Category Archives: Tennyson (Alfred Lord)

Expect No Second Charge in Ukraine

Battling Russian troops 110 years ago in the Crimea, the British light brigade inspired Tennyson. Expect no doomed charge from the West this time.

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Maybe the Gulfs Will Wash Us Down

Peyton Manning was not Homer’s Odysseus but Tennyson’s Ulysses.

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Eagles Prepare a Thunderbolt

The Philadelphia Eagles bring to mind Tennyson’s eagle, falling like a thunderbolt.

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When Hostage Taking Backfires

The GOP hostage takers resemble the Light Brigade, as well as the kidnappers in “Ransom of Red Chief,” “Fargo,” and “Ruthless People.”

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Nature Red in Tooth & Claw? Maybe Not

Carleton’s Ian Barbour turned to Tennyson in seeking to find connections between science and religion.

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The Zen of an Old Growth Forest

Biologist David Haskell approaches forests in a way that is both scientific and poetic.

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Prez Keeps Head While Others Lose Theirs

Obama, taking a cue from Kipling and maybe Edward Rowland Sill, bounced back in Tuesday’s debate.

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Fantasy, Because Reality Is Unsatisfactory

Fantasy is nothing in and of itself but takes its character in opposition to an unsatisfactory reality.

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I Thought That Love Would Last Forever…

The death of a beloved cousin is throwing me into the primal pain described by Tennyson and Auden.

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Fed, Peyton: Made Weak by Time & Fate?

Peyton Manning and Roger Federer, in the twilight of their careers, bring to mind Tennyson’s Ulysses.

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Spanish Soccer as the Lady of Shalott

In “The Lady of Shalott,” beauty can’t stand up against the real world. By winning the European Cup, Spain showed us this doesn’t always have to be the case.

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Ulysses: Do Not Go Gently into Retirement

A discussion of Tennyson’s poem “Ulysses” led a group of senior citizens to conclude that it’s about a man who is experiencing difficulties transitioning into retirement.

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Once We Memorized Poetry

Memorizing poetry used to be standard classroom practice and poetry was widely popular before the snobs came in.

Also posted in Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Keats (John), Kilmer (Joyce), Kipling (Rudyard), Riley (James Whitcomb), Shelley (Percy), Wordsworth (William) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Twilight, Evening Bell, After That the Dark

I share Tennyson’s wonderful poem “Crossing the Bar” in memory of an old Navy friend who died this past week.

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College on a Boat

The Sea Voyager, temporary home to St. Mary’s students after we were hit with a bad mold problem, left campus on Sunday, bringing to mind an Alfred, Lord Tennyson poem.

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This Is the Golden Morning of Love

A wedding poem seems appropriate for June. Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s lovely “Marriage Morning” draws me, maybe because it captures some of the anxieties of the wedding day and not just the joys.

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Dear Son, Far Off, My Lost Desire

I understand more with each passing year what Tennyson means when he says his love “is vaster passion now” and how Hallam is thoroughly mixed with God and nature. Tennyson goes on to say that the moral will of humankind—the “living will” that is the best part of ourselves as a people—can finding footing on this spiritual rock. And that the living water that springs from this rock will “flow through our deeds and make them pure.”

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Rogers No Longer in Odysseus’ Shadow

Sports Saturday Something memorable occurred last Sunday in Dallas in addition to the Green Bay Packers bringing “Vince Lombardi home” in their Super Bowl victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Quarterback Aaron Rogers stepped out of the shadow of a legend. The literary equivalent that comes to mind is Homer’s Telemachus, but Rogers is Telemachus with […]

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Peyton Manning as Moby Dick?!

Sports Saturday In anticipation of football’s “Wild Card Weekend,” which begins today, I see that a sports writer has invoked Herman Melville’s masterpiece. Dan Graziano believes that Indianapolis Colt quarterback Peyton Manning has become Rex Ryan’s Moby Dick. He has beaten the New York Jets coach so many times that Ryan has become obsessed with […]

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What Fictional Fantasy Means

Having taught British Fantasy Literature for the first time last semester, I need to think back on it before it becomes a distant memory.    By reflecting publicly, I can share some of the insights I gained from the course. Two major things I learned are that (1) fantasy is an oppositional genre—by which I […]

Also posted in Andersen (Hans Christian), Barrie (J. M.), Carroll (Lewis), Chaucer (Geoffrey), Coleridge (Samuel Taylor), Dickens (Charles), Grahame (Kenneth), Grimm Brothers, Haggard (Rider), Keats (John), Kipling (Rudyard), Rossetti (Christina), Shakespeare (William), Sir Gawain Poet, Tolkien (J.R.R.) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Into Valley of Death Rode the Democrats

The Democrats’ “shellacking” at the hands of the Republicans last week (the description is President Obama’s) has me thinking about Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade.  But perhaps not in the way that you think. Tennyson’s memorable poem commemorated the insane charge by the British cavalry against Russian machine guns at Balaclava in […]

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Real Men Play Football AND Read Poetry

Sports Saturday Professional football is a super violent sport and its 16-game season is a war of attrition. One never knows, from one week to the next, what team will have its Super Bowl hopes derailed by critical injuries. For a while this year, everyone was certain that the NFC would send either the New […]

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Dead Hands Reaching Out to Comfort

Alfred Lord Tennyson’s three Christmas passages in In Memoriam are reminiscent of the way that my own family celebrates Christmas. My ancestry is British and the ceremonies that we observe date at least as far back as my great grandmother Eliza Scott Fulcher, born in the 1850’s.    Christmas in Sewanee, Tennessee (which is where we are […]

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Singing Carols in the Darkness

Thinking about my dead son in this Christmas season brings to mind Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s In Memoriam, the lengthy poem that he wrote over the course of 17 years lamenting the death of his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam.Hallam was a young man when he died unexpectedly of a cerebral hemorrhage, and Tennyson describes his […]

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Poetry Standing Firm in the Face of Fire

“But maybe stories and poetry can help open our minds to possibilities that are very real but extremely hard to see; and in that sense, they can be very practical.” – Rachel Kranz in a response to yesterday’s post I love the two responses to yesterday’s post (from the two major women in my life) […]

Also posted in Behbahani (Simin), Nafisi (Azar), Stowe (Harriet Beecher) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Death and Language’s Limitations

In spending the last two weeks discussing how poetry can come to our aid in a season of death, I have been exploring how poetry responds to its greatest test. Death and dying can trigger our deepest fears, generate panic, denial and anger, prompt us to question everything we believe in, and send on frantic […]

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