Category Archives: Poetry

On Putting Powerful Tools in Unskilled Hands: Two Egregious Tendencies in Contemporary Poetry

NB: Several of the examples I use in this essay come from various essays by Randall Jarrell that I read years ago in my own wayward youth. If this were a scholarly piece, I would track those down and footnote … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Teaching Literature and Writing | 10 Comments

On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity [1] | Bob Shepherd

“Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” –John 10:34 John,2 for all your skill, O master maker–singer, rhetor, builder, baker–you could not know, though multiply blest,that, choosing this name, you simply guessed,well, from … Continue reading

Posted in Philosophy, Poetry, Religion | 1 Comment

Two Late-night Thoughts about Poetry

Two thoughts, tonight, about poetry First, a theory of poetry and how it means: Perhaps the most important lesson that I received, in college, about reading poetry occurred on a day when, in a class on nineteenth-century American poets, I … Continue reading

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Thank You Sonnet | Bob Shepherd

after Edna St. Vincent Millay Yes, it’s true, as you said, that after good sexthe world is heightened, clearer, a cineplex—as if a summer shower’s intercession washed clean the muddied, muddled doors of perception,but lest there be any misconstruction of … Continue reading

Posted in Love, Poetry, Sex and Gender | 1 Comment

Geometry: a Love Story | Bob Shepherd

“Imagination can . . . arrange for parallel lines to meet in secret.” –Shelley Jackson, on Italo Calvino Once upon a time, there were two parallel lines, and they couldn’t stop looking at one another. My lord. Such beauty, each … Continue reading

Posted in Poetry, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Fact Check | Bob Shepherd

The fact that you even have to saythat Black Lives Matterand the fact that you do–you do have to say it. The fact that Putin and Trump The fact that if you tell peopleit’s about their freedom,it’s about their jobs,it’s … Continue reading

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On Learning that Hopkins Meant to Destroy His Own Poetry

for Diane Ravitch The great historian of education (and generally great all-round person) Diane Ravitch has written that her favorite poem is one by Gerard Manly Hopkins. So, I wrote this for her, about Hopkins, in Hopkins’s own style. The … Continue reading

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Unholy Ghosts (Tis the Season)

This is a piece I wrote back early in December of 2018. Reprising it now because I never posted it here, and it’s important to remember, in this election season, the devastating toll that Trump’s maladministration has taken on our … Continue reading

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Criticism and the Common [sic] Core [sic]

The Common [sic] Core [sic] State [sic] Standards [sic] in ELA certainly are “common,” but in the pejorative sense of the word. They are received, vulgar, uninformed, base, mediocre, pedestrian. One would expect that people putting together a single set … Continue reading

Posted in Ed Reform, Poetry, Short Stories, Teaching Literature and Writing | Leave a comment

“O Donnie Boy,” aka “Moscow’s Asset Governing America” (MAGA),” aka Vlad’s Agent Orange

 (to the tune of “Danny Boy) O Donnie Boy, your handler Putin’s calling, extending thanks for the Ukraine delay. He wants to say, impeachment’s surely galling, but still the tape won’t see the light of day. But come ye back … Continue reading

Posted in Humor, Poetry, Trump (Don the Con) | Leave a comment