Black Locust Road

When Nature needs to speak, she will // Reach into her washbag of wet roots // Pull back handfuls of filberts, gambol // The dice down a road // Lined with Black Locust trees

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Unheimlich

What she regrets most about her life // Is that the brash piece of siding that always swings // Apart from the rest of the house // Gives it all away // About what is inside

The Fixed Period: A Time Without Violins, or Imagination

Brace yourself.  Try to imagine a world in which the violin has become "nearly obsolete." I know, right?!  You've nearly fallen to your knees, begging for mercy, asking yourself why. Why, great creator, did humanity ever get to this point? I am a big fan of the violin. Yet, when Trollope kicks off his futuristic dystopia novella The Fixed Period with this absolutely chilling vision, it signals that although Trollope is one of the most skilled Victorian Realist writers, the man had next to no imagination. 

Masculinity in Jordan’s The Eye of the World

From the first chapter of Robert Jordan's *The Eye of the World,* the motive of the quest is clear: to save masculinity and, hence, all life. When masculinity is tainted and corrupted, all life suffers, and it must be redeemed if life will continue in the Light. Jordan does a great job highlighting a point that we continue to struggle with into the 21st century: this belief that masculinity must be unadulturated, straightforward, clean and clear...or else.

Living in Henry James’s Other House

An affluent womanizer, Tony Bream.  The nicest, sweetest girl, Jean Martle.  A desperate lover abroad too long in China, Dennis Vidal.  The odd Rose Arminger. They all seem like characters from the famed game Clue.  In The Other House, Henry James writes an awkward murder mystery vis a vis a  novel of manners that begins with some piquant flavor of the supernatural

The Missing Touch: Rizal’s Immaterial Hero

When I picked up a novel with a stunning title like Noli Me Tangere (Touch me Not), I expected to encounter a work dredged in corporeal, visceral experience and language.  I wanted a novel centered on the function of touch: human interaction, physicality, phenomenology, flesh.  I didn't get this in Jose Rizal's incredible text, but I didn't really feel disappointed in not getting what I wanted -- because in some ways I received a more meaningful gift.