In a couple of days, my family will climb the proverbial staircase, look around in the blazing summer sun, inhale, and slide down the coast.
Longtime readers will remember that we took a similar trip two years back, but only those with deep and storied knowledge of my biography will know that I grew up taking the same one. When I was young, we lived in OR and sometimes WA and the only vacation our family ever took was scooting down I-5 to see my grandmother in sunny AZ. And now, here I am rehearsing the custom, driving my young down the same road, to the same house in fact, to see theirs.
Some of you have asked about the webinar I told you about. Yes! it was recorded and you can watch here!
I had a great time talking with Amber Salladin and the CS Lewis Foundation about artmaking as an image-bearer. Really delightful. I read a bit from both books, and some new poems, never before aired. Lemme know what you think?
Also, I went with some of my fellow parishioners at St. Ambrose to the Malcolm Guite/Steve Bell show last week. Malcolm, I've known for a bit--he blurbed my book, I reviewed his on Coleridge--but Bell was new to me. They make a great team; the show was edifying and constantly entertaining and, more wonderful than all these, full to the brim of people eager to hear about poetry, work, and faith, which is...not always the way these things go.
Meantime, we wrapped up another year at SPU. What a joy it was to teach the Lewis/Tolkien class: probably the most fun I've ever had in a classroom.
Speaking of Lewis, you know how I'm leading a Study Abroad trip this summer to England? Good news: the company had never done this before, but I convinced them to book us special lodgings and it worked-- [drum roll]--the students will get to stay in college at Magdalen in Oxford, the very rooms where Lewis used to teach! They get to take Addison's walk daily, if they want. AND we're staying at Lewis' Cambridge college too: Magdalene. I'm so stoked they made this happen as it will give students an unrivalled experience of these places.
That's it, really.
I have new poems coming out and a new essay too, but they're still in press. So, next time, I suppose.
Barry Strauss / The War that Made the Roman Empire
Super compelling history at once detailed, careful, and fast.
Nance Van Winkel / The Many Beds of Martha Washington
I mention this book in the interview as my favorite poems this year. So much invention!
John Van Deusen / (I AM) origami pt. 4
This is a difficult record to listen to, but its devotion is palpable and instrumentation just right for summer. I'm still sort of obsessed with pt. 2 of this series and have been spinning it on repeat for a month now.
Frank Sinatra / Columbia Years
This singer changed so much over his long career, but this early stuff still swings. Frankie is a heart-breaker, not least because his best songs, played with the best bands, are recorded on the early, massively inferior recording tech (just a bump up from a wax cylinder), while later he maxed out what was possible in audio fidelity, but only when the music got sentimental and schmaltzy. Alas for it.
GM Hopkins is just about the most important poet for me, both theologically and artistically. This article is a great introduction to his work.
I've been really touched by these little pieces made by the artist Andrew Hendrixson, who is out at the Byrdcliffe Residency.
I watched Pirates of the Caribbean with the kids (in anticipation of Disneyland) and am more convinced than ever about the merits of my argument in this essay that the whole movie is basically Narnia, the drama of salvation recast in another world.