Wordsworth wrote an endless poem in blank verse on” the growth of a poet’s mind.” I shall attempt a more modest feat for a more distracted age: a blog, “Things which a Lifetime of Trying to Be a Poet has Taught Me.”
A requiem for the death of English Literature as a humane academic discipline: Horace, Sir Philip Sidney, and Matthew Arnold are the authors respectively of the first three italicized points of view, now considered quaint at best in current English departments. The attitudes of those departments are reflected in the standard print. My commentary on the whole fiasco appears in the last italicized bit, the concluding couplet.
HORACE, SIDNEY, AND ARNOLD,
LOOKING DOWN ON EARTH FROM ELYSIUM,
SCRATCH THEIR HEADS
The purpose, by delighting thus to teach
And then by teaching also to delight?
Nothing but a lame excuse to preach
Oppressive values—how naïve, how trite!
The good of History and Philosophy,
The concrete and the abstract, unified?
A quaint archaic curiosity
From European White Males who have died.
To see the thing for what it really is,
To know the best that have been thought and done?
Merely factual answers for a quiz;
No more a map for any race we run.
It’s how the academic game is played,
And Goodness, Truth, and Beauty are betrayed.
Remember: for more poetry like this, go to https://lanternhollow.wordpress.com/store/ and order Stars Through the Clouds! Also look for Inklings of Reality and Reflections from Plato’s Cave, Williams’ newest books from Lantern Hollow Press: Evangelical essays in pursuit of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. And look for Williams’ very latest books: Deeper Magic: The Theology behind the Writings of C. S. Lewis (Baltimore: Square Halo Books, 2016) and “An Encouraging Thought”: The Christian Worldview in the Writings of L. R. R. Tolkien (Cambridge, OH: Christian Publishing House, 2018)!
Donald T. Williams, PhD