East Lansing, MI. A few months ago, I noted in a short essay that former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts Dana Gioia was to receive the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal.  This honor has come to be regarded as the highest annually bestowed upon an American Catholic.  His address upon receiving the reward, while quite evidently intended to be a modest note of thanks, strikes me as one worth sharing: worth sharing as a solemn lyric of reverence for the sacred institutions of family and Church particularly appropriate to Front Porch Republic, and as a touchstone for this Fourth of July, as many of us contemplate the nature of our allegiance and patriotic love.

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James Matthew Wilson is Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Augustinian Traditions at Villanova University. An award-winning scholar of philosophical-theology and literature, he has authored dozens of essays, articles, and reviews on subjects ranging from art, ethics, and politics, to meter and poetic form, from the importance of local culture to the nature of truth, goodness, and beauty. Wilson is also a poet and critic of contemporary poetry, whose work appears regularly in such magazines and journals as First Things, Modern Age, The New Criterion, Dappled Things, Measure, The Weekly Standard, Front Porch Republic, The Raintown Review, and The American Conservative. He has published five books, including most recently, a collection of poems, Some Permanent Things and a monograph, The Catholic Imagination in Modern American Poetry (both Wiseblood Books, 2014). Raised in the Great Lakes State, baptised in the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas, seasoned by summers on Lake Wawasee (Indiana), and educated under the Golden Dome, Wilson is scion of a family of Hoosiers dating back to the early nineteenth century, and an offspring of Southside Chicago Poles whose tavern kept the city wet through the Depression (and prohibition) years.  He now lives under the same sentence of reluctant exile as many another native son of the Midwest, but has dug himself in for good on the margins of the Main Line in Pennsylvania with his beautiful wife, dangerous daughter, and saintly sons. For information on Wilson's scholarship and a selection of his published work, click here. See books written and recommended by James Matthew Wilson.

1 COMMENT

  1. I’ve heard enough commencement addresses in my time, and the good ones are few and far between. Thanks for this.

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