guide to Classical Music, and for the hell of it I paged around to the only modern composers I really know (Philip Glass, Henryk Gorecki, Arvo Pärt, and John Tavener), and they were all pretty much panned as fads. Ages ago when…

Michelangelo, Lascaux, Kafka & Pythagoras (4 new poems)

Many thanks to the editors of The Basil O’Flaherty, who just published four new poems of mine: Unfinished Michelangelo Kafka’s Sisters (1945) The Painted Caves: Chauvet, Lascaux, Altamira A Disciple of Pythagoras Wins a Chariot Race (496 BC) Special thanks too to Daniel Paul Marshall, who offered his enthusiasm and suggestions for early drafts of…

Everything Means Everything

Last year a good friend of mine, a great artist of immense intelligence and humanity, nevertheless wrote to me about the birth of his child: “I’d been in search of meaning my whole life, and there it was.” Surely this was the usual thing we hear after a child is born, but for him it…