Questions! Questions! What makes a good person? What is beauty? What is a nun? What to say at a commencement when nobody’s there? Plus poems.
Read John Paul II’s tender poem for his deceased mother
First, Rev. Michael Rennier, DT Associate Editor, and then Katy Carl, Editor-in-Chief, suggested this link—which uncovered a previously hidden slight competitive streak.
MR: Too late lol. I GET ALL THE CREDIT IF WE USE THIS LINK
KC: Oops, saw this in my feed and didn’t realize it was already in the group! 😅
The Nuns Who Wrote Poems
Another recommendation from Katy Carl. “In the mid-20th century, several women religious were writing and publishing ambitious poetry. . . . Although literary nuns tend to be overshadowed by poetic priests like Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., and Robert Southwell, S.J., these women deserve attention.”
I, for one, never heard of these well-received religious women before.
BTW, this excellent article by Nick Ripatrazone at America Magazine rightly notes that the term nun is inaccurately applied to all but one of these poets. The rest were sisters. “Nuns are typically cloistered; sisters profess simple vows and live apostolic lives out in the world.”
What is Beauty? A Six Week Intensive with Katerina Kern
KC: Of interest to our readers.
This course is offered by CIRCE (Center for Independent Research on Classical Education) on Thursdays, May 21 – June 25 4-5:30pm ET. The recording of the first class will be emailed to those who enroll before registration closes Thursday, May 28 at 1pm EST.
From Josh Nadeau, DT Associate Editor.
JN: On philosopher Martha Nussbaum, Greek tragedy and the ways suffering/vulnerability can humanize us if we’re open to it.
KC: She raises a lot of really interesting issues here; I think I see what she is saying but am not sure to what extent her concept of tragedy aligns with the classical view, in which tragedy is the result of hubris, or the attempt to “wrest from the world what you want” against the limitations of reality itself. She seems to be talking more about another and more contemporary species of tragedy, in which sorrow and painful events result when two legitimate goods come into conflict.
JN: Yeah, I think she’s less going for “this is how the Greek writers saw and structured tragedy” than “this is one really important thing that ancient tragedy can teach us about being alive.” Definitely more of a philosopher angle than that of a literary historian.
RTS: Because it starts by raving about and then quotes rampant atheist Bill Moyers, this article by Maria Popova at Brain Pickings set my teeth on edge from the beginning. Besides, Martha Nussbaum may be as the author claim “remarkable and luminous,” but—from a purely Catholic perspective—merely to allow yourself to be vulnerable does not make you good, methinks. (From your friendly neighborhood dissenter).
CLASS OF 2020: A Commencement Address Too Honest to Deliver in Person
“I couldn’t say these things during a traditional ceremony, but these aren’t traditional times,” wrote David Brooks at The Atlantic.
Recommended by Katy Carl with this pull quote. “I’m worried about the future of your maximum taste. People in my and earlier generations, at least those lucky enough to get a college education, got some exposure to the classics, which lit a fire that gets rekindled every time we sit down to read something really excellent. I worry that it’s possible to grow up now not even aware that those upper registers of human feeling and thought exist.”
James Matthew Wilson has been named the Poet in Residence for the Benedict XVI Institute. The institute has recently re-published Wilson’s poem cycle The River of the Immaculate Conception at their online magazine Catholic Arts Today after the work’s initial publication in a chapbook by Wiseblood Books. Scroll down for links to the individual poems.
- Let Us Tune Our Instruments
- The Hymn of San Diego
- Presentation of the Gifts
- Agnus Dei of Jacques Marquette
- Gloria Dicta Sunt Te
- The Song of Elizabeth Seton
- Hasten to Aid Thy Fallen People
It was one of the great honors of my life to be commissioned to write a poem for Frank LaRocca’s Mass of the Americas. ‘The River of the Immaculate Conception,’ the seven-part sequence that resulted, and which takes us from the early days of the Spanish conquest through this very hour of the Church’s life, continues to strike me as the best thing I’ll ever do, in no small part because it was not me doing it. It came as a gift, an inspiration to be sure, but also as a gift from the Church that I return wholly to the Church.”—James Matthew Wilson
Quarantine Notebook Updates
The “Quarantine Notebook” poetry cycle by Wilson is being published serially here at Dappled Things blog. For convenience, here are links to all the posts so far in one place, including new links to the two latest poems in the series: Parts 13 and 14: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, and Part 14.
Too many suggested links to post them all this week. More to come next Friday.