About Me

My photo
As the poet in residence at EcoHealth Alliance, my verse finds inspiration these days in topics of ecology and public health. I am reappraising the sonnets of E. A. Robinson for my dissertation at LMU Munich's Amerika-Institut, where I tutor composition and edit a flyer, Poetry Tuesday. I also teach at MHVS and Amerikahaus.


This Dust Was Once the Man

by Walt Whitman

This dust was once the Man,
Gentle, plain, just and resolute, under whose cautious hand,
Against the foulest crime in history known in any land or age,
Was saved the Union of These States.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.



by William Shakespeare

   That time of yeeare thou maiſt in me behold, 
When yellow leaues,or none,or fewe doe hange 
Vpon thoſe boughes which ſhake againſt the could, 
Bare rn'wd quiers,where late the ſweet birds ſang. 
In me thou ſeeſt the twi-light of ſuch day, 
As after Sun-ſet fadeth in the Weſt, 
Which by and by blacke night doth take away, 
Deaths ſecond ſelfe that ſeals vp all in reſt. 
In me thou ſeeſt the glowing of ſuch fire, 
That on the aſhes of his youth doth lye, 
As the death bed,whereon it muſt expire, 
Conſum'd with that which it was nurriſht by. 
   This thou perceu'ſt,which makes thy loue more ſtrong, 
   To loue that well,which thou muſt leaue ere long.



by John Keats

How many bards gild the lapses of time!
  A few of them have ever been the food
  Of my delighted fancy,—I could brood
Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime:
And often, when I sit me down to rhyme,        
  These will in throngs before my mind intrude:
  But no confusion, no disturbance rude
Do they occasion; ’tis a pleasing chime.
So the unnumber’d sounds that evening store;
  The songs of birds—the whisp’ring of the leaves—        
The voice of waters—the great bell that heaves
  With solemn sound,—and thousand others more,
That distance of recognizance bereaves,
  Make pleasing music, and not wild uproar.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.


The Cross of Snow

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

In the long, sleepless watches of the night, 
   A gentle face—the face of one long dead— 
   Looks at me from the wall, where round its head 
   The night-lamp casts a halo of pale light. 
Here in this room she died; and soul more white 
   Never through martyrdom of fire was led 
   To its repose; nor can in books be read 
   The legend of a life more benedight. 
There is a mountain in the distant West 
   That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines 
   Displays a cross of snow upon its side. 
Such is the cross I wear upon my breast 
   These eighteen years, through all the changing scenes 
   And seasons, changeless since the day she died. 


On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

by John Keats

My spirit is too weak—mortality 
   Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep, 
   And each imagined pinnacle and steep 
Of godlike hardship tells me I must die 
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky. 
   Yet ’tis a gentle luxury to weep 
   That I have not the cloudy winds to keep 
Fresh for the opening of the morning’s eye. 
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain 
   Bring round the heart an undescribable feud; 
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain, 
   That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude 
Wasting of old time—with a billowy main— 
   A sun—a shadow of a magnitude. 

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.


12 October 2016: Amerikahaus Literary Circle

Discussion Questions for
J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye

1.  Let's begin—as we always do—with a summation of your impressions:  How did you enjoy the novel?

2.  How effective is Holden's first-person narrative?

3.  Many of the idioms and much of the slang have lost their currency since the novel's initial publication in 1951.  Consider these and their meanings:  "old," "phony," "give her the time," "the can," "flit," " to chew the fat," "snowing," "crumb-bum"/"crumby," "that killed me".  What other elements of anachronistic language did you notice?

4.  Though some speech patterns in English have undoubtedly changed over the intervening decades, there are also timeless qualities to the conversations (like the chitchat of New York cabbies) that smacked of verisimilitude.  What were they?

5.  What role in the novel do the ducks wintering in Central Park serve?

6.  Holden seems, at turns, both desperately lonely as well as completely misanthropic.  What is the net effect of this disparateness on his interactions with the other characters?

7.  What are Holden's relationships like with his siblings—D. B., Allie, and Phoebe—and parents?

8.  Which episodes of the novel left their deepest impression on you as a reader?

9.  How does the novel end?

10.  What is the meaning of the title?

11.  What elements of the novel might have led it to be banned in some communities in the United States, and what elements are those that render it as an American classic?

12.  Manhattan is often thought of as the most interesting "character" in the novel.  How is America's largest city portrayed?

Upcoming Discussions

9 November 2016:  Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

14 December 2016:  The Moons of Jupiter by Alice Munro

The Clerks

by E. A. Robinson

I did not think that I should find them there
When I came back again; but there they stood,
As in the days they dreamed of when young blood
Was in their cheeks and women called them fair.
Be sure, they met me with an ancient air,—       
And, yes, there was a shop-worn brotherhood
About them; but the men were just as good,
And just as human as they ever were.

And you that ache so much to be sublime,
And you that feed yourselves with your descent,        
What comes of all your visions and your fears?
Poets and kings are but the clerks of Time,
Tiering the same dull webs of discontent,
Clipping the same sad alnage of the years.

Note:  A recitation can be heard here.