Coronavirus. The upheaval of protests and riots. The spectacles of watching people attack statues of not only Confederate generals but also Abraham Lincoln, abolitionists, and the 54th Massachusetts. At Breaking Ground, poet James Matthew Wilson considers these things and suggests that understanding is only going to come through contemplation, and poetry is the fine art of contemplation. Read “Verse Lines When the Streets Are on Fire.”
Poet and writer Angela Alaimo O’Donnell published a book about Flannery O’Connor, entitled Radical Ambivalence: Race in Flannery O’Connor. Paul Elie reviewed it for The New Yorker, and it wasn’t the most balanced or thoughtful of reviews (consider the review’s title: “How Racist Was Flannery O’Connor?”). A number of writers took issue with Elie’s review, including Jessica Hooten Wilson, who describes “How Flannery O’Connor Fought Racism” for First Things Magazine. I don’t write for The New Yorker, but even I understand what Flannery O’Connor was doing in her stories.
Samuel James took a respite from blogging, and now he’s back. I’ve always found his writing to be thoughtful, considerate, and deep. He takes a look at a book he read two years ago, The Coddling of the American Mind by Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff, and considers the topic that is more controversial than both religion and politics.
My favorite story of Washington Post craziness was the January 2017 report of Russians hacking the electric grid, a story that the Post kept dialing backward after repeated criticism (including from some journalists) until it bore no resemblance to the original (you can do things like this online, a contemporary version of the old Soviet encyclopedia). Josh Barro and Olivia Nuzzi at New York Magazine have found another one, and ask “Why Did the Washington Post Get This Woman Fired?.”
More Good Reads
The Wife’s Lament: A Medieval Poem about Isolation – Eleanor Parker at Torch Oxford.
The Enigma Machine – Amit Majmudar at Literary Matters.
Patrick’s Rune – D.S. Martin at Kingdom Poets.
Telling the Bees About Love – Bruce Meyer at The Chained Muse.
A pair of sonnets for St. John the Baptist – Malcolm Guite.
Fatherhood: Much More than Financial Provision – Gisle Sorli at the Institute for Faith, Work, & Economics.
Marxism, Postmodernism, and Critical Race Theory – Brant Bosserman at Gentle Reformation.
My Favourite Graveyard – Seth Lewis.
Writing and Literature
Please! Hold Off on That Novel Coronavirus Novel! – Bill Morris at The Millions.
Ralph Ellison's Juneteenth Sermon – Adam Horn at Church Life Journal.
Looking for Middle-Earth? Go to the Middle of England - John Garth at Literary Hub.
Walker Percy’s “The Second Coming” – James Como at The Imaginative Conservative.
Life and Culture
Of dishonored memory – James Bowman at New Criterion.
Is There a Right Side of History? – Alex Kocman.
The Blind Boys of Alabama: Amazing Grace
Painting: Young Man Reading, oil on panel (ca. 1650) by Jacob van Loo (1614-1670).