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…]

Guest Post: ‘Catching Fire’ Screen Play? We’ve Got It!

No, we haven’t found the movie script in a Burbank dumpster. We have, however, the next best thing, I’d say something even better — a serious reader’s screenplay-outline based on both a close reading of the books and a three act drama structure as used by Hollywood. Here is the exciting letter from Hana McCarthy that lays out what the Catching Fire film will look like if produced by someone who gets what the story is about, namely, Katniss’ interior and exterior transformations, the spiritual and the political!

Hi John,

I have lately been having fun learning about the structure of movie scripts and I decided to share my new-found learning by imagining how I might structure a Catching Fire screenplay.  I quickly discovered it was no easy task.   For better or worse I’m forwarding some of the fruits of my mad midsummer night’s labors with you and, if you like the idea, with fellow Hogwarts Professor readers. The discussion has already started on an older thread and I hope you agree this deserves a new home.

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Guest Post: ‘The Avengers’ Movie — What Did You See?

After my last stab at a movie review, the HogwartsProfessor faculty revoked my season viewing pass at Doc Films and asked me to refrain, please, from upsetting our readers who love, y’know, film. So, it’s a grand good thing that one of our All-Pros went to see The Avengers last weekend as did every other American (and a cousin), present company excluded not having a pass, and wrote something up about it.

This post  is from Susan Raab (, a marketing strategist, high-conversion copywriter and best selling ghostwriter who would really rather be reading — she tells me — the latest HogPro recommendation late into the night, or teaching another “Christian Content in Harry Potter” class for her contemplative prayer group, or writing her own book for Heaven’s sake.

The Avengers: Integral Alchemy

Mercy, the Deathly Hallows opening weekend record has been smashed by what, a mythic mash-up of comic book goons? How random is this?

Perhaps not very. HogPro trained to look for patterns, I was astonished to see one in this promo shot (below the jump!), and suddenly the whole phenomenon made sense. [Read more…]