Refuse to Cower!

As National Poetry Month 2024 comes to its end, we acknowledge poetry’s ongoing influence in our lives. Though I will continue to post poems, I will refrain from daily posts for now … maybe until next April? No, I’m pretty sure I’ll post again before next year.

I began the month with a lighthearted April Fools Day poem. And it’s worth mentioning on this day fifty-eight years ago, The Church of Satan was founded. Though I hesitate to draw attention to this founding, I recognize the pervasive lure toward New Age spirituality and away from traditional Christianity. Continue reading “Refuse to Cower!”

TMI – Too Much Information?

In addition to observing this 23rd day of National Poetry Month 2024, I’d also like to recognize the day as the 68th anniversary of the civil wedding ceremony for C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman Gresham. Two writers, now both deceased, entered into a marriage of convenience on this day in 1956.

Readers of wiseblooding are probably aware of my admiration for C. S. Lewis. I’ve posted about him numerous times. As a literary scholar, a teacher and a writer, Lewis built a reputation and following which continues to grow long after his death.

This is my first post to mention Joy. For her poetry in Letter to a Comrade, Davidman won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition. She was considered a good poet by some, but her subsequent writings mostly failed to find an audience. She continued to write and married a fellow-writer, William Gresham. They had two sons and a chaotic marriage.

Continue reading “TMI – Too Much Information?”

Viewpoint Transcendence

Today, we celebrate April’s 19th day in observance of National Poetry Month 2024. It’s always interesting (to me) to know what other individuals and organizations are doing to mark the month. Here’s one innovative tack:  NPR (National Public Radio) has a hotline anyone can call to hear a poem recited daily. (Long distance charges may apply, of course.)

Somehow I missed this info, but today I learned the month’s theme is weather. I was unable to locate any mention of this theme on the informational page for National Poetry Month. Maybe I’m being spoofed by the AI monster? There’s a warning which says I need to “verify critical facts.”

Alas, I completely overlooked the Poem in Your Pocket Day celebration which occurred yesterday! One of the suggested ways to participate in this exercise is to Read a poem out loud from your porch, window, backyard or outdoor space. Yes, I suppose I could hold a belated celebration? The cows in the pasture across the lane could be my captive audience. Continue reading “Viewpoint Transcendence”

An Invitation to Storytime!

Following my discussion related to digital vs. material books in a previous post, several readers responded with comments saying they also prefer the joy of holding, touching, fingering actual books of the paper-and-ink variety. In this post, I thought I’d mention a different (hardly new) dynamic:  reading aloud.

Image by Victoria from Pixabay

It’s an ancient practice, reading aloud. (Is it permissible to describe it as an art?) One person pulls out a scroll/manuscript/letter/book and others gather around, captivated by the material being read. Or let’s go even further back when tales were memorized and recited. (This train of thought brings to mind a post from 2011 in which I wrote about one of my possible forebears, the 13th century German poet der Stricker.) Continue reading “An Invitation to Storytime!”

Golden Books

In my last post, I mentioned there are certain digital books I’ve read over the last year which I will eventually purchase in actual hard copy format. One might naturally ask the question, Why? Since I’ve read these particular volumes digitally, what’s the point in acquiring them as hard copies? The easy answer is because I’ve found hidden treasure during my initial readings … and I anticipate more richness with each subsequent reading.

Image by Petra from Pixabay

Like most people, I may read a novel once and quickly dismiss the story line. Even with non-fiction, the content is (all too often) forgettable. But some books, I think of them as golden. Certain books, and occasionally even a few specific authors, have found a unique place, burrowing into my heart, and thus have earned an esteemed position on my bookshelf next to other Greats. (Note well, I said Greats, not necessarily Bestsellers, many of which would never qualify as great – except on the publisher’s ledger.) Continue reading “Golden Books”

Reading, Between the Lines

Reading is a particular kind of nourishment for me. Whether it’s research (information and study), relaxation (fiction and literary works) or relational (communing with my God), I read hungrily, interactively, establishing an intellectual (and often heartfelt) connection with the specific work and its author.

