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Benjamin Myers reviews Spoon River America: Edgar Lee Masters and the Myth of the American Small Town by Jason Stacy. Stacey explores the changing and contested myth of the midwestern small town, particularly in relation to Masters’s famous Spoon River Anthology. In Spoon River and its echoes throughout literary and popular culture, innocence struggles with cynicism, tradition with modernity, and a persistent populism with a perpetual elite.
Daniel Ritchie explores how the #MeToo movement affects our reading of Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock. In turn, this comedy with a sad ending offers us a sense of balance for today's sexual politics.
Rural Rebellion by Ross Benes, examines the changing politics of rural Nebraska from the perspective of a native son living in Brooklyn. Nebraska is a cycle of poems by Kwame Dawes, a Ghanaian-born poet teaching at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Both address the identity crisis of our time and call us to remember the real names of things.
Enjoying the Bible is a book about beholding the deep riches of beauty in Scripture and allowing its literary elements to shape our humanity. A literary approach to Scripture teaches our students how to love rather than merely what to think.
In “American Divine,” it would seem that the pursuit is not so much a pursuit of divinity but rather the experience of it—the awe, which in this instance is private and individualistic, potentially addictive, and more an expression of personal epiphanies than a community-shared theology.
I’m not canceling Whitman. But my own enthusiasm for his poetry is waning. The poet whose daring versification and daring lifestyle were once seen as the epitome of counter-culture has come to seem to me all too mainstream, the very voice of an age of superficial egotism.
Ordinary and unrefined, Kooser's poems suggest the steady hand of a craftsman who doesn’t need to go looking for the next big thing.
Jane Kenyon was foremost a poet of place. Not of the State of New Hampshire, though she was its Poet Laureate, but of the much smaller and less abstract corner of it in and around Eagle Pond.