Walt Whitman: “When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d” (podcast)

Please consider subscribing to the podcast here. Available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pocket Cast, Amazon Podcasts, Breaker, Overcast, Radio Public Other Podcasts of Walt Whitman’s Poetry: Listen to these episodes on Whitman’s life, and Peter Zweig’s biography, Walt Whitman: The Making of a Poet

Reading 3 new poems: The Harvest of 1665, The Historian, Mr Cassian’s 54th Dream

On 8/26/20, a virtual book launch was held in London to celebrate three new titles published by Dempsey & Windle. As part of the reading I read the following poems: “The Harvest of 1665,” on the harvest following the plague of London in that year “The Historian,” on the execution of Sir Walter Raleigh “Mr […]

“Caedmon Comes to Singing” – new poem at Londongrip

Many thanks to Michael Bartholomew-Biggs, for publishing my poem “Caedmon Comes to Singing” in the new issue of Londongrip. Many will remember that Caedmon, who lived in seventh-century Northumbria, is credited with being one of the earliest English poets; I suppose we can all learn from his half-mythic example, of living most of his life […]

The Popular Press in 1918 was Garbage Too

From Oswald Spengler’s Decline of the West, published just over a century ago. Our bad relationship with information and disinformation didn’t start with cable news or Twitter: … Man does not speak to man; the press and its associate, the electrical news-service, keep the waking-consciousness of whole peoples and continents under a deafening drum-fire of […]

Walking on Two Feet: The Evolution of Bipedalism

from Steven Mithen’s The Prehistory of the Mind: The evolution of bipedalism had begun by 3.5 million years ago. Evidence for this is found in the anatomy of A. afarensis, and, more dramatically, by the line of australopithecine footprints preserved at Laetoli in Tanzania. The most likely selective pressure causing the evolution of bipedalism was […]

Jews & Muslims on Pilgrimage Together in the 1300s

From Mark Cohen’s Under Crescent & Cross: The Jews in the Middle Ages: An aspect of Jewish-gentile sociability under Islam that seems to lack a counterpart in the Jewish-Christian world is the world of shared popular religious practices… particularly in the joint worship of saints. Here, interdenominational religiosity has its basis in the fact that […]

Primo Levi’s Hardest Thoughts on the Holocaust

From Primo Levi’s 1986 book, The Drowned and the Saved, remembering the concentration camps: On Levi’s own—and others’—guilt at having survived the concentration camps: At a distance of years one can today definitely affirm that the history of the Lagers [from Konzentrationslager, concentration camp] has been written almost exclusively by those who, like myself, never […]

How Picking Fleas Led to the Evolution of Language

From Steven Mithen’s Prehistory of the Mind: The anthropologist Robin Dunbar looked at the size of the brain of H. habilis [2.1 – 1.5 million years ago] from a very different perspective. Recall that we have already referred to his work regarding the relationship between brain size and group size—living within a larger group requires more […]

We Were All Animals Once: The Beginning of Anthropomorphic Thinking

from Steven Mithen’s The Prehistory of the Mind:   This propensity to think of the natural world in social terms is perhaps most evident in the ubiquitous use of anthropomorphic thinking—attributing animals with humanlike minds. Consider the Inuit and the polar bear. This animal is highly sought after and is “killed with passion, butchered with care […]

Eleanor Roosevelt Finds Herself

From Geoffrey Ward’s biography of the Roosevelts comes this moving account of Eleanor Roosevelt’s Dickensian childhood, complete with neglectful mother and alcoholic father. Following the early death of both parents, the intervention of an aunt changes her life:    …[Eleanor’s father] Elliott was delighted at her birth, and called her “Little Nell” after the relentlessly […]

Bone Antler Stone: Poems

“Bone Antler Stone” reviewed in the Big Windows Review

Many thanks to Tom Zimmerman at The Big Windows Review for his review of Bone Antler Stone. I’ve pasted an excerpt below, and you can read the entire review here. Excerpts and reviews from the book are here. “… [Bone Antler Stone] is an act of powerful sympathetic imagination that forges a connection between lost cultures […]