Image by Fio from Pixabay

However, I’m a reluctant latecomer when it comes to enjoying books presented in digital format. In fact, one of the most difficult transitions for me has been the gradual acceptance and subsequent adoption of digital books over actual paper-and-ink volumes. Since buying my first Apple iPad (maybe ten years ago?) and an Amazon Kindle (a short while after), I used the hand-held devices almost daily for email, browsing the internet, etc. … but rarely ever as a reading device! Both devices seemed cold and detached, objects which might be considered helpful but still completely devoid of personal connection. Continue reading “Reading, Between the Lines”

Is Enough “Ever” Enough?

Except for the red hair and flashlight, the image below reminds me of a long-ago youngster. I vividly recall lying in bed hidden beneath sheet and blankets, eyes focused on a book which I was determined to read even though the lights in the room were switched off and I’d been duly tucked into bed. Undaunted by the dark room, I depended on an outdoor street lamp which cast its muted light through my second story bedroom window. Many a night I fell to sleep, captivated by tales of heroic deeds and imagined adventures.

Image by Amberrose Nelson from Pixabay

My motto at that time might have been So many books, so little time! Books were my favored pathway and the universe seemed unlimited. After mentioning book recommendations in my previous post, I was reminded of several volumes I (1) have recently started, (2) am currently reading through or (3) have just completed. Contemplating the image above, I understand vicariously the delight and joy reflected in this child’s face.

Continue reading “Is Enough “Ever” Enough?”

To Be Something – More

Book recommendations are one of my major weaknesses. Especially when someone I admire suggests a particular book, I have little-to-no resistance. Given the number of books on my bookshelves (many still unread), it seems I’m dealing with an obsession a costly one!

If I were blessed with unlimited resources, I envision “my” library looking something like the image above from Prague … maybe I’d add a comfy chair or two since the straight-backed chairs on the right don’t look terribly cozy! Give me a cushy chair and footstool (plus a cup of coffee or cinnamon tea) and except for refills, I might not venture out for days (or weeks). Continue reading “To Be Something – More”

Warren Who?

“Warren Piece.” I distinctly recall my mother uttering those two words as she ushered me out the door with my brothers on our summer afternoon trek to the library. Our visits to the public library were a regular occurrence in those days, and on occasion, we walked the mile+ distance sans adult supervision.

We had specific, unalterable instructions:  stay together, follow the usual route, be home before dinner, and never, ever, ever talk to strangers! We had a tight camaraderie, the three of us. Brother Eric (two years older than me) and brother Kevin (younger than me by eighteen months) might run ahead or dawdle behind from time to time, but being voracious readers, our expectation of new adventures hidden in books on the library’s seemingly endless bookshelves kept the three of us on course to our destination. Continue reading “Warren Who?”

The Devil Made Me Do It!

Black History Month for 2021 ends today. I had been thinking about a comedian, Flip Wilson, who was the first African-American to host a successful ’70s-era variety show on television. Though he died in 1998, one of Wilson’s standard routines was built around the statement:  the devil made me do it! The 5-minute 1970 video from the Ed Sullivan Show provides a taste of Wilson’s humor.

Since I am ignorant of most pop culture, I was unaware there’s also a rapper album titled The Devil Made Me Do It, plus other references (none I’m familiar with). My only point of reference is Flip Wilson’s skit from the 70s. But a recent Facebook post reminded me of Wilson’s skit. (If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the same post.)

Conversation between 2 devils

To the left is a screen capture (not the full FB post) but enough for it to be recognizable. The post emphasizes the similarities between our current age of fear (centered around Covid etc.) and the author’s suggestions on how to foment fear from “nearly 79 years ago.”

The original post credits C. S. Lewis (from his book The Screwtape Letters) as author. While this conversation between two devils does reflect a similar theme, there’s one problem. The words aren’t from The Screwtape Letters. Continue reading “The Devil Made Me Do It!”