Josh Richards: Melancholy Poetry as Inoculation

Melancholy Poetry as Inoculation, a Hogwarts Professor guest post from Prof. Josh Richards

Today, we examine my previous, curious assertion [in ‘The Congealed Fire of Poetry‘] that sad poetry is, indeed, a comfort for the hurting. At first, this may seem counter-intuitive but it is, in fact, quite well-attested. So much so, in fact, that I will merely bring you A. E. Housman’s take on the matter. I won’t even pretend to be a wiser man than he, so let me walk you through his discussion found in the poem “Terence, this is stupid stuff” instead of bloviating myself.

The poem is found here.

And I would encourage you to open the link in a new window, read it aloud, and return afterward.

Now, most objections to poetry, especially of the melancholy sort, are little different than the first stanza of Housman’s poem—allowing for the usual convention of using musical terms and language to refer to poetry.

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Guest Post: Twilight, Chastity, and Kristen Stewart

Twilight, Chastity, and Kristen Stewart: Wars and rumors of war and love and rumors of love

by joel emmett

The Internet imploded this past week when news leaked that Kristen “Bella Swan” Stewart, the highest paid actress in human history and girlfriend of her Twilight co-star, “sexiest man alive” Robert Pattinson, had a fling with her 41-year old, married, director of her recent “Snow White” film.

The public reaction was extreme, heated, and profuse. This is significant not only because of the human drama, but because of how and why this situation was so loaded by the themes of the Twilight Saga itself.

First, here’s what actually happened.
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Josh Richards: The Congealed Fire of Poetry

One of the many treats of my brief stay at St. Andrews in May was meeting Josh Richards, Assistant Professor of English at Palm Beach Atlantic University and a doctoral candidate at the University of St Andrews. We met quite a few brilliant and eccentric (usually Christocentric, curiously) characters in Scotland, most of whom I hope very much will be lifelong friends. I said to my wife Mary, though, that I suspect Josh Richards, with whom we shared a few memorable meals and scintillating conversations, will be the person we tell our grandchildren about.

I have asked him to write about poetry because it is the great lacuna or emptiness in my education and current reading. His time allowing, I hope very much Prof Richards will write a general introduction to the subject for Unlocking Press in addition to poems and critical essays already in the queue for publication. Without further ado, then, a brief piece about reading poetry that he calls:

A Diversified Diet

Today, I write to you to suggest that you broaden your reading diet to include poetry. Before you roll your eyes and click off to other worlds, let me clear up a few things, and I think my request will seem quite reasonable.

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Guest Post: Harry Potter and C. S. Lewis’ Four Loves

David Holland writes:

One of the books on my summer reading list this year was C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves.  It is an excellent read, as Lewis always is, but as I read I started making connections with the Hogwarts saga.  I found that Harry follows a clear progression of each of Lewis’ four loves, and that Rowling’s characterizations of Harry’s loves match Lewis’ descriptions very closely.  Considering that one of the overarching themes of the Potter series is the power of love over evil, I believe that Rowling would see all of four of these as powerful forces in the life of her protagonist.  Below is a brief description of how I see Rowling and Lewis overlap.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Guest Post:The Power of Words and Story on a Young Mind

Cathy Leogrande wrote:

John, I just wanted to let you know what a critical part of my son’s life you have been for the last few years. Here is a posting I wrote regarding my/our HPEF Legacy:

I have been an attendee & presenter at every HPEF event since The Witching Hour. Those days in Salem truly changed my life. I wanted to share a few details to show my appreciation for all that HPEF has done for my son & me.

I am an Associate Professor of Education at Le Moyne College in Syracuse. My son Joey is a Korean-American adoptee who is very bright, but struggled with literacy. He had a rocky road in school over the years. He had educators who saw his unique talents and others who stereotyped him. It was trying to help our son see past some of the problems and maintain his optimism. One of the only ways he survived and thrived was our annual trip to the HPEF conferences.

From the pajama party at Lumos, through the crazy evangelicals at Portus and memorial room at Prophecy, we have been with HPEF every step. He now attends Fordham University. Wherever he goes, he takes Harry, JKR, and the memories of HPEF conferences with him. His college essay (below) attests to the impact HPEF has had on him.

As for me, I developed & teach a graduate education course, EDG 731 (for Harry & JKR’s birthdays) entitled Harry Potter: MultidisciplinaryPerspectives. I have been fortunate to combine my personal and professional love of Rowling’s work into so many aspects of my life. This summer, I will be one of two U.S. professors presenting at Magic is Might, the first international academic Harry Potter conference in Limerick, Ireland.

I will never be able to repay the many HPEF volunteers & organizers for their gifts to Joey & me. What a journey it has been!


Cathy Leogrande, Associate Professor, Le Moyne College [Read more…